What a full and wonderful week we have had! We started this week with a great session of hippotherapy. This is still his favorite therapy, hands down.
Malachi thoroughly enjoys going on adventures with mom and dad, even if it is as simple as a grocery store trip. He really loves when we go on adventures with the youth group, and this week was no exception. On Tuesday we loaded up the church bus with 16 teenagers and headed to Chattanooga to the trampoline park. Malachi and I drove separate, of course, but he still got to jump with his dad and go to Steak and Shake with the “big kids” after!
I also took Malachi out to his Mamaw’s garden to help pick beans. He loved just sitting in the shade listening to the conversation and nature noises.
One of the biggest adventures from the week was going to the movies with his cousins. Malachi has been to the theater before but never engaged in the movie itself- instead he just listened to the other kids and giggled when they giggled. This time we watched Finding Dory, and I was thrilled to catch him actually watching the movie a few times! He also paid very close attention to the movie dialogue. At one point the seals in the movie started calling for a bird named Becky. Malachi’s aunt was with us, and her name just happens to be Becky. Malachi loves his Aunt Becky, so to hear the characters on the movie saying her name was just too much. He started squealing and laughing uncontrollably and mimicking them by yelling “Beeeeecccckkkyyy!”
We are noticing so many changes these days, particularly with his cognitive skills and his reaction time to simple requests. I was holding him on my lap during an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Mickey said “Let’s give Pluto a kiss.” Almost immediately Malachi leaned over and gave me a big smooch on the cheek. He has been paying such close attention to his environment and it is so encouraging to see him understanding things.
I am also seeing big improvements with his eyesight. This week he has been studying my face for long periods of time. He loves to watch my mouth form a smile, and seeing his reaction to my facial gestures lets me know he is seeing better. Praise the Lord!
I am also very happy to report that Malachi slept through the night one night this week! This is HUGE as it is maybe the 3rd time this year that this has happened. Each week Malachi picks a time to wake up like clockwork, and this week’s time of choice was 4:20am. Last week it was 3:55. So literally for 5 days straight Malachi woke up at 4:20 on the dot. It is both fascinating and very annoying. The night he slept through the night, he coughed at 4:20 but never fully woke up. It was a glorious sleep!
I know I talk a lot about how blessed we are, but lately I have been processing that thought a bit. I ran into a former acquaintance after therapy this week and heard the frequent comment of “Oh, I can’t even imagine the struggles you all have been through.” While it is very true that we have gone through many struggles, our situation is different than most.
Lots of families with special needs children go through a period of mourning, as their “typically developing” baby stops meeting milestones or regresses. In our situation, we were given such a grim prediction for Malachi’s quality of life, so every milestone we even get close to reaching is so exciting to us. He just continues to surpass our expectations, and when that happens it is hard to not feel blessed! This week I have had an overwhelming sense of thankfulness overcome me during my prayer times, as I can only attribute these tiny successes we see as gifts from God.
One of my devotions this week mentioned the Israelites from the Bible. It was referencing the story when Moses leads them across the Red Sea, which had been parted specifically for them by God. I thought about the magnitude of that miracle, and tried to imagine witnessing such an event. You would think that their faith in God was set in concrete after seeing His provision.
But it wasn’t.
In fact, the Israelites turned their backs on God, and even grumbled that it would be better to be back in Egypt as slaves. God continued to perform miracle after miracle for them…daily sending manna and quail from the sky for them to eat, yet still their faith wavered…and frequently.
It was a good reminder to me that we are never safe from the side trails of the devil. In fact, when you are closest to God is when the devil works overtime trying to pull you away. Reading the Israelite’s faith struggle was a good conviction for me to make sure I am focusing daily on the wonderful provisions God has organized throughout my life.
While we never got to see the Red Sea part, I know that God has been parting waters for Jake and I since the day Malachi was born. We have walked across dry land, with the raging waters on either side of us. He has been doing the impossible behind the scenes, and absolutely deserves to receive the glory from Malachi’s successes and life story. And I will be doing my best to continually be thankful for the miracles we are given. God is good.
Jake, Leah, and Malachi