June 24, 2019

Yesterday started off as any other day. Up and down, like a roller coaster. Kyia slept in a little later than normal, awake but curled up and comfy and my mom wanted to take advantage of some extra snuggles. To no avail. Kyia instantly started hitting and kicking, with crocodile tears welling in her eyes. My mom literally texted me, “I knew I should have left her alone. She is now mad”. Don’t we all feel like that sometimes? Like what we do or should have done is the cause of an outburst. But in reality, no one could have predicted that the peaceful beauty curled up in bed would turn into a vicious monster trying to escape in a blink of an eye just because her momma wanted some cuddles. 


Once my mom sent me the Snapchat video of Kyia’s rampage, of course big sister had to come to the rescue, or so I had hoped. I jumped into the bed with both of them, leaned Kyia up a bit and laid behind her so her head was resting on me. That stopped the tears momentarily and I felt accomplished. But then she feverishly pointed towards the door and started abusing my body with her little arms. Little but powerful — I might add. I have been known to give in to Kyia’s every demand and might be the cause of her tantrums, so I have been working really hard on giving her a set amount of time to be good or to not cry before we move onto the next activity. 


So I broke it down for her, slow and in my playful Kyia voice:

“Okay baby, I’m going to need you to stop being mean and stop crying”

“I know YOU want the IPAD or to go in the CAR” *instant attention grabber*

“Well you have to stop crying for ONE minute, that’s 60 seconds with no tears and then mommy will give you a bath and scrub your belly and wash your hair”

“Then we can pick out a cute outfit and put on your favorite shoes and go downstairs”

She gave me a wet kiss and said “okayyy” 


We held true to all of those promises and me and my mom wanted to take her out in her walker too. (She has been loving her walker the last few weeks so we are taking as much advantage of that as possible, hopefully she has decided that she wants to be as mobile as possible. But it warms my heart everytime she chooses her walker over her wheelchair or bike, or even when we put her in it with no tears.) It had been raining all morning and walking paths were probably still flooded from the night before, so we decided to venture into the world of shopping… with Kyia… in the walker. This has only happened one other time, when she first got the walker my mom took her to Kroger and this resulted in a meltdown moments later. But this time was different. This was something Kyia was passionate about and felt confident with. SHE LOVES CLOTHES. And her walker has been bringing her so much joy and confidence as of late. 


So we drive to Kohl’s and tell Kyia she has $60 Kohl’s cash to spend on herself… that’s like a million bucks if you have ever shopped in the little girls section at Kohl’s on a good clearance day. I was so excited because I had been spending a lot of time with Kyia on the walker, while my mom was on a cruise, and even took her on the bike trail where she did great. I had my doubts but me and Kyia knew she could do it, and when Kyia knows she can do something, well she does it. I think my mom was excited to see her in her walker in a store and just smiling. But wasn’t too sure if she would actually walk. Or if she would even smile. But we could always push her and get on with our day. 


When we got there, we unloaded the walker and Kyia was ready to roll. She loves going in the car, but she loves getting out of the car even more. 


The trip from the car to the Kohl’s entrance felt forever away. She seemed happy and excited to be going shopping, but we couldn’t tell how thrilled she was to be in the walker at first. Her walking was wishy washy to say the least. About every 3 steps I kicked her right foot to remind her to move it. 

Kyia walking in her walker through Kohl’s.

By the time those sliding doors opened, it was game over. This little girl was in heaven. I can’t imagine what was going through her head, she had never experienced the world from this view before. She had the world at her disposal in these precious moments. Marching down the aisles. She seemed so small in such a huge store. But my joy was so overwhelming. I just smiled from ear to ear, and kept telling her how proud I was of her. The look on my mom’s face was pretty neat too. We were both awestruck, I think there’s something so powerful happening in Kyia right now. I think she has a determination that we’ve never seen before. She is so strong-willed, compelling, and aware. I like to credit it to the amount that she loves Jesus, she worships like no one I’ve ever seen (and church was the first place in public she rocked the walker btw)! 


Anyways— I pulled out my phone to record her milestone of walking down the main aisle in Kohl’s. As I’m recording I am just thinking about how last week I was grieving the fact that I bought her a 12month+ toy for her 18th birthday and I changed her diaper every night before bed and we played with that toy every night for 30 minutes and she still hadn’t mastered it by the end of the week. Which made me realize that there are so many things in this world that she may never master. She may never experience. — I snapped out of that real quick, because my little sister is amazing. Her child-like faith is what makes her so incredible and pure. She brings overwhelming joy to anyone she meets. And she masters new things each and every day she wakes up, and she encourages me to reach all of my goals and more.

 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.” Philippians 4:6

Kyia pushing the shopping cart while smiling.

So like I said before, $60 is a lot in the little girls section so we needed a cart. I literally ran to get a cart and brought it back to Kyia, put her hands on the handle and made her push it. BOOM! Mastered two things in one day. Walked in the store AND pushed her own cart for the first time. I grabbed a quick video but steering was a challenge for my mom and Kyia so I took control of the cart again for a while. But there was a young man behind me holding two action figures. He had the biggest smile on his face and wanted to make sure I knew he had just seen Kyia’s accomplishment. He said proudly, “I just saw that WHOLE THING”! I was thrilled. He continued to tell me all about his two action figures that he was so knowledgeable about. We went our separate ways after a quick discussion, and I once again felt that overwhelming joy.


There’s just something about someone so innocent feeling so important or accomplished, and the best part about it is that you and I can help people feel that way by just merely acknowledging someone or listening to them. Turn your stare into a smile, and your whispers into a “hello”, instead of turning a cold shoulder try lending a listening ear. 


Kyia picked out some cute stuff and even found a couple of deals for $2.80 — Yes, you read that right! And then we started heading towards the junior’s section. We passed a few friendly faces that applauded her for walking and the look of determination in her eyes. That determination came to our attention real quick. While we thought we were going to the junior’s section, Kyia had other plans. She was ready to go, and nothing was going to stop her. Usually she relies on gravity or a little momentum of the person behind her to propel her forward, but we let go and she marched her happy butt right to the door… but we hadn’t even paid. I went and grabbed her and explained we have to buy the clothes. But when Kyia has her mind set on something, she doesn’t care about anything else. So I had to wheel her around the store while she was crying and trying her hardest to get to the nearest door. I eventually gave in, and we went outside where she raced to the car. We waited for my mom to check out and join us in the car. When she got back she joked about how great of a shopper Kyia was because she stayed under budget and only spent $52 (much better shopper than me)!

A woman in white playing basketball with her step brother and little sister in a walker.

On the car ride home — the tantrum continued to put it nicely. Kyia used to have horrible fits in the car and had to wear harnesses for a period of time. She’s since grown out of them for the most part, but yesterday was a big day. She did a lot of things she’s never done and it must have been too much. I jumped in the back seat and just held her and let her cry, but kept her safe. We can celebrate all of the wins and accomplishments, but acknowledging the real harsh truth is important for us. We know what it’s like. She was without a doubt in a fight or flight situation. She was overwhelmed and she didn’t know what else to do. I just loved her through it. 


By the time we got home she was much calmer. She asked to go back into the walker which we thought was a little strange, but she walked straight to my car. Like I said earlier, I am the one who usually takes her for drives and gives in to all of her tantrums (oops). She was probably ready for another break. And I usually would have done that, but after she walked right to my car, she then started being a meany and ultra-demanding and wouldn’t walk anywhere else. So we called down Jadon — our step-brother who Kyia adores as well and grabbed a ball and headed to the park. It wasn’t what she wanted, but it was exactly what she needed. The wind blowing in her hair. A break from walking but the freedom to do so if she wanted. Standing right next to her mommy to make her feel safe. And watching two of her favorite people playing basketball. She even had a couple of assists, but we’re still working on how to shoot… 


Moments are very precious in our household. Mood swings come and go like the Ohio weather, frequently and multiple times within a single day without very much warning at all. But when there is a storm, you better believe I’m always looking for the rainbow. And just waiting patiently for the sun to shine.  

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy”.                James 1:2


-Amy Bullimore, President