She has a name …
I was planning on typing up a blog post on a completely different topic tonight, however I had to change gears. Out of the insane amount of love I have for my daughter, Ella Lyn, I felt this incredible need to share my experience recently in tonight’s post. If you are familiar with the 3-part blog series I did on our personal journey with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), then you know my very deep roots with this disorder and that my daughter Ella faces it every single day. As her Mom, I do too. Every day brings on something new as we navigate her SPD and even though the intense therapy she has had over the years, we are in a new chapter with it now that she is a ‘tween.’
So we recently had ‘Parent Participation/Observation Night’ at the gym where Ella attends weekly gymnastics class. With so much pride and love, I sat and watched my daughter socialize, jump, bounce, and balance. These are things she was not so keen on doing in her earlier years. She has come so far in her 10.5 years. She is very driven (wonder where she gets that from?)!!!
At the start of class it was warm-up time. Ella was so excited to have me there completely connected watching her accomplishments. My face must have said a million words to her. Nonverbal language can speak so much louder than actual words – so I think. I was smiling so big! The people around me did not know her … OUR story. The Coach’s instructions were to “skip.” I think I may have forgotten to mention that Ella also has Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) so it takes her a bit longer to process verbal instructions. So not to sit there and allow her brain time to process, she ran. She did not skip. She ran with such a smile and confidence; a self-confidence my husband and I strive so hard to improve every single day. As I smiled and felt such a warm feeling in my heart watching her, I overheard a parent of another child in Ella’s class say to the girl’s dad… “That girl is running. She is not skipping. Does she not know how to skip? Don’t they learn that in school?” I was biting my tongue knowing it was MY Ella they were taking about. I let them carry on. Believe me, I wanted to jump in RIGHT THERE AND THEN, but every bit of self-control made me stop. Was I planning on leaving without ‘enlightening’ them in some way or another by the end of the hour? I think not. Make that HECK no, but I knew the moment was not right then in that particular moment.
The girls moved onto the beams … Ummmmm… Ella used to want NOTHING to do with the beam … low, medium, high it didn’t matter. She was 4 years old enrolled in a local gymnastics class. She would kick, scream, and have nothing of it; the floor and mat activities she was quite OK with, the beam = NO WAY!! 6 years later (yes, 6 years) here I was watching Ella on the high beam dipping and turning. Then I watch her amazing Coach guide her in doing a backward roll ON.THE. HIGH.BEAM!!! I wanted to scream, “YAY Ella!!!” My heart continued to sing, but it was also tugging. I overheard that same Mom say to the Dad, “That is the girl who couldn’t skip!” Did that MOM just say that? Did she just say that not knowing MY little girl’s story?
Yes she did ☹
Cringing and biting my tongue I stood beaming a big smile and Ella smiled right back at me. A brief moment later, THAT mom looked at me and asked, “So which one is your daughter?” Here was my chance to stop biting my tongue…. the moment had come. I looked right at her and said proudly, “My daughter is the girl who can’t skip. I overheard you two talking about my daughter. It hurt my feelings. I should not have to explain, but I will to bring awareness. She has Central Auditory Processing Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder. She has come so far in the past 6 years. I suggest that should you wish to stoop to a level of judging a child in such a negative way that you do it more discretely and not in earshot since you may just be sitting next to the child’s very proud Mother. “ All she could do was look at me and say, “I’m sorry. I did not know.” She and the dad tried to make small talk with me to break the silence and pass the remainder of the time.
Was the last 30 minutes of “Parent Observation Night” awkward? Indeed it was, but I could have cared less. As long as I can breathe, I will be the proud Mom of ‘the girl who can’t skip.’ Her name is Ella Lyn Svensson and for the record, she CAN skip!
Bring on 2015 and our family’s continued journey!