5:30 AM. I groggily answer the alarm clock and stumble out of the bedroom to wake Taylor and Parker. We are going to practice basketball at the rec center. I try to be as quiet as possible so Christi can sleep for another hour. As I open the door, Lexi doesn't notice me. She is as quiet as a mouse. She is slowly walking from the bathroom back to her bedroom. Fascinated, I observe. Her steps are small, more shuffles than steps. I am sure this is because she never knows what toys, clothes or other obstacles she will encounter as she makes her way back to bed. Tonight the floor is relatively clean. She only bumps into one empty basket and patiently moves sideways to get around it, then continues her journey. She shuffles over to the ladder up to the top bunk. (She prefers the top, by the way.) She slowly ascends, stopping on each rung for several seconds. She know just when to bend at the waist so she doesn't hit her head on the ceiling. She crawls onto her pillow and pulls up the covers around her, still not knowing I'm there. I go over to her bed, and whisper our bedtime tuck-in routine in her ear: "Are you my little Lexicon?" "I'm you're little Lexicon." "I love you." "I love you." "Good night." "Good night." A faint, tired smile crosses her lips as I kiss her good night. Oh Lexi, why was I struck so profoundly this particular time with how dark your world is? Was it because it was still dark outside? Was it because of the stillness of the night? I am so glad that even though you cannot see, your vision is extraordinary. That your engaging smile lights up the lives of those who meet you. I know of no one else who can make friends as quickly and unconditionally as you. You bring a little piece of heaven with you wherever you go.
I head downstairs to wake the boys. Elli's room is just across the hall from theirs, and I can hear that she is already up. We have been trying to potty train her, so I go in to help her use the bathroom. She is on the bed, completely under the blankets, making unintelligible noises. Recently, we have been putting Elli in thick training panties (similar to cloth diapers). This is mostly to help Elli break her habit of eating her pull ups. Elli will rip up her pull up from the outside. She goes through the outer layer and then a thick cotton-like layer. Finally she hits the tiny grains of absorbent material designed to soak up fluids. She eats all of these layers, which, not surprisingly, can give her an upset stomach. So for the past few weeks we had been using these cloth-diaper-like underpants to prevent her from ingesting this gunk. Tired of cleaning out the underpants, and hoping her eating habit had been broken, Christi put her to bed in a pull up. The habit was not broken. Chunks of pull up were everywhere, including Elli's mouth. I took her to the bathroom, cleaned her up, and tucked her back in her bed. "Are you my little Lady Bug?" No response. "I love you." "I-love-oo-good-night!" Sometimes that response will be accompanied by a rather aggressive hug and kiss, but not this morning. Another little girl in a dark world. So much darker than Lexi's. Powerless to help her, the best I can do is protect her from herself. How would I endure this if I did not have the hope of His resurrection and atonement? Without an understanding of life after death, this would be all she could hope for. But with a testimony that the resurrection will come, that someday she will have a perfect body and a perfect mind, there is hope. There is a beautiful future. One bright with glory and joy.
Taylor, Parker and I head off into the dark night toward the rec center. I am grateful for our arms, our legs and our eyes that we will use as we work to help the boys get better at putting a ball through a hoop.