Becky enjoyed a major life achievement just this past week.
She began waving.
Most babies wave around 7 or 8 months old, though some will do it earlier, others a little later. Becky is on the later side of everything. She is consistently, reliably 6 months behind on every infant milestone. She checked this skill off at approximately 13 months. Another on-time arrival for Becky!
It’s fascinating to watch her grow. She shows interest in a new skill, cautiously experiments with it, and then, suddenly, a switch is thrown. And the skill is hers for the keeping and sharing. I love how her entire body joins in the wave.
There is no longer any frustration in these delays. It’s to be expected as part of our new normal. Nevertheless, it’s always a pleasant surprise.
This milestone reminded me of a story from our recent trip to Michigan. I was returning from the great Aunt Susie applesauce capade. About one hour from home, I decided to fill up with gas and grab some Tootsie Pops for the kids. I challenged them not to bite into the soft middle just like the commercial used to say. I heard the siren song of Starbucks and grabbed a hot tea for the remainder of the trip.
As we pulled on the highway, I glanced down at the GPS and noticed that we had 50 miles remaining. But the arrival estimate was 1 hour and 50 minutes to home. I thought that looked odd. Even with my granny driving, we should be able to cover the distance in about an hour. Everything was listed in green so we continued on the route.
In short order, the GPS lady politely told me to exit the highway. I figured there must be construction or perhaps an accident on the freeway. Surely we would get back on I-94 eventually. It was not to be. We spent the remainder of the trip on back roads.
Sometimes as we drove alongside the freeway, I glanced over and noticed the traffic flow. Things sure seemed to be moving along. But the GPS had me stay the course. Other times, we drove directly over the highway. Again, I saw no red brake lights or signs of delay. But we had settled in to our new route and time passed fairly quickly. We drove through some colorful neighborhoods as we belted out tunes from Mary Poppins.
When I arrived home, I mentioned the delayed trip and unusual route to Sam. He took my phone and looked at the GPS settings. There was an obvious explanation. Inexplicably, my GPS had switched into avoid highway mode. I must have hit something when I showed my Starbucks loyalty card. It was like the time my Mom drove from Chicago to South Bend. She called to ask why the GPS wanted her to get off at every single exit. Turns out, her GPS was in bicycle mode. And bicycles don’t mix well with semis.
Honestly, I was irritated at first. Cruising around northwestern Indiana isn’t the greatest way to spend a Saturday night. I could have used the extra hour at home rather than idling at stoplights. But then I realized that this experience was a gift. The perfect analogy for life with our special needs child.
Since her birth, we have exited the fast lane, trading in speed and rapid progress for a much different pace. Becky’s therapists are encouraged with her development. Slow for certain but steady progress. Most likely, she will walk. She will talk. She will eat like a normal child. Eventually. Maybe this sounds corny but my quirky phone setting visual is comforting to me. Just like my drive home from Michigan, our life GPS has a new setting.
And we’re taking the scenic route.