I watched with bated breath as Caroline took a taco shell from the plate in front of her and started making a taco with the toppings that had fallen out of her last taco. She slow but the methodically put cheese, meat and then tomatoes inside her shell. All of which represents countless hours of occupational therapy as the hand-eye coordination required to do so is immense.
Just when I thought she couldn’t impress me anymore, Caroline took a bite out of her taco. That one bite represented years and years of feeding and occupational therapy. She not only prepared her own taco but then she ate it with no assistance. Don’t get me wrong it was messy and toppings were falling all over the place but in that moment all I could see is that my daughter was eating independently.
When I think about all the people and tools it took to get Caroline to this place, I am humbled and thankful. When I realized that I was humbled and thankful, it hit me how much being Caroline’s mom and part of journey has impacted me as a person. I honestly don’t think seven years ago, I would be filled with such gratitude for my daughter achieving a milestone that many people would not even celebrate.
Caroline has taught me that all good things come in time and good things come to people who work for them. I think about how hard Caroline works to make it through her day and I am overwhelmed not by how hard she works but by how gracefully she does it.
Caroline brings joy to me almost every single day and multiple times a day she reminds that anything worth having is worth working for. She really wanted that taco so she worked really hard to prepare and eat it. She really wanted to dance on stage so she listened and controlled her body as much as she could so she could perform with the real ballerinas.
You know you are a special needs mom when watching your daughter eat taco is a milestone to be celebrated. I had flashbacks to early intervention therapists trying to introduce an array of foods to Caroline, the feeding clinic trying to get Caroline to eat purees to increase the volume of food she was able to consume, OT working with Caroline on utensil skills. And with each one of those memories was a person cheering on Caroline to do the best that she could do. So thank you to all the therapists who contributed to Caroline making and eating a taco unassisted.