Seventh Inning Stretch


So just when we thought we were getting the hang of this leg-lengthening thing… At our last doctor visit, our intrepid orthopedist pointed out that Mira wasn’t really straightening that magic leg of hers. The lengthening is going great, we’re almost halfway done. But he talked to us about how important it was to get her knee straight. If she didn’t straighten it better, we’d have to slow down or even stop the lengthening process.

I went away armed with exercises and determination to do whatever it takes to get that baby girl’s leg straight.


We went to physical therapy. We did all the exercises. We reminded her every time we could to “Straighten that leg, Sweet Pea!”

We did chiropractic. We did stretches. We tried warm epsom salt baths. Y’all, we did ALL THE THINGS.

My last ditch effort before her next appointment was to get her in a pool. A friend gave us guest passes to her gym, so I dug out my swimsuit and loaded Mira up. Once I had dragged both of us, her wheelchair, her walker, and all our floaties into the gym, the guy looked at my guest passes and said, “You know these aren’t for this gym, right?”

And then I cried.

He immediately jumped in with, “Don’t worry, ma’am, we’ll let you in. Just hang on a second and I’ll get my manager.”

Bless the man, he didn’t know what to do with this exhausted mama and her weepy mess of tears and mutterings about physical therapy.

What kind of crazy person doesn’t look at the big BLAZING name on the gym pass?

This girl.

Once I’d collected our stuff and the remnants of my pride, we headed to the indoor, heated pool. Oh, it was lovely. We were the only ones on the family side. I carried Mira in and put her in her floatie. It took some time for her to adjust to the freedom of having that leg just hanging out. I showed her she could swim, we practiced kicking, and I even encouraged her to try walking around on her leg. (Doctor told us it was fine in water even though she can’t bear any weight on it normally.)

Pretty soon, she relaxed. She even began to smile. I don’t have any pictures because I was busy being Mama, but, oh, we were happy. We laughed together and splashed. I encouraged her to splash me as much as she could with that one leg. And she began to revel in her independence from her walker and her wheelchair.

At one point, she got so sassy she thought she’d try to ditch the floatie. She quickly realized that leg wasn’t nearly as strong as it used to be and we swam back to the floatie for security. Then she was content to just kick and spin her way back and forth, up and down the pool. I walked beside her and encouraged: “Straighten that leg, mighty Mira. Kick like a mermaid, lady! Splash me some more!”

I had to downright bribe the kid to get her out of that water at bedtime. Or maybe she blackmailed me. All I know is, we ended up in the Chik-Fil-A drive thru for milkshakes.

Today, I was at the church  for co-op. A friend met me in the lobby with a gift. She told me that the quilting group at church had gotten wind of Mira’s story and asked if they could make her a quilt. They prayed over our baby girl as they sewed and are now working on quilts for the rest of our kids. I opened the finished quilt and read the carefully monogrammed words…


And then I cried some more.

I like to think that today’s quilt came at just the right time. In physical therapy, we learned that Mira has made no measurable improvement. We’re slowing down the lengthening for the next week until she can see the doctor again. In the meantime, we’ll do even more P.T., even more exercises, so much stretching, and lots more praying. We might even try to dig up some more guest passes to the wrong gym again. :-/


Meanwhile, we are rejoicing in our girl’s smiles and the love and prayers of unknown women who have blessed us all with their tiny stitches.

Thank you, Jesus, for timely gifts in unexpected places.




We Can’t Wait To Have Patience


Willa has been taking tap. The only way I can convince her to show us her new moves is if I dig out a pair of tap shoes I have and put them on. Then she “teaches” me the steps she is learning in class.

We were doing tap show-and-tell the other night and Finn got it into his head that he wanted tap shoes. I told him if he still wanted them when he got a bit older, I would gladly buy him tap shoes (insert visions of raising the next Fred Astaire.)

Now, Finn’s patience is shorter than his attention span. In other words, if he asks for something, he wants it in his hand before he’s done asking.


He decided he wanted Oreos for lunch.


I realized one day that he’d turned me into a manic short-order cook when it came to filling up his water bottle. If he started waving it around, I was launching myself across the room to grab it and get it filled before the demands started.

It’s a small cup. It doesn’t take long to fill. But he’ll stand at my legs and say, “Mommy, I need some water.”

“I’m filling it up for you now, baby.”

“But I need a drink, Mommy.”

“Just waiting on the water filter, Finn.”

“But I… I’m thirsty!”

And then I’d make a desperate toss to get it in his hands before I had to explain the word “wait” for the forty-eleventh time.

So telling him he has to grow taller to get tap shoes was basically asking to be tortured. He’s been talking about those tap shoes like they will arrive in seconds. I can’t seem to help him see any other alternative.

This morning, he came into my bathroom asking for his tap shoes. “When you get a little bigger, Finn…”

He stopped short and crossed his arms to stick out his lip. “But… but.. I don’t know HOW to grow.”

And therein lies the problem with Three. He doesn’t know how to make his world do exactly what he wants IMMEDIATELY. So we shall all be made to suffer…

We’re working on it.


Meanwhile, he makes a great companion over coffee and a laptop full of work. For this trip, he sat and practiced his short vowels (because, obviously, he’s impatient with waiting on me to do his spelling for him) and complained because he didn’t know how to get up to the ceiling.

You and me, both, buddy. I’ll bet it’s quieter up there…

(Whispering a Secret: Craig’s List provided me with a cheap pair of Noise Canceling headphones and my whole world is brighter. LOVE. THEM. I can hear still, but it’s nicely muted. I can work in the middle of chaos and still be present. But not crazed. It’s like somebody colored over my world with water colors.)


Mira is doing BEYOND amazing. She’s developed an independent streak that is serving us all well. Suddenly, she’s taking herself to the bathroom, going up and down the stairs on her own, and generally ROCKING this one-leg thing. We are so blown away and grateful for her progress. Her mood is better and, guess what else, SHE’S GROWING. (I’m sorry, I keep yelling. It’s all very exciting around here.) We’re three weeks in and that leg is longer, y’all. Five more weeks of growing to do! So fun to see the difference already!

It helps to be having a more uplifting week right now since I think it’s starting to sink in for her how long this process will take. We’ve got five more weeks of lengthening and then five months of healing time. For a kid with no concept of time, even she can grasp that’s a lot of wheelchairing. We talked with her  tonight about how it’s hard to feel happy about the surgery sometimes when she is struggling or longing to run and jump. But we also know what a blessing the lengthening is and how amazing it will be when she can walk flat-footed!

Like Finn, we all kind of just want it YESTERDAY.

So glad that there is a good thing to look forward to at the end of this story. That His story is always better than what I want to write, even if the timing seems slower than we wish. We are practicing gratefulness in all the little things: more independence, trips up and down stairs, getting faster in her wheelchair, and we will wait for His version of this epic to unfold. It’s gonna be good, I know it…