To say goodbye to some dear friends who are leaving Long Island, the girls and I took a field trip to the aquarium. I wasn't certain what Christina would get from the trip, we hadn't been there for two years. I was gratified to see how much her level of understanding and maturity has grown. Her attention span was much longer; she gazed at the colorful coral reef tank for nearly half an hour. (sorry I left the camera in the car and it was 103 degrees outside, I couldn't make myself go out for it!)
Christina recognized the clown fish from her favorite movie, "Finding Nemo", and enjoyed interacting with the stingrays as we fed them, and the friendly sea lion who 'visited' us through the glass underwater. She kept talking about the "feesh"in an animated way, letting me know how much the trip had fired her imagination.
I sat for a brief rest, reading a local newspaper, and Christina asked for a copy. She sounded out the name of the paper, "T-W-E-E-N-S" and I was thrilled. This unexpected progress nearly made up for the fact that chasing an unruly 6 year old through the aquarium when the heat is oppressive is exhausting. Christina still loves to run away from me, vanishing into crowds of schoolchildren, and since part of the aquarium is next to the Peconic River, I was really frustrated keeping up with her. I tied her into the stroller repeatedly, hoping to make a point, that running away from me will result in a loss of freedom.
But God is good. I met a friend from our local Down syndrome support group, whose 8 year old daughter is just emerging from the running away stage. We shared war stories and I could see the difference two years of maturity can make. This gives me hope that someday, we can walk through a museum or aquarium together calmly, just enjoying the exhibits.
Imagine that. . .