The Color of Progress

It’s been an extremely long night at the facility, and I’m anxious to see the sun rise.

“You bossy old bitch”

“I know, but you still have to get dressed”

To be honest, we’ve called her “Bossy” so long, that I don’t even know her name anymore.

“No, you bossy old bitch”

She says this even as she sticks her leg in the jeans I’m holding out for her.

“Now why ya gotta be all hateful to me Bossy? Don’t you want some coffee?”

Yup, that did it.  

Coffee is always the key to get her up and going, even though she’s only allowed to have half a cup.

I finish getting Bossy ready and then walk down the hall to Kayla’s room where I’ve given  her a few minutes to wake up before I start dressing her.

She’s nonverbal, and expressing her frustration involves screaming and pulling her own hair.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…..”

She hums along with me, even though it’s her own variation of the tune.

I’ll take it.  It’s so much better than her screaming.

“You make me happyyyy when skies are gray…”

She continues to hum

“Oh Kayla, you sing so well!  Are you going to sing to me?”


OMG! What just happened? 

I’ve never heard Kayla say a word before.

Not. One. Word.

Humming is as far as we’ve gotten, and I considered that a huge breakthrough.

“Sooo beautiful Kayla!!”


She says it softly, but she has said it.  I wasn’t imagining things.

I finish putting her socks and shoes on, all the while trying not to let her see the tears streaming down my face.

She wouldn’t understand that I’m happy.

So very happy.

I send her on her way, and proceed to Jennifer’s room.

My “Miss Picky”

“Good morning sunshine! Are we ready to chase boys this morning?”

“Ohhh Miss R. You know I can’t chase anything”

“You go faster on that scooter than I do on my legs kiddo, if you don’t get up and use it, I’m going to”

A stream of giggles escapes her.

I set about our routine.  She’s a tiny thing, and fairly easy to move.

She’s also extremely picky about the way her morning routine is done, and sometimes just exasperates me.

“What do you want to wear kid?”

“My OSU shirt”

“Ewww.. how can you possibly wear that gaudy orange!”

“It’s not gaudy!!  Don’t be talking bad about my cowboys”

“I’m just saying, you’d look so much better in crimson and cream”

“Yuck! I don’t think so!!”

Picking on her football team always gets her riled up and awake.

I get her in her chair, collect her clothes, and we head off to the bathroom.

I’m getting her dressed in her usual picky fashion.  

“My pad isn’t right”

“How is it not right?”

“It’s positioned wrong.  You got it wrong again”

“Well how am I supposed to know? I haven’t used one of these things in 5 years! As far as I’m concerned, it works just as well if I stick it on my forehead”

She giggles some more as I reposition her pad and get the rest of her clothes on.

I put her back in her chair

“I need to go over this way”

I move her

“A little more”

I move her

“No, now I’m to far”

I move her again.

We do this for the next 5 minutes before she finally feels she’s in the right place.

I pick up her long thick braid

“So you know what I’m going to do with this?”

“Strangle me with it?” she giggles

“I was thinking about it.  Now get out of here and go eat breakfast”

She laughs and heads down to the dining room.

I get the few I have left, up, dressed, and down to the dining room before I’m finally able to clock out and call it a day.

I’m exhausted.

I’m finally able to get out on time for once, and I noticed the time as I’m making my 20 mile trip home.

If I speed just a little, I can get to the bus stop and see my kids before their bus to school arrives.

They see me pulling up and run to the car.

“What’re you doing mom?”

“I got off on time for once.  It was a long night and I just wanted to see my kids for a minute before I go to bed”

My almost 13 year old daughter opens the door and climbs in my car to give me a kiss, while my almost 14 year old son leans through my window to hug me.

I’m so thankful that even at this age, affection is not something that they turn away from.. no matter who is around.

After a string of “Have a good days” and “Love you mom” has been exchanged, I’m finally able to make it home, strip off my scrubs, and climb into my nice comfy bed.

My work, in every aspect of my life can be hard.

Whether it be taking care of my patients, being a mom, being a wife, or just being me.

It’s hard.. but oh so rewarding.

In other news, he took that 12.00 an hour job, but it looks like they’ll be hiring him on as something else that pays way more.

God always provides a way.

It looks like that perhaps we can get in front of the bills after all.

What a relief.

I had a back procedure done today.

What a way to spend your day off!

My entire left side is screaming in pain right now.

Hopefully it will be controlled by tomorrow.

I have to work.






3 thoughts on “The Color of Progress”

  1. Wow. A powerful story of your day. My daughter teaches special needs students, too, and both my grandsons have autism. I can relate so well to what you are saying. Especially your happiness when Kayla said a word: happyyy. Do keep up the excellent work, you are a blessing!

  2. It doesn’t matter what kind of day I have had – the affection of my kids just makes it all go away.
    Kayla’s story makes me happyyy. You are amazing.

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