Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Unexpected Blessings

"Having a baby changes everything" says a baby commercial and there is so much truth in that statement.

When we first found out that Emma would have some differences the news pretty much rocked our world.  It put us in a spot that was uncomfortable and very much unwelcome.  Our future was unknown.  The only thing we knew was the life we knew and expected would change forever.  For the first year each specialist appointment brought us new information and more and more differences were discovered.  It was a gut wrenching year and some days it felt so lonely.  It was then that I learned about blogs and chat groups and I started to reach out to others.

I remember early on people would share their stories with us.  People with children that have differences - from down syndrome to a mild hearing loss and everything in between.  We didn't know anyone with a child with cerebral palsy until probably a few years into this journey.  But the people we did know seemed to pass along a common message of hope and blessing.  At the time I really thought they were crazy.  How could all these differences be a blessing?  How could having a child that would struggle for even the most minor physical achievement be a blessing?  I didn't understand.  I was angry.  So very, very angry.  At God.  At our circumstance.  With the news that each doctor appointment brought.  With the intrusion from all the therapy appointments that seemed to dictate our daily schedule.  With the stories from people about how X, Y, Z, Q, R, S kids had early intervention and it worked and they were caught up by school years.  I knew that wouldn't be the case for my girl and hearing these stories did not help at all.

Little peanut getting stretched
The early years were hard.  And while each day I fell more and more in love with both my children, I did not see Emma's differences as a blessing.  Nope not even one little bit.  I was angry that my child that I loved more than life itself would have to struggle through her life.  I was angry that Julia wouldn't have the typical sister bond with Emma.  I was angry when we met families with children that had a terminal diagnosis because they shouldn't have to go through the loss of a child.

And after a long time with the anger I finally had to let it go.  I had to move on.  Each day I was seeing this beautiful life unfold before me and there was no time or energy left for anger.  

Walking around the playground
And somehow, sometime in the last six years something changed in me.  I started seeing Emma's differences as a blessing.  I feel blessed to be so lucky to have both my children with all their unique characteristics.  I started to wish everyone had an Emma in their life and I thought of all the people in the world that will never know how totally amazing it is to live our life.  And I mean that - our life is better than anything I could have dreamed.  It might be harder and more physically exhausting (and seriously, I could do without all the health insurance issues!) than I imagined but it is so full of LIFE.  It is so fully of HAPPY.  It is full of friends old and new.  It is a much fuller life than I think we ever would have experienced had Emma not taken us on this journey.

Little girls playing peek-a-boo at the children's museum

I see people looking at us everywhere we go.  Yes, it might have something to do with the fact that we pimp out Emma's wheelchair for all occasions at her insistence - this girl loves attention - but it doesn't always.  Sometimes it's people staring and pitying us and our life.  To them I say, we are not to be pitied.  We are having the time of our life - come and join us!

It's all about the boas, baby!