It was almost 4 years ago now that we met our girls for the first time. Amie was 2 ½ and had only a few words - “agua” (the girls had lived in a Spanish only speaking home for quite awhile), “no”, and “Emy”, which she called Annie, almost as if she had no identity and Annie was an extension of herself. There was no laughter and there were no tears from this girl. Just a pathetic little patting of the spot next to her in her bed wanting me to snuggle her. That was all the communicating her needs that she could muster. I wrote a post about this on her third birthday, sharing that she really had no concept of who she was, no identity, and how giving her a new name began a process of her coming into her own. Now that I really know her, I see that she had learned really quickly that being quiet and sitting on someone’s lap had kept her safe - from her sister’s inability to control her own body, and probably from adults as well. I remember our first walk to the park took two adults and 4 older children to keep the girls safe - Annie from running absolutely everywhere, including the street, and pulling Amie along, because she had never really walked anywhere before - I don’t think, anyway.
But this girl. This little girl has become herself in so many ways. She is a superhero loving, princess dress wearing, tree climbing, Taylor Swift dancing, coloring sweetheart of a girl. In four years she has learned to talk, to walk, run, ride a bike, scooter, and skateboard. She is a good friend. She is a cuddler who loves to have her back scratched. And she knows who she is. For pajama day this week at school, she wore “boy” Spiderman jammies and owned them so much no one even questioned it, while all the other girls had pink. She rocks her Star Wars vans, while wearing bows in her hair. She can rival any boy her age in the tree climbing, soccer ball kicking, basketball shooting categories.
She no longer allows Annie to take her sensory needs out on her - she defends herself AND uses her words. She asks for what she needs. She laughs and she cries, and throws temper tantrums on occasion. And I’m okay with that, because she feels safe enough now to do the developmental things she should have felt safe to do when she was two.
Yesterday, she won third place in a coloring contest. (Which, by the way, is huge for a FASD kid, they usually are a number of years behind in development, so for her to “be in step” with her fine motor skills to kids of all ages is incredible). Today was Superhero day at school, so today was basically, for her, the BEST DAY EVER, because she gets to share her accomplishment by showing her class the stuffed spider she won yesterday in the contest AND wear a Wonder Woman costume. She walked onto that playground this morning with the biggest smile on her face, and was still grinning like crazy when I left her back at her classroom.
I stood and watched from afar for awhile, crying happy tears at that sweet, happy little face. Because this girl. This girl with her athletic ability, tree climbing, superhero loving, princess dress wearing, sweet loving heart, has come into her own. Her superpower? Overcoming incredible obstacles and blooming into one amazing little person who has our hearts.