Today Raine is 9yrs old. Next month, makes 6yrs since she came to me – a chubby and gruff 3yr old. Her voice was like that of an elderly woman who’d been smoking all her life. It used to cause people to literally jump when she first spoke. Cashiers at stores would always comment on how shocking her voice was. Raine spoke non-stop to anyone who would listen. At one point, the pediatrician referred her to a specialist to check on her voice. Raine was completely uncooperative. But the specialist was sure the way she was speaking was doing damage to her vocal cords. “She may tone it down when she’s a teenager,” the doctor speculated. “Peer pressure can be a great aid in a case like this.” The prognosis was bleak. If Raine didn’t alter the manner in which she was speaking, she could end up loosing her voice as time went on.
“But clearly there are other more pressing issues, “ the specialist observed. Raine was kicking and shoving the chair she ought to be sitting in.
That was years ago. Some of those pressing issues remain. But over time, Raine’s voice has slowly altered. Now that she’s 9, it’s gentle and sweet – something you’d expect for a little girl.
Too often, in the day to day challenge of parenting, I lose sight of the remarkable progress Raine has made. She’s learned to love – even eagerly welcomed two toddlers to our family. She’s calmed down considerably from the ball of nervous energy she once was. After 3 ½ yrs of homeschooling, Raine began school in October. Neither she nor I were sure how she’d do. Despite our mutual apprehensions, she’s done amazing. The anxiety that had lead to serious behaviour issues in JK is gone. Raine’s been able to integrate into a new school – Catholic instead of the regular public school she went to for JK. She’s wearing a uniform, learning French, going to mass, and riding to and from school on a bus. Each new experience has built her confidence. Raine is flourishing at school – something I never imagined possible.
Today, her birthday outfit says “Dream Chaser.” This perfectly labels Raine. She is full of dreams and ideas. For a very long time, Raine has dreamed of becoming a farmer. We live surrounded by orchards, vineyards, and hobby farms. Raine already has her eye on a piece of land within walking distance from our house. She’s apt to ask anyone she speaks to how much they make at their job. Raine’s sizing up possible employment, eager to make enough money to be able to buy a farm. Her other big dream is to build me a robot that will clean the house – because with four kids it’s no easy task. I love dreaming with her. When I was a child, my dream was to be a mother to children who needed one. That dream has come true in abundance. While 8, Raine saw the realizataion of one her biggest dreams. For 2yrs, she dreamed of adding two specific little boys to our family. Even when it looked impossible, Raine never gave up on that dream. A month ago, that dream was fully realized.
Her dream for the future may change as she grows, or could remained fixed where it is. Perhaps Raine will break into the largely male dominated world of farming. Perhaps she’ll achieve something else. Whatever she does, it will be spectacular. And I’m so glad to be running with Raine as she chases her dreams.