Today this memory from 2 years ago popped up on my Facebook memories:
“Today has been a busy day of therapy appointments. This morning, we said goodbye to OT, Mike, who has worked with August since almost the beginning. Then we headed to Shriners for more OT and a speech evaluation. August says no words. He understands everything, and is very expressive with gestures and grunts, but no words. The speech therapist diagnosed August with severe apraxia of speech and dysarthria. In a nutshell, that means he isn’t able to motor plan to say words or even make sounds, and his muscles are weak, which makes it even harder. The therapist feels she can help August, but it will be a lot of work, and take time. We will now be making lots more trips to Shriners. This news was expected, but it still hits hard. This boy is so strong and brave, and I know he will overcome this as he has his other trials.”
Looking at where August is now, it’s hard to believe that he was once given such big diagnoses. He now says whatever he wants without hesitation. He has a big vocabulary, and seems like a typical child. At the time, his speech therapist seemed to think there was severe enough brain damage that we would have a long road ahead of us. Less than a year later, she discharged August from therapy, saying she doesn’t know how to explain it because his problems were so severe at first. His speech was at an age appropriate level, something she didn’t expect to happen for years, if ever. August made progress faster than any other child in her entire career. The only way to describe what happened is MIRACLE. As I read my memory on Facebook today, it struck me what a big miracle this is. It is easy to dismiss it as a weird flukey thing that happened and to say that August was just a hard worker and made astounding progress. It is true that August was motivated to talk, but I don’t think he gets all the credit here. It was truly a miracle. It’s not even a miracle I knew was possible. I never asked for it. Of course we prayed for him to make progress and learn and grow. But I never asked that the problem would just go away.
I Didn’t Get the Miracles I Asked For
After August’s birth, there are many miracles I wanted and asked for, and they didn’t happen. it was hard to see the miracles through all the other things that happened. I prayed so hard for the miracle I wanted: that his arm would heal and be totally fine, and that he would not need to have any surgeries. That did not happen, and at times it has been a struggle for me to understand. I had faith that he could be healed. Why didn’t it happen? Why do other people get these big miracles that leave them with no consequences of accidents and trauma? It doesn’t always seem fair, but looking back, I can see that we got more miracles than we could have ever hoped for.
There Were Always Miracles
The first miracle in August’s life is that he is alive. He could have so easily died during or after his birth. The fact that he is living and breathing today is a miracle. Heavenly Father could have prevented August’s birth injury altogether, but He didn’t. That would have been the first miracle I would have wanted. But if we had gotten that miracle, I wouldn’t even know! If his arm was always totally fine, I wouldn’t have known that that was an alternative scenario. How many times do we get miracles that we don’t even know we got because we don’t know the alternative scenarios? Interesting question!
Another miracle is that we found Dr. Kozin; someone who has the knowledge and experience to give a paralyzed arm movement and function. If we had waited for his nerves to regenerate on their own, which was suggested by our local doctors, he would never have function of his shoulder or elbow because those nerves were completely torn. It is also a miracle that August has any use of his hand and wrist. When Dr. Kozin did the first surgery, he found that the nerves that control the hand and wrist were a huge jumble of scar tissue, and it was not repairable. He was so shocked at what he found when we had been seeing some (limited) return of movement in his hand and wrist. MIRACLE.
One of the biggest miracles is the change my experiences with August have made in me. The things I have learned through these experiences have changed me. I am a different person. I have been typing up all my journals since August’s birth (it’s surprisingly a lot!), and it has been incredible to see the changes in me. If August’s birth was uneventful, I would not have learned all the incredible things I have learned. I wouldn’t be as close to God. I wouldn’t understand forgiveness in the same way. I wouldn’t be as compassionate. Our family wouldn’t be the same. The list goes on and on. The way I have changed is a miracle I will not deny.
Miracles, Big and Small
August’s life has been full of miracles, big and small. I didn’t see them all or find gratitude for them in the beginning. Life is the same way. We don’t always get the miracles we ask for, but the surprise miracles are pretty awesome. Heavenly Father’s role isn’t to keep us from hard and uncomfortable things. Those things aren’t really bad. Even in our hardest moments, if we are looking for miracles, we will find them. Sometimes the miracles won’t be noticed until later like in my case. But they are there, and God is there, even when it might feel like He has abandoned you.