Tyler built his first Lego set!
I know the statement doesn’t seem to warrant the exclamation point at the end but this event was as significant and reflective of his progress as another mom’s celebratory blog of potty-training breakthroughs or a baby sleeping through the night.
Tyler has experienced such growth over the last few months, more than any other season in the last 4 ½ years he has lived with us. I can’t adequately describe the shift other than to say it is as if he has finally settled. There have been more breakthroughs and less breakdowns. He is blossoming in ways I questioned would ever happen.
He has come into his own and we see him taking off in magnificently thrilling ways that others probably wouldn’t notice, but as the Mom who has worked with him day after day,
who has dried his tears through the struggles and calmed the storms as he raged his frustration,
as the one who taught and retaught the basics, praying for retention and as the one who spent countless hours fretting that the work we are doing now will never be enough to compensate for the damage caused by trauma and the obstacles caused by disabilities,
as the one who tried to stay afloat under the waves of hopelessness that crashed over me as I stared at the ceiling in the middle of the night awake with worry,
I can testify that God is bringing about mighty and miraculous changes in so many areas of his life…
Academically, emotionally, spiritually, in the area of attachment, lessened anxiety and increased self-confidence.
And it is not as though we have made any major changes in what we are doing with Tyler.
No, it is more like he is simply ready now, in a way he wasn’t before.
When Grace was little she had a book titled, “Leo the Late Bloomer.” It was a favorite of Gracie’s so I became very familiar with it. It is the story of a little lion who is a late bloomer. He struggles to read, write, and play as well as his peers. His father worries there is something wrong with Leo but Leo’s mother insists that he is simply a “late bloomer” and that if he would just wait patiently until Leo was ready to do those things then he would see that Leo was going to be just fine.
I feel like that book echoes our journey with Tyler. With a childhood filled with trauma and neglect comes expected delays. With both my boys I have come to realize that their chronological ages are a far stretch from their functioning ages. This is a hard thing to grasp when you are looking at a child who appears 10 or 13 but perhaps functions at a much younger age. In my eagerness to help Tyler I found myself trying to close the gap between his functional age and chronological age with as much help and remediation as possible, but it wasn’t until I stepped back, stopped pushing, and let the maturing and growth happen in his time, that we began seeing him blossom.
He just needed a little time and a whole lot of patience.
This is not to say he doesn’t still struggle in a variety of areas. He does. And this is not to say he is functioning at his chronological age, but he is close. And this is not to say that school will ever be easy for Tyler, because it probably won’t. The reality is that he has far more challenges to work through than the average 4th grader.
But what we are seeing is nothing short of miraculous. He is retaining information. His small motor skills have improved dramatically through many hours of occupational therapy and he now is forming legible words and numbers. He is capable of sitting and focusing for longer stretches of time and is finally excited and engaged with lessons, asking questions and seeking out more information on topics that interest him.
His success makes me want to weep with joy.
So, the news that Tyler (age 10) completed a Lego set for the first time all by himself may seem trite and insignificant, but to this Momma we are celebrating an achievement of epic proportions.
You see the skills needed to put together a Lego set: the ability to sit still, stay focused on a task for multiple hours, reading directions in a book chronologically, problem solving without getting frustrated, and analyzing a picture, finding the matching piece, and duplicating that image are all skills that Tyler didn’t master well enough to complete this task until a few months ago.
So today we celebrate his achievement…
…And tomorrow I start searching eBay for more Lego sets!