Over the next two weeks, Steve alternated between being discouraged and being hopeful. What he didn’t know is that Arf felt the same way. They were both running out of ways to keep Katie motivated. It was more than that. She needed to trust Arf and to believe in herself.
The day before they were scheduled to go back to the research hospital for a week, Steve took his morning coffee and went out to the porch. He found Miss Bessie sitting there in her rocking chair. Her hands were folded in her lap and she was saying her morning prayers.
“Please help us to know how we can help dear, sweet, Katie. Give her the strength and understanding to continue moving forward on the path you have placed before her.
Thank you for putting Arf in our lives. Through Your gift of him, a loving family has been created.”
Steve joined Miss Bessie as she said her Amen.
“Good morning, Steve. I didn’t see you standing there.”
“I didn’t want to interrupt your beautiful prayer. I have something weighing heavily on my mind, Miss Bessie. I think maybe I was supposed to hear your prayer and maybe I’m supposed to talk with you about my concern. Do you mind?”
“Of course I don’t mind. You know how much I love you and Katie. I have watched the two of you and Arf struggle through these past two weeks. I know you were hoping Katie would make more progress.”
Steve sat down in the chair next to Miss Bessie. “I think I know the reason for that,” he said. “I think Katie believes she is the reason her mother left us.”
“Why on earth would she think that?” Miss Bessie asked.
“It dawned on me while I was talking with her therapist, Sam, that Katie must blame herself for her mother’s sudden departure,” Steve couldn’t keep the bitterness from his voice. “My sweet little girl must think her mommy couldn’t bear the prospect of raising a child who couldn’t walk.”
“Good Lord,” Miss Bessie whispered. “I’m sure you’re right. What can be done to convince Katie that she is not to blame?”
“When I take Katie and Arf back to the hospital tomorrow, I’m going to check into getting her some counseling. And then, I’m going to find my long lost wife.”
***Katie and I had one more day at the ranch before heading back to the hospital. We had done what we were supposed to every day, but Katie wasn’t excited like I was and Sam was not going to be happy. He always tells me that Katie needs me. Well, I need Katie to put her heart into getting out of that chair with wheels.
Katie asked Miss Alice to fix a lunch for us because we were going to go down by the pond and watch butterflies. She told Alice that Steve said it was okay to go as long as we stayed a safe distance from the pond.
I love to chase butterflies and to be perfectly honest, I needed a day off. Katie and I both needed to have some fun.
It was a nice day with lots of sunshine. I didn’t catch one butterfly, but Katie laughed while she watched me try. I love to hear Katie laugh.
A big, beautiful butterfly landed on a flower near Katie’s chair. Lost in the fun, she reached out to it and when it flew away, she reached a little further and tried to pick the flower. I ran to her as fast as I could, but I was too late. Katie slid out of her chair and onto the ground.
When I got to her side, without even thinking, she reached for me and with her arms around my neck, pulled herself to her feet and eased herself back into the chair.
“Don’t tell anybody Arf,” she said excitedly. “Not until I can walk.”