As of today, we are just twelve short days from Liddy's first birthday. It seems like this first year has gone by in the time that it takes to blink my eyes. Looking back to this time last year and emotional roller coaster we were going through, let alone the one we were still facing, it's a pretty awesome thing to me to be right here, right now, peacefully whiling away our days in a fog of blissful happiness.
I wish so much that the mama I am now could go back in time somehow and tell the mama I was a year ago that all of those fears were for nothing. I wish I could tell her that everything was going to be all right, that we would make it through the darkest days and see the sun shine again. I wish I could tell her how much of a blessing that precious girl was going to be to every single person whose life she touched, and that DS was the least of our worries.......
I have learned so much along the way, lessons taught by the gentle, sweet presence of my daughter. Taught by her courageousness, her determination, her inner light, and sunshine smile. The bravery and the strength that she has shown by overcoming the obstacles placed in her path are lessons in themselves, and a glorious testimony to the simple fact that she, like all the rest of us, chooses every single day to LIVE LIFE for all that it is worth.
So what exactly has this beautiful baby girl taught me over the last year? What lessons has God used her to enforce? What changes has she made to me?
Lessons From My Daughter Part II
1. Sometimes overcoming your worst fears leads to receiving your greatest blessings.
2. The road is rarely flat. It is filled with twists and turns and pitfalls. But conquering each and every one brings you closer to your final destination.
3. A heart is never too full to love just a little bit more.
4. Time stops for no man (or woman) but being able to be thankful for each second is a precious gift.
5. I am stronger than I ever believed, wiser than I ever hoped, and more in love with my family than I could have ever imagined.
6. Sometimes your blessings come through rain drops.......sometimes your healing comes through tears. (Thank you Laura Story).
7. My daughter is a tiny ball of huge potential.....capable of accomplishing anything she sets her mind to, fully expected to change the world with a flash of her dimpled smile.
8. When you pray with all of your heart for someone, you can't help but love them. (Thank you, Annie Reid).
9. Faith relies on trust. Believing in things unproven, unseen, and unknown. Trusting that the plans He has in mind for us don't depend on our perfection or on whether we deserve them.
10. His plans are greater than any dreams we can conceive of for ourselves.
11. Each of us is created perfectly. What we do with the beginnings God gives us depends on how we react to the curve balls life throws at us.
12. I will fall short a thousand times of God's expectations. I will be forgiven every time through His grace and mercy.
13. Sometimes we are given struggles simply to mold and change us. Sometimes we are given trouble so that we can better understand someone else's.
14. Beauty inside creates beauty outside.
15. I'll take the roller coaster any day over the boring old merry go round. :)
16. A baby can change everything. Just ask Mary.
17. There are times when I still wake up, almost a year later, and find myself rushing to my daughter's bed, thinking that maybe she was just a beautiful dream.
18. Despite it all, I wouldn't change one day of her life. I wouldn't change one thing about her. I wouldn't make different decisions.
19. Every time I look at her scars, I am overwhelmed, almost to the point of tears, with gratefulness. Those scars are beautiful. They are a constant reminder of how far we have come, and how thankful I am that she is still here.
20. Liddy has touched people's lives.....but more than that, we (the rest of her family) have too, simply because of how much we love her.
21. A million thank you's will never be sufficient to express how blessed I truly am.
22. There are some questions which I will never know the answer to until the day that I stand in front of my God. I hope that I am living every day in preparation for that moment when He will hopefully say, "Well done, my child, well done."
23. Some of life's greatest gifts can't be wrapped with paper and bows.
24. Expect the unexpected. Embrace the unusual. Look for the tiny miracles that surround us every day.
25. Love without limits. Face hatred and ignorance with unbridled love and infinite understanding. Love can melt the hardest of hearts.
26. Greet each day with a smile.
27. Always take time for cuddles. And thoroughly enjoy slobbery kisses.
28. Never take one day for granted.
29. Never miss a chance to tell those who are important to you how much you appreciate and love them. You can never say I love you too often and you can never show it enough.
30. There is beauty to be found in even the fiercest storm. There is grace and mercy to be found in the darkest hours. There are oases of joy, peace and love to be found in even the driest deserts of our souls.
Tonight, as I sit here in the peacefulness of a silent house, I am more grateful than I have ever been for the road that has led me here....to this place...this moment...with these people I love sleeping soundly just a footstep or two away. I continually say it, but it is the ever present mantra of my heart.
I am so thankful for all of the unanswered prayers which brought me the beautiful baby cuddled up with her daddy tonight.
I would have never dreamed that Down Syndrome would be a part of my life...but I am beyond grateful that it is.
This life, with every mountain and valley, is so much more than I could have ever hoped for......