6 Things I’ve Learned in 6 Months

On April 26, 2015, the sun was shining and it was an exceptionally glorious spring day. Joe and I decided to invite some friends over for a campfire by the lakeshore.  Joe left with our 3 oldest children, Vince (9), Liv (7), and Ava (4) at about 2:30 to enjoy some fresh air and prepare a  spot for a fire.  I stayed home preparing some food and allowing baby Violet to nap.

At 4:30, I was about to drive the 4 miles to the location when Joe called or texted me to bring some rakes to level some sand. I gathered them, answered a phone call and then started to drive there.  I was half-way there when Joe called in a panic and said Ava had been hurt.  He had buckled her in the backseat of our John Deere Gator, went about 200 yards (which included a slight curve), looked back, and she wasn’t there.

A lot transpired in the next week, and the most life-changing news was that Ava had avulsed 4 of the 5 nerves that provided motor function and sensation to her right arm.  To read more details, I encourage you to scroll through my blog as I’ve given a lot of detail previously.

Ava getting out of the car for physical therapy today. We work on scars and range of motion (stretching her flaccid arm as high above her and holding it there for her). We also keep her shoulder taped into a position it should be, with less sagging.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

1.  Feeling guilty is like saying God isn’t sovereign over the world.  Some people are involved in huge accidents and walk away unharmed.  God’s plan for Ava is way different.

Ava was right-handed but not anymore! Doctors have never seen full recovery in a patient but we are told that with hand function — even a little is a lot. In this photo, Ava is working hard to develop finger strength and dexterity in her left hand.

2.  I need to always trust my ‘momma’s gut’ and keep asking questions and getting second and third opinions until what I’m hearing makes total sense.

3.  There is a HUGE difference between someone saying “Let me know if you need anything” (which I always used to say, but don’t anymore) and “I am available this Tuesday from 5:00-6:30. How can I help?”.

Now, I always notice how kids always play with both hands. Ava has adapted by using her feet, teeth, and knees to hold things.

4.  When one family member changes a bunch, everybody else changes at least a little.  Vince seems more aware of danger always. Liv has grown in compassion beyond imagination. She now wants to grow up to be a teacher AND a therapist.  Violet, my little car seat warrior, has flourished in her youngest child role of comic relief.
5.  Ava has an amazing ability to adapt.  Kids just figure out a way.  At preschool, all of the kids were beginning to clap along to a song and a kid sitting next to Ava looked over at her and said “Now, how are you going to do this?”   She just looked at him and clapped her hand on her thigh.  It is interesting how much of her adaptions come without instruction.

6.  Kind people are everywhere.  I think sometimes we get caught up in thinking that people are against us, pointing out our mistakes and judging us.  Like the world is out to get us. Instead, immediately following Ava’s accident and up to this day, thousands of family, friends, and strangers have taken the time to have a conversation with God about Ava. I don’t cry very much about Ava anymore, but the thought of this always bring tears to me eyes.  People are much more kind and caring than you believe.  Sometimes it just takes a really big something for you to see that.

My blog had grown in leaps and bounds in the past 6 months.  Thank you. I would completely give my writing up if somehow I could trade it in for Ava’s nerves, but like I said, that’s not how God works.  Putting my thoughts down in this form brings me peace.  Although our accident was farm-related, we still gladly raise our children on the farm and believe that the opportunities given by caring for animals and land outweigh the risks of future accidents.

Thanks for following the journey.


5 thoughts on “6 Things I’ve Learned in 6 Months

  1. Love your advice of “I’m available on… from … to …, what would you like help for” I am taking your advice on this one. Best of luck to to continued healing and using your story to inspire other parents.


  2. Sending you prayers for strength and happiness! God has a bigger plan (have to believe this otherwise we would go crazy when things seem so out of our control) in 6 short months this little Super Hero has touched and effective so many people. And yes it would be much easier if it wasn’t so painful and challenging but who knows who or what path Ava, her siblings or complete strangers will become/take because of Ms. Ava!

    Sending you Hugs!!!


  3. The photo of Ava you sent us in on the fridge. I think, from time to time, when I look at it “If she can overcome and work hard, I can too.”


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