The Minis had a tough day at school today. They both came home a little sad. Mondays are hard for everyone, but they can be especially rough for people with TBIs. Even the slightest lack of sleep can really mess up your day when your brain is still healing from trauma. There are so many things that we (as in, the people without brain injuries) take for granted on a daily basis. So many things that come easily for us that aren’t easy at all for the Minis. Nothing major happened today from what I can tell, but for both of them, there were enough little things that they got in the car with their heads hanging, feeling defeated by the day’s woes. Poor darlins. I wish I could do more to help them. I wish I could thump their bullies in the nose and shake some sense into a few of the adults at their schools. But I can’t do that. And I can’t fix their brains either. But I can try real hard to make them feel twice as much love at home when they’re not feeling it at school. And if that doesn’t perk them up, well, there’s not much a Monday can dish out that a blue bubblegum snowball with condense milk won’t cure.
We adore that snowball stand. It represents everything we love about summer, and like Scout and Jem Finch, “Summer is our best season.” We sat on those plastic chairs this afternoon and worked out their troubles with the help of a little sugar and a lot of conversation. Angel May expressed some sadness about not getting a certificate at school for “acing” a subject this year. She told us she was anxious about her third grade graduation ceremony tonight because she didn’t expect to get any certificates. Before the accident, she was in the 91st percentile in the nation academically; she is not used to not being one of the best, and easily acing every subject. Adjusting to being an average student has been very heartbreaking and frustrating for her. Her brother quickly encouraged her, “Don’t sweat it, Sis – you aced life this year.” His sweet words were so timely and so kind.
When we left, my belly was full of snowball and my heart was full of gratitude.
Angel May did get a certificate tonight, just one, and just for passing to the fourth grade, but honestly, of all the certificates she’s ever gotten, I think this one is my favorite. It represents so much more than her moving to middle school; it represents life and survival, hope and healing, faith and mercy. She also performed with her classmates tonight. They sang “What a Wonderful World” in sign language. She has practiced and stressed over that performance for weeks now. At the snowball stand, she said she “mostly” knew it and was sure she’d mess up, but she didn’t. She knew all the words and the motions and I cried while I watched her perform because I know how very hard it is for her to memorize new things now, and I am so proud of how determined she is to succeed despite her disability. She was perfectly content and excited about that one certificate tonight and I am confident that it won’t be her last one.