Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My firstborn

As I looked around the sanctuary Sunday night during church I noticed the number of first time moms holding there babies & remembered my first year as a new mom...

If you're a new mom you know how your heart swells with so much love for that little person that somehow miraculously grew inside of you until all in one day came out into your arms.  That little one changes your world.  All your hopes & dreams are somehow wrapped up into that little body for some time.  You don't really pay attention to the outside world while you get used to the idea that this little life is totally dependent on you.  You couldn't love or want to protect anything more.  Somehow as a mom you are forever changed into a "mother bear".  You would do anything to ensure that child's protection & happiness.

You find yourself bouncing or swaying around the house instead of sitting or standing.  You get up in the middle of the night- often several times.  You feel the need to "check" the baby even during naps or in the middle of the night.  You can feed & change the baby without opening your eyes.  You feel the need to wrap up all activities by eight o'clock (for the baby, of course).  You all of a sudden become aware of other babies- everywhere!  You find yourself checking out of the adult clothing section & into the baby one.  You fight the urge to "invest" in every new "development" toy.  You start reading Parenting magazines instead of Style or People magazines.

I had so many dreams for that first little girl they laid in my arms.  I saw playgroups, birthday parties, picnics, playgrounds, shopping trips, mother/daughter events, graduation, weddings, and one day grandchildren.  Just so you can see the world through the eyes of a mom of a child with special needs, I will go on.  Not for you to pity me, but for you to see into someone else's world.  To step out of yours for a moment & visit theirs... mine.  To be honest my heart skips a beat as I type.  My fingers are cold.  I fight off tears as I relive those moments in time as I fought through the loss of my dreams for my little girl... my firstborn.  I realized last week that I needed to share those moments because they've never been spoken.  I hid my hurts deep during those first few years because I didn't have the tools to process their implications.

I was so crippled by my dreams shattering around me that I could do barely more than survive from day to day.  Once the slew of specialist appointments started & the therapies were set, I flew from one place to the next.  I became the "fix-it" mom.  I figured that if I did everything right I could fix her.  I could help her catch up to the peers that were flying by her.  I could will her to do what they wanted her to do.  I would give her my strength.  Even during our "down" time I would hold her in a standing position as she played to strengthen her legs or do endless signs in hopes that she would start communicating in some way.

I realized I couldn't "fix" her & it devastated me.  I couldn't make or will her to do anything.  She was who she was & it was out of my hands.  All my hopes & dreams for her were gone.  I had a child who might never walk or talk.  She would go through life struggling all the way.  Every skill she gained would be the result tireless efforts from us & trained professionals.

 I would no longer blend into the scenery, but would be a spectacle wherever I went.  My little girl was stared at all the time.  After nine years I am used to it.  I am okay with all the questions.  I actually prefer questions to  stares.  I like to talk about it because the more I talk the less others who don't like to will have to.  It also makes my life a reality instead of a pawn in a poor game.  I sometimes cannot believe the things we deal with & the decisions we have to make, so I share them in hopes of processing them in a healthier manner than denial (I've been there & it's not a nice place to be).  I've since had two more beautiful girls who the Lord has blessed me with.  I know the reality of many of my hopes & dreams for them.  I get to live the life I once mourned.  Sure, there is always a twist in that normalcy that is completely abnormal, but we get to be a part of it all the same.

If you've read my past blogs you know of the blessings of Abby.  She's far being identified by all the pain. She's actually quite the opposite.  Her life has transformed ours.  We're different because she's in it.  We're better just by knowing her.  What power her life has to change ours without her even trying or for that matter noticing.  Just because we didn't get what we expected doesn't mean that He can't do, "...Exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ask or imagine."  You cannot fully appreciate the sunrise unless you experience the darkness. Our dark is pretty dark & remains or visits more often & longer than I would like, but when the sun breaks in through the all too rarely seen smile... there are no words.

2 comments:

  1. As always, so well put. You have a lot of wisdom and grace, and it does my heart good. Thanks for letting us see the realness of your life.

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  2. Thank you for the honesty and the beautiful pictures of your Abby. I more often look and see and smile and pray for those children and parents with disabilities because of you sharing your heart. Thank you.

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