I squeezed your father’s hand six years ago, willing the baby on the ultrasound screen to be healthy. Willing God to take the organs that were in the wrong places and put them right, a live human baby puzzle.
Willing the doctor to stop talking so I could catch my breath and blink my eyes and not be in that ugly gray room.
The grass grows between the panes of sidewalk. I see you in my peripheral vision, pink dress and ponytails. I relish you.
I remember when the doctor got so close to my face and told me you would die. I couldn’t breathe. I imagined not getting to see you inhale that first gush of sterile hospital air, limbs turning pink and your dad grinning at the miracle.
I wondered what it would be like to bury you, to never watch you build a snowman.
I wondered how my hands would feel, empty, on what should have been your first day of kindergarten.
God had always been there for me, a force not easily reckoned with, a force best left on the shelf. That shelf was obliterated, the need for Him so great, when we learned you were sick.
We near the school. I push something down, down underneath the same heart that hovered over you as you grew in my womb. I’m not sure what it is; I only know it is something that needs to be understood.
You had your first operation when you were 23 hours old. You’ve had four since, and you always face them with bravery and determination.
The front of the school comes into view and the tears quietly gather in the corners of my eyes. I remember that I was too rushed this morning to bother with makeup. For that I am grateful. Time, like anything fluid, can make us bitter. And on days like today, if we choose to let it, it can make us feel nothing but gratitude.
We stand outside the school and you wither a bit against me, watching the older children. They seem so resolute and confident. I know you sense it, too.
Today I know you are feeling what I feel most of the time. Parenting is such a lesson in trusting God because oftentimes I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing. Like you, I put one step in front of the other. Like your new school, whatever I’m fearing comes closer into view. I pray, stepping nearer all the while, hoping like heck that God will carry me over whatever mountain He’s placed in my path.
From the moment you were conceived, God knew He would use you to change my heart. It has changed, sweet girl. The trials that have come along with raising a child with special needs have been hard.
Three more miscarriages in a one-year period have been brutal. And yet, these things have placed your dad and I on the road to foster adoption. I am scared, we are scared. But nothing this great comes easy. That road, I know, will lead us to you and Asher’s little brother or sister.
The grin on my face threatens to split my cheeks as we stand at the door to your kindergarten classroom and I can’t help but thank a God who, in His infinite wisdom, decided that your story was not over.
Watching you, I know what I am feeling. A thankfulness, and a knowing.
Because watching you, I know something else:
My story is not over, either.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
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