Had a pretty significant breakthrough last night, so I apologize for gushing about my daughter, but it happens from time to time...;-)
I was lying in her bed, trying to get her to go to sleep. As many of you know, this can be a daunting process without morphine and a sledgehammer, but we do what we can.
She was replaying the day's events in her head and starting babbling. She often doesn't realize that she is talking and that her words come out as simple sounds rather than full words. I tried to regain her focus and asked her to turn off the video in her head so she could go to sleep.
She stopped her sounds, looked me straight in the eyes and said calmly "Daddy, don't push me.". It was as if the window had opened and I was allowed a brief moment inside. I saw clarity, intent, and a fierce, keen intelligence.
Having worked with her every day for 7 years, I knew this was there, but I rarely get to see it and usually not so abruptly.
I put my head down on the pillow next to her and watched her for several minutes as she slowly relaxed and went to sleep, marveling at the complexity of her mind.
Of course, these brief moments are always bittersweet. They bring me to tears because of the gift of that moment, the gift of her life, and the hope for moments to come. Sadly, the happy tears always dry up. They are the cheesecake you know you shouldn't eat, the fizzy pop song you know you shouldn't like...they are a guilty pleasure, but one taken greedily and without regret.
As I woke her up this morning, I saw that she was closed again. It's OK. Like working out for that cheesecake, I will continue to run hard on the ABA and Adaptive Skills treadmill for another slice, another song, and another peek through the window.