3 years ago today my life changed in more ways imaginable – ways I never considered possible. Who would have thought that such changes, such inspiration and transformation could come bundled in a tiny 7 lb package with beautiful blue eyes, a small button nose, and such silky flawless skin? It wasn’t a news worthy event that took place, there wasn’t a huge announcement beyond the quiet walls around us, it wouldn’t be talked about by a nation, or a city or even beyond the people in my own life. But this night, will forever be a night burned in my memory, written on the blank and sacred pages of my soul as a night I changed forever. This revolution happened in a quiet hospital room as the silent anticipation to hold my new baby girl was quickly transformed into a fear I had never known before. Our little girl came with something extra –an extra chromosome - Down Syndrome. I felt so inadequate, so alone, so afraid of everything that lay ahead. At that time I felt as though I was suddenly thrust into a life I wasn’t prepared for, wasn’t capable of, a life I simply didn’t want. I would soon come to realize that often times, we may know what we WANT or don’t WANT, but rarely do we truly know what we NEED.
I never would have asked to be a mom educated in the medical field because of the needs of her child; a mom that knows first-hand what a PICC line is or how to work an oximeter. I never would have pictured life as a mom spending countless hours rocking my baby to sleep, keeping beat to the deafening sounds of monitors and machines in a dark and dismal hospital room- praying silently that my fragile little girl be given the strength to fight whatever is ailing her imperfect body, I never would have asked to become versed in the ‘special needs’ world – or know what it feels like to worry so much about every little and big milestone – will she ever eat on her own, will she ever make it out of this hospital, will she ever walk, will she talk, will she be accepted by her peers even though she is different? I would never have asked to fight all the battles that come with a special needs child – a battle for all the little things that I took for granted before I knew this world. I would never have asked to find out how truly strong I am fore the fear of the fight and test was always too overwhelming. I never would have asked for these things that now are a normal part of my everyday life. We are not the sum of these things – we are not defined by our struggles, our problems, our fears, our dark and dreary moments, or even our mistakes. But it is these things that at the end of each day can either separate you, or hold you together. If I was never handed these complex and often difficult things, I wouldn’t know hope, like I do now; that greets me each morning with a smile sweetly reminding me to pick myself up one more time and carry on …I wouldn’t know faith, as it stares me in the face every day, smiles warmly and wraps it’s gentle arms around me every time I feel like giving up. I wouldn’t know gratitude as I have continually thank God for this little girl, these challenges, and these pure joys. I wouldn’t know love, in its purest form, an amazing little girl with big blue eyes, honey colored hair, unconditional love and the spirit of a warrior. I wouldn’t know the sweetest and most valued things in this world, because I wouldn’t know anything beyond myself.
It is true that we never know how strong we really are, until being strong is the only choice we have. This day, the day I met my little girl, it was the only choice to make – to fight the battles, to pick myself up time and time again, even when all hope seemed loss and every road around me seemed dark and long, when my legs were heavy and my spirit broken…when determination was cloaked in fear and exhaustion had set in. The only thing I could do was to dive deep within myself to the parts I never knew existed – simply because I never trusted myself enough to look for them. It was a choice, inspired by the perfect eyes of a little angel to find the courage to walk on, to look for that small light of hope and hold on tight; to celebrate the small, simple, blissful moments I took for granted once before; to watch her in complete awe and adoration every day and realize she doesn’t have a thing to learn on this earth – it is the rest of us that have so much to learn from her.
This day three years ago, and every day since, I have been inspired, moved to be a better version of myself. There are times, many times, that I fall short; times I forget the things she has taught me. However, with every sweet smile, or simple little glance…with every struggle I watch her overcome and every determination I see radiate from her sweet little stature, I am graciously reminded who I should be, what I need to strive for and why. I am a better person because of her, I am stronger because of her, I am blessed because of her – my little princess, my perfect angel, my little girl – Preslie…who today we celebrate…everything about her, we celebrate! Happy 3rd Birthday Princess P!
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