Don’t Tell Me Miracles Don’t Happen Today! (Postscript)

Well, it’s been over two years now since we brought our Ladybug home.  We have cherished every single day as if it were borrowed time.  Our young lady is 16 and almost grown now.  She drives on her own (although Mom has to get a job before we can even THINK of getting Ladybug a car of her own, much as we all would like to).

Physically, she’s great.  The overbite mentioned in Part I turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  She was just able to push mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, food bits from Campbell’s soups, etc. into her mouth while her jaw was wired.  We all believe that the overbite kept her from going totally insane.  She continued to prefer Frappuccinos to smoothies, but after all the struggles to get her to “eat,” by the time the wires were removed she had only lost one pound!  We were so concerned about her weight–we knew that if she lost any more than that, she would become two-dimensional!

Eating was not the only concern; so was physical activity.  It was hard at first–we just let Ladybug stay in the recliner for the first few days.  Then we knew we had to get her out and about.  It took 5 hours to get her to dress, put on makeup, and walk out the door the first time–she was so intimidated by the thought of getting into a car again!  After that, though, it was visit after visit–to her friends’ houses, to cheer for the swim team (Ladybug’s season was over, as she could not get into the water until the trach incision was completely healed), to go shopping, to get ready for school.

She had 8 weeks after the accident to recover before Fish Camp, the orientation session held for incoming Freshmen at her high school.  The week before that, though, was the beginning of training for the Cross Country team–five days a week, at 6:30 a.m.  Local legendary Coach Archie Seals had been anticipating getting Ladybug on his team after watching her run in Junior High competition, but had figured her to be lost for the season after the accident.  He was, I believe, the most astonished person of all when she showed up for the first practice!  Coach told her that she only needed to attend practice every other day the first two weeks, but she insisted on attending daily and keeping up with the other athletes.  She wasn’t the fastest girl on the team, but placed on a few occasions and was definitely a help in continuing what was to become a 24-year streak in taking the Divisional Cross-Country title for Coach Seals.

She also earned the undying admiration of her high school’s women’s coach.   Coach Brewer has a well-earned reputation for being tough as nails and not easily impressed–and she has the state championships in volleyball to prove it!  Still, word gets around of someone determined enough to go from near-death to competition conditioning in 8 weeks, and Coach loved Ladybug’s athleticism, determination and spunk.  Coach even invited Ladybug to be scorekeeper for volleyball and girl’s basketball that year–jobs Ladybug enjoyed doing immensely.

Ladybug had signed up for three Pre-AP classes freshman year:  History, English, and Science.  Over that summer, we noticed that Ladybug was having short-term memory issues and trouble with organization (never her strong suit to begin with) and focus.  The pre-AP science class also required a demanding insect-collection summer project.  After much thought, we decided it might be best for her to drop PAP science.  Then a series of mishaps occurred that clearly bore the fingerprints of God’s involvement.  Instead of being put in a regular freshman physical science class, she was mistakenly put into a sophomore biology class.  It took several weeks for that mistake to be found.  Within days of being transferred to the freshman science class, Ladybug just happened to run into the PAP Science teacher, who begged Ladybug to give her class a try.  Her dad and I agreed, the teacher waived the insect requirement, and Ladybug thoroughly enjoyed PAP science–it was one of her favorite classes!  God clearly meant for her to be there.

One of the longest-lasting effects of the accident was Ladybug’s left eye.   She could not move it past the center vertical axis, if you can imagine her eye divided into a grid.  It caused her to suffer double vision for several months.  She had a special prism put on her glasses to help, but it was only in synch with her range of motion for a short time.  Mainly, she learned to deal, and by the time Christmas break came around, she had regained 90% of the range of motion in that eye.

As stated before, her swim season was over that year, but the next summer, she came back with a vengeance, being the team’s top point-earner in 2007.   Joint issues stemming from running kept her out of the post-season, but this year dropped cross-country and track and she is going all the way with swimming.  The state’s regional meet is tomorrow, and after that is Texas’ amateur finals in San Antonio.  Ladybug is going!  She also will be attending a school with a swim program in the fall, so she will be able to swim year-round–something she hasn’t done since we lived in Florida.

The fall and winter after the accident, Ladybug was invited to be on THREE Courts of Honor for the quinceaneras of her friends.  This is a high honor indeed–like being selected to be a maid of honor.  You get to wear a formal gown (matching the other girls on the Court), learn intricate dances, and have an escort in a tux.  WOW, did she look good!

I would love very much to post photos from that time, but Ladybug has asked me not to.  Her suffering during that period is a sensitive subject, and I am very cautious about broaching it.  She’s suffered more than enough, and I respect her wishes.  A little over a year after the wreck, she came downstairs just after midnight and woke me up to tell me that she suddenly remembered everything–the events leading up to the accident, during the accident, everything.  We talked about it as much as she wanted to, and I let her cry it out.  She says that the experience has made her a cautious driver, careful about taking turns and is VERY picky about who she allows to drive her when it comes to her friends.  She talks about owning a fast car, but really just wants a good, reliable coupe.  I think she is much more responsible than most 16-year-olds with a car.  I let her drive my RaggTopp–what more can I say?

The one thing that seems to be irreparably damaged in the accident was our relationship with our oldest son.  He walked away from the crash without a scratch (although it took a couple of days to find his glasses), but hated himself for what had happened to his sister.  He admitted that he was taking that corner too fast and being reckless.  Still, Hubby and I knew that we could either let bad feelings tear our family apart or we could forgive him in an effort to keep the family together.  Choosing was a no-brainer, and we told God while en route to the hospital that we had forgiven him.  We told him as soon as we saw him, but I don’t think he has ever forgiven himself or allowed himself to believe that what happened is forgivable.  He had drifted in and out of our lives ever since.  He tried to go into the service, but his attempts to join two different branches both failed.  He lives in an apartment in a dangerous area of a nearby town and works in two fast food joints, not making enough to make ends meet.  Ladybug wants nothing to do with him because she feels he “abandoned” the family when we needed him most.  Hubby and I have reached out to him on many occasions and helped him out of some tough scrapes, but he still does not want to be part of our family.   All we can do is let him live his life at this point and hope that someday he will put aside the hate that eats him like a cancer.  When he does, we’ll be there.

Still, Ladybug shows a compassion toward her brother of which I’m not sure she’s aware.  When Christian recording artist Stephen Curtis Chapman‘s teenage son accidentally struck his 5 year-old-sister while backing a car out of the driveway this past May, killing her, the first thing out of Ladybug’s mouth was “Oh, I feel so awful for that boy–will he ever forgive himself?”  In a similar situation, her first thought was for the person in her brother’s place–not hers’, not her parents’.  You know, I’m glad it was her first thought.  It shows me just how mature beyond her years she is.  I love you, Ladybug.


4 Responses to “Don’t Tell Me Miracles Don’t Happen Today! (Postscript)”

  1. 1 Jennifer July 14, 2008 at 6:41 am

    Your Ladybug is an amazing girl.

  2. 2 Karen July 21, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Wow! Ginny…this is an amazing story and I have to say Ladybug has ‘True Grit’…Hope she knows who’s known for that one but she’s young so she might not. So many others would have folded, pouted, and dropped out of everyday. What an incredibly tenacious and beautiful young girl she is. I know the whole family is very proud. I hope that one day Ladybug’s brother can see the damage his self-blame causes himself and the family. I pray he’ll learn to forgive himself and be thankful that this accident didn’t take Ladybug away from everyone and everything that is so special to her. Ginny thanks for sharing this blog. Relaying these things is the same as reliving them and that can’t be easy.

  3. 3 gatakitty July 21, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Karen, don’t worry–she knows the movie “True Grit” very well–John Wayne is a favorite in our household! Neither of us can watch Kim Darby being bitten, though–we both have to leave the room during that scene.

    Ladybug is very aware that God went to a great deal of trouble to spare her life and that He obviously has some special purpose for her. She is patiently waiting for that purpose to be revealed to her in His own perfect timing, but in the meantime she keeps her grades up and her body in shape so that when the time comes, she will be prepared.

    Not many moms can say that their teenage daughter is their hero–but I do. I say it to my daughter’s face, and to anyone who will listen. That girl has a strength that I wish I had, and yet hope I never have to have tested.

    Thanks, everyone for your well-wishes!

  4. 4 Jennifer July 24, 2008 at 10:36 am

    I feel so lucky to have actually met your amazing Ladybug in person. She is so very special and beautiful. She is a very impressive young lady.

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