This week has been an interesting one for me......one that has seen me walking back through a whole lot of memories of the last almost 16 months, reviewing them all carefully and even shedding a tear or two.
Monday morning brought with it pictures of a brand new member of this little Ds club, which reminded me of that first moment I laid eyes on my own sweet girl. Happy memories of a tiny baby that I spent months dreaming of, worrying over, and impatiently waiting to kiss, finally snuggled in my arms like she'd been there all along. My princess. And looking at those pictures of baby Wes, I cried with happiness for his mama, knowing exactly how amazing this journey is going to be for her.
Monday morning also brought hours upon hours of conversation with God on behalf of a baby girl who has already been through a whole lot, one who was finally undergoing the surgery which would repair her broken heart. I find that with every prayer, I relive those scary, seemingly endless 15 days of our own hospital stay. In my mind, I walk back through the paralyzing fear, the helplessness, the uncertainty brought by hours of waiting, the tears, the smiles, the relief, the joy of finally having made it through to the other side. And as I prayed for Shilo's healing, for the end to this harrowing detour the Mann family has been forced to endure, I cried with empathy, knowing how it feels to stand in her mama's shoes, scared to death and ready to have it all behind you all at the same time.
These periods of trials and tribulations in our life seem like a lifetime ago on any usual day. My days are filled with a happy, smiling angel who laughs, who chatters away, who seems to learn something new with each new day's dawning. But in reality, the memories of two of the biggest, life changing events that have happened in my 34 years are always there, right below the surface, waiting to be revisited again and again. And it all just reinforces how very far we have come in what seems a relatively short time.
After all, it wasn't so long ago that Down syndrome was the very worst thing I could imagine for my unborn baby. Now I know that it's not. Instead, it has become something I am thankful for every day. It wasn't so long ago that I truly believed I wasn't cut out to be Lydia's mama. Now I know that it was what I was born to do. It wasn't so long ago that I thought that I wasn't nearly strong enough to make it through handing her over for open heart surgery. Now I know that there is more strength and faith in me than I could have ever dreamed. It wasn't that long ago that I thought that having this baby would be the end of my dreams. Little did I know that those dreams are bigger now than they ever were before, and that she would be more of an inspiration for achieving those dreams than anything or anyone else in my life before. It wasn't so long ago that my worries were that she wouldn't walk, she wouldn't talk, that she's never reach a time when she could be completely independent. HA.
While I can't foresee what the future may have in store, I know that, judging by the past, we have a lot more surprises in store for us. And no matter how hard it sometimes is (and what an emotional endeavor as well) to walk back through all the emotions of days gone by, I find it is therapeutic. The heart wrenching pain of those first dark days fades away a little more with each passing day and although I hope that I never truly forget what it feels like to stand in the shoes of someone facing the journey we have traveled so far, I look forward to the day that the sting is not so sharp and the tears are not so near the surface.
Looking at this face
makes it pretty easy to forget all of the doubts and all of the fears.