But, it wasn't just her eyes.
It was the whole package - death stare, then the head, neck and hip pop - the whole thing.
Now, she has rolled her eyes plenty of times before, but every other time it has been more of a reaction that she was then immediately apologetic for. Not this time. This was a deliberate, intentional, "Mom, I hate everything you are saying and think you are an idiot" type reaction. And in a super mature parenting moment, I fired back with, "OH NO 'MAM! I INVENTED THAT MOVE! SERIOUSLY, LET'S CALL GRANDMA RIGHT NOW AND SHE CAN TELL YOU ALL ABOUT HOW I AM THE MASTER OF THAT JUNK!"
You can pin that little parenting tip if you want. All I do is win, y'all, all I do is win.
So, fast forward to today, and we had our annual follow-up appointment with my youngest daughter's cleft palate team at Texas Children's Hospital.
At age 2, she was army crawling (not walking), she could sit-up but could not support her weight to stand. She didn't have the roof of her mouth, so she was not talking, but not for lack of trying, rather from the lack of the ability to form syllables. So as soon as she healed from her surgery, we busted it and that little girl PUT IN THE WORK! She worked so incredibly hard, to build muscle mass so she could learn to walk, she listened to every word she heard her brothers and sister say and intensely studied every flashcards held before her so she could learn English. She went to an hour of speech therapy every week, and tried her hardest to put her tongue, lips, and teeth in the right position and so she could form a single word. She would literally be sweating some days when we left speech, because it was that intense for her. And wouldn't you know it, that little fighter went from zero words to meeting all four year old speech milestones in less than 2 years, and in May of 2017, she graduated from speech therapy.
Where am I going with all this? Well, after Kennedy graduated from speech therapy in May, I'm not going to lie I felt like a pretty badass mom (pardon the language, but that is the best way to describe it). I was so proud of the fact, that so many people told us how the odds were against her being ready for Kindergarten, and yet my little princess was not only ready for Kindergarten, the kid has never stopped talking since - like, ever.
So, I went into today sort of annoyed that we had to come to this appointment. I mean obviously the kid is killing it and obviously, we are the best parents ever. Well, about 30 minuted into the appointment I quickly found myself shutting down and simply trying to smile and nod. Here is how these appointments work: you sit in an examine room for close to two hours and anywhere from 5 - 7 doctors rotate through (plastic surgeon, orthodonist, speech pathologist, psychologist, ENT, etc.) and each one checks out your kid and lets you know how they are doing and what the next steps are.
First up, plastic surgeon. Everything looks great, we will discuss surgery #2 in two years. See, you next year at your annual follow-up.
Second, ortho. Same as plastic surgeon. We will talk more in two years.
Third, speech pathologist. Has Kennedy repeat about 10 different sentences, K struggles through about half of them. Speech Pathologist, "she hasn't quite gotten her S, L, and V sounds so she needs to start speech therapy again - especially before she goes to Kindergarten." TRIGGER ALL THE OLD INSECURITIES.
Fourth, psychologist. "Have you talked to her about how to handle kids that may point out her lip or that she looks different from her family? Around age 5 is when kids start to pick up on that sort of stuff?"....wait, what?....No, she is beautiful and amazing and I don't even notice it most the time. Also, I dare some kid to say something...I will....
Last, ENT. "When is the last time she got a hearing test? Why hasn't her tubes fallen out yet?" I DON'T KNOW WOMAN, BACK OFF!
With each doctor that entered the room, I found myself becoming more and more on the defense, more and more feeling the need to protect this little girl that has worked so hard and overcome so much, after all this was suppose to be a blow off appointment - yet, we left with phone numbers of three more appointments that need to be made ASAP.
And on the way home, as my exhausted little girl slept in the back, I was giving God the same dramatic eye roll my pre-teen daughter gave me just days before.
I was annoyed that we had worked so hard to get Kennedy to where she was, that we were told she was now a completely normal 5 year old, ready for Kindergarten, and now I felt like we had been lied to - that she had been lied to. I was a bit frustrated with God that this little girl that already fought such a hard uphill battle, was now jumping back into the throws of checklists and milestones. I was angry that it seemed as if I wanted more for Kennedy then God did.
And just like I stepped in to discipline my daughter's dramatic eye roll, God did the same thing with me, right in my car, as my little one peacefully slept. He was quick to remind me that He was in fact the one that placed it on our hearts to adopt in the first place, always having Kennedy in mind. That He was the one that protected, cared for, and loved Kennedy the first 2 years of her life before we could get to her and bring her home. That He was the one that led me to the exact time in which start the process of adoption, because He was the one that knew there was a little girl that needed a family. He reminded me that He was the one that arranged for her to be adopted by a family that lived in the same city as the best cleft lip and palate pediatric team in the country, because He knew that is what she needed. He reminded me, that He is the one that has provided so richly for our family, to make sure that we have health care and jobs to provide for her every need. And lastly, he reminded me that just two days ago I taught these verses to a group of people at a Bible study:
"In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” 21 tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Before our eyes the Lord sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. 23 But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors." Deuteronomy 6:20 - 23
He reminded me that despite how much I think I love Kennedy, I will never love her as much as He does - so the dramatic eye roll is not necessary. He reminded me that I can look at how far Kennedy has come and use that as a point of discouragement in the times in which it is brought to our attention that she may still need some help, or I can remember all that the Lord has done thus far in her life and trust that He is just getting started. That I can trust that "he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised..."