When she was younger and things were still so difficult, Maya never used to fail to sweet. Her default setting when things went wrong - illness, overtiredness, change in routine, weird phase of the moon, wrong pair of pants, whatever - was to begin screaming like a wild animal. To erupt into hysterical rages completely divorced of any connection to an actual transgression. Didn't get to close the car door? Hysterics. Not able to wear a sleeveless sundress in January? Hysterics. Anything at all, or nothing at all? Hysterics.
It was a rough couple of years. (Note the use of dramatic understatement.)
Eventually, through a huge amount of hard work on Maya's part and with the help of a number of truly wonderful professionals, we began to sense, and eventually even to see, changes begin happening.
I can't pinpoint exactly when it started. When we realized that the good days were outnumbering the bad ones. When those heartbreakingly awful rages stopped happening, when she began really communicating in meaningful sentences, when she finally became comfortable in her own skin, but today, at age six, halfway through kindergarten and avidly awaiting the beginning of first grade, Maya is a different child. A completely different child. While a few things will probably always come a bit harder to her than they might to another child she is gaining the tools she needs to face those challenges head on and then blow right through them, leaving all our worries and fears and preconceptions far behind her. Her kindergarten teacher is convinced she's going to grow up to be a lawyer and doesn't understand why we made such a big deal about the challenges she was going to face adjusting to a large, chaotic, mainstream classrom. Maya, if you ask her, says she wants to be a doctor. As for me, I'm not sure what she'll become but I have every confidence that she will accomplish whatever it is she sets her eye on. All that stubborness channeled into one direction will slice through her hurdles like a laser.
I've gotten used to this new Maya. Grown to know her, to know the girl that was hidden inside, looking for a way out. The one who cracks jokes and skips down the path to school and plans out her next birthday party ten months in advance. The one who's teaching herself to read in two languages and loves workbooks more than anything, except possibly fairies. Especially the blue one on the shelf at the toy store, the one she keeps wishing for every time she sees a star or finds an eyelash. In time the memories of the bad old days fade, replaced by newer, happier ones. Ones that promise that the good old days are yet to come.
Once in a while though, something happens to remind us of how hard-fought these gains were, and how very far she's traveled.
I had one of those moments this week. Maya has been home sick since last Wednesday. Feverish and congested and generally miserable physically. Despite it all though, despite how badly she's obviously feeling, she has consistently failed to sweet. She hugs, she cuddles, she asks for "love", and she returns that love a million-fold. Even when she's had to swallow awful-tasting medicine, or been told that she can't have a piece of chocolate because she needs to fill her body with good, healthy food that will help her get better, even when she's felt utterly miserable, she's remained sweet and kind and good and incredibly understanding of it all. She's failing to sweet. When things don't go her way, she's becoming sweeter, not angry. No rage. No temper. Just sweet.
It's been a very long time since I participated in Sunday Scribblings. I'm not sure why the words were finally flowing tonight, maybe it's the fact that I haven't been able to get out with the camera this week, but whatever the reason I'm glad they are. It's good to be back.