P.S. to Josie!

April 1st, 2016

Josie wants to grow her hair out of the butch cut, because she’s been called “he” and “young man” and doesn’t like that.



We told her we’d help her take care of whatever hairstyle she chose.



When she heard that, she said right away that she would like it to be chin length.



So she’s been growing it out, and it was definitely getting to that awkward, in-between, shaggy stage.



This week, I had a haircut appointment and asked whether she wanted to come along with me and let my stylist give her professional advice on how to help it look nice on its way to chin-length, or whether she’d rather stay home for Reading Night.



I honestly didn’t know what she’d choose and was so surprised and touched when she jumped at the chance to go along!



We proceeded to have a fun Mom and Josie night and we’re both happy about the hairstyle plan.  My stylist kept telling Josie she made a great choice and that it will look so nice on her!



She offered to trim and shape Josie’s hair up right away and wouldn’t charge us for it!  She said she was just glad to see Josie so happy!

And so are we!



Next Girls’ Night:  Taking Josie to find headbands that are comfy and appropriate for a teen girl!  Fun!


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18 Responses to “P.S. to Josie!”

  1. Esther Paris says:

    Ooh that’s cute!

  2. MamaV says:

    I kept meaning to ask if Josie had intentions for her hair… I love the cut!

  3. Deanna Rabe says:

    That’s awesome! Tell her I said it looks great! She has beautiful hair!

  4. Tami says:

    Wonderful! Love these pics – what a beautiful smile Josie has. So happy for her. :)

  5. Rebekah says:

    I love her hair (and hair intentions), but mostly, I am so blessed by that beautiful, always-smiling face! Does she ever frown?! God bless this darling, happy girl!!!

  6. Cassandra says:

    It’s quite remarkable, really, at how much more alive she looks now than she did earlier on. Her face glows. Even from a picture it is easy to see that she knows she’s home. Lucky her, lucky you. (What I really mean is blessed her, blessed Mussers).

    Will you share sometime about what feels the same/what feels different about bringing this child home (versus Katie and Tommy)? Your wisdom gained along the way. I apologize if I am being insensitive by using T.’s name.

  7. Rebekah D. says:

    She is beautiful!! Her hair looks great. You two must have had so much fun together!

  8. Susanna says:

    Cassandra, the biggest difference is that Josie’s needs were a known quantity to us–we had her here several times and had access to lots of info from various sources about who she is and what her needs have been. Out of that knowledge, it was crystal clear to us that she would love being here and that we would love having her here, and also what HAD to be in place for that to happen. If the items on that checklist didn’t materialize, it would not be possible for her to live here full time, and that includes very long-term planning on our part for the supports that she would need even if she were to lose function down the road. Knowing what we now know, I personally needed to see it all very sturdily in place to be confident that God was giving this the green light, because I have lived through NOT having necessary supports in place and am not going there again.

    We also needed to address some ongoing logistics problems in our home in order for everything to work. Even without the final finishing touches in place yet, because of the massive household reorganization and much-needed space that was added, we are already reaping the benefits of all this preparation big time. In our house, less time spent on logistics directly translates to MORE TIME WITH PEOPLE. Only those who have lived closely with physical disability can understand how even small changes for the better can have a huge impact on quality of life.

    One example: We now have a wheelchair minivan and a driveway with a sidewalk and wheelchair pad next to it that is level with the first floor. We used to have to store wheelchairs down under the front porch because there was no space to keep them in the house and no shelter for them in the back of the house where the driveway is. Going somewhere with a child in a wheelchair meant lugging their wheelchair up the hill from the front to the back of the house, lifting the child in and out of the big van and lifting their heavy wheelchair in and out of the back of the van. It is very time-consuming and daunting, and I am amazed when I look back at how much we managed to do under those conditions.

    In contrast, the other night I told Josie that to go along with me, she’d need to finish up her supper, use the bathroom, and put her coat on while I nursed the baby and got Katie ready for bed. When I came downstairs, Josie had finished everything she needed to do independently (and had also brushed her teeth) and had gone out her door and transferred herself from her walker into her wheelchair. So Joe had rolled her down the sidewalk to the minivan, where he wheeled her up the ramp, opened the opposite side door and hooked her wheelchair into the tiedowns, a process that took only a few minutes. After our past experiences, life with Josie here in our freshly-organized household seems almost too easy. No stress, no rush, enough cushion time, no sleep deprivation.

    And of course, at some point, it just becomes impossible to do the lifting required. Josie weighs 90 pounds compared with Katie’s 50-some pounds, and is not as independently mobile as Katie. That isn’t too much for the strongest people in our family, but most of them are at work most of the time. Last year when Josie would stay with us, we only had her on weekends when there was plenty of muscle home from work to help make the fun happen; we muscled our way through weekends and had tons of fun. We knew from those experiences how time-consuming it was to care for her needs without being handicapped-accessible, and we knew that it was impossible–not to mention unhealthy for her!–to have her live here full time without necessary supports in place to enable her to be as independent as she can possibly be. We knew exactly what it needed to look like to be possible.

    I typed that super fast and posted without fussing over editing it, so in the irritating manner of teachers, I think I just stated the same thing several times, ahem. *rolling eyes at self*

  9. Susanna says:

    There are many other things we learned, too, but this is the biggest practical consideration and the only one I am willing to talk about here.

  10. Taylor-Tots Mom says:

    Beautiful! I’m so happy that you were able to have such a lovely mother-daughter time! <3

  11. Cassandra says:

    Thanks for your response. You may be interested to know that it blessed me because this year I sought some support for my life and I do feel a bit guilty. Like, if I was a better mother would I be able to do it all alone. My husband is infinitely kind and practical and says things like, “Who cares what other people might do. We need the help and it is helping. If it’s good for you it benefits the whole family.” I’m very far from a Proverbs 31 woman :)

  12. Lucy says:

    I love her hair! My daughter is a bit younger, but has always hated having her hair touched. She kept it very short until this year. It’s about chin length now and I love it. She seems proud of it too because she chose it. My girl can’t stand regular headbands, but she loves head wraps. They look like kerchiefs connected with elastic. They come in all colors and styles and have become quite popular with the preteen set around here. Perfect for those I-don’t-feel-like-doing-my-hair mornings.

  13. Susanna says:

    Cassandra, thank the Lord for infinitely kind and practical husbands. Also ones that wake early, see the kids through breakfast and chores and start them on their homeschooling day before making a full hot breakfast for his (breastfeeding) wife by 6:45 am and praying with her before he heads off to work at 7. My husband is my hero and I am so privileged to be his lady. :)

  14. Fiona says:

    Can I ask some more questions about Josie? Was she born in the U.S or did she spend time in an institution abroad? You haven’t touched on it, but it’s just because of her haircut that I ask. (I’m sure it will look lovely grown out) And also because to some extent it seems she has learning disabilities but she also goes to mainstream classes.
    I’m just being nosy so I understand if you want to keep the details private.

  15. Susanna says:

    Hi Fiona! Thanks for asking! I’ve agreed not to give further details about Josie’s history/legal status publicly, but I can explain her schooling placement. She has an IEP and is working at about a kindergarten to first grade level due to her cerebral palsy-related learning difficulties. Her life skills class time addresses her specific reading and math challenges as well as teaching a host of other skills, and in her mainstreamed classes, she is able to do well with some modified activities and assignments, etc. In addition to all these, she also receives the one to one therapy that she needs. :)

  16. Jill says:

    Your love for Josie absolutely shines through this post. I could feel how delightful she is and what joy she brings you. how lucky she is and you are to have found each other!!!

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