Ella wasn't what I expected. Vera and Emma weren't especially similar, so naturally I assumed they represented the two poles of the Down syndrome spectrum. I quickly figured out there was no linear spectrum (and even if there were, Vera wouldn't be on it. She's her own spectrum!); more like a constellation.
I expected, due to her young age of 2.5 years, that Ella would slowly but surely learn to speak and walk and feed herself and even put on pants without help. Instead, developmental goals took much longer to achieve than they did with her sisters. We are still working on many things.
One main issue for Ella is expressive speech. I never expected to have a child who couldn't speak very many words. Yet, we almost always know what she means. We've also learned to trust her when we can't understand. I learned this lesson again just a few weeks ago.
I had taken Ella and Dean shopping with me in a big box store. Dean wanted to look at the Legos, which happened to be across the aisle from the Toy Story figurines. Ella picked up both Woody and Buzz Lightyear figurines. I asked her to choose one. She emphatically shook her head and hugged them all the more tightly. I finally remembered that she had some birthday money from her grandmother, so I let her get them both because I could see she realllllly wanted both of them.
Ella carried both of them during the car ride home. When we unloaded, she marched inside and made a bee line to Vera. Without a word, she handed Buzz over to Vera, as she had evidently been planning all along.
What an example! As so often happens with my girls, I am reminded of God, of my relationship with Him. So many times in my life, He seems strangely quiet. I see my circumstances and I feel Him leading me along, but I'm not sure why...I'm only sure I should follow along even when I don't understand. One day, quite unexpectedly, He shows me the blessing He had planned all along.
Like Ella...the blessing I had no idea I needed, the blessing who was nothing like I expected, the blessing who fills my heart every day with her hugs and kisses and smiles. Seven years with her as my youngest daughter has truly been nothing but the richest of blessings...the kind you always know come straight from God.