Let me tell ya, it was already shaping up to be the worst day ever. I took Clay to the doctor in the morning for a check-up. As soon as I got into the car I felt a wave of nausea. I drove twenty feet to the gas station where I couldn't even make it out of the car before I was getting sick. And then I proceeded to get sick at the curve. My dress was soaked. I was a crying mess. It wasn't 30 minutes later when Clay did the exact same thing. Let's just say, I was already in survival mode that day. Looking back... of course I was. I am a very intuitive person. I was four hours away from getting life-changing news. I think part of me already knew and my sub-conscious was coming to the surface. When my ultrasound that day took way too long and when the technician didn't say anything... I kind of had a sense of something.
And yet the words hit me like a freight train.
They knocked me off my feet. And I can tell you that I left a part of myself on that doctor's office floor and if I ever returned to that room again, I think I would quietly shut the door and lose myself on that floor again. I would cry for that part of me I left behind. That girl was naive, but guarded. Entitled while incomplete. I feel sad for that girl for she didn't know what she had when she had it. I wish I could have shaken her and said, "You have everything right in front of you to be happy-- truly happy." And when things did not go her way, she was devastated. Let me tell you... I am so glad that part of me was left behind. I got a second chance at my happiness. The process was was ugly and forced and difficult. When I left that room, I was very much broken. There was a gaping hole from the me that was gone...
A year has passed. Today, I let myself become swallowed in emotion as I read and reread our first e-mails to friends and family, our letters to our children before Lilah's birth, our letter to new parents of a little one and Lilah's birth story. There is still pain there for me. Pain in remembering how it felt to hear those words. Pain in the fear of the unknown. Pain in the future suffering we did for her. But mostly, I wince with pain and sorrow for the time where I didn't understand how wonderful this news was for our family.
My doctor said exactly a year ago today, "In one year, you are going to wish nothing was different."
Those words were empty to me then. In my mind, they were borderline offensive. "How is this guy going to tell me how to feel about this?" I couldn't make sense of them and I certainly didn't believe him. In hindsight, I imagine I thought, "Well, I suppose we will get use to the idea and this word will sting less and less each time we hear it." I had NO idea exactly HOW much these words would be a positive influence on our lives. At the time, I could have never imagined that. What has unfolded in the last year has been truly astonishing and nothing short of a miracle. How much we have changed, how other lives have been affected by this sweet girl, how many fabulous people we now have the pleasure to call friends, how she really is moving mountains. It is unreal and everyday, I have moments where I am left in complete awe of the whole situation. One year later... we can proudly (and loudly--we want to shout from the rooftops), "WE WISH NOTHING WAS DIFFERENT!"
I am giddy with life. Seriously giggly and smiley and punch-drunk-love kind of giddy. I am the happiest I have ever been. From a year ago to being pushed off the edge into that dark ravine where I was scared out of my mind and hollering for help, to turning around and having the courage to take steps forward to start the journey of "different than expected," to learning how to be grateful for the journey and finding beauty in the growth along the way, to being so overwhelmingly thankful to God for having the opportunity to go on this journey in the first place. There is so much peace in allowing Him to choose our path for us, accepting our role given to us by Him in this life and loving everything along the way.
At ten-months old Lilah is such a light in our eyes. She is so perfect to us and we are beyond smitten with her. If you were to meet her, first you would notice her eyes. They are like reflecting pools. You can see the world in her eyes; they are so deep, soulful and mesmerizing. Next you would notice her smile. You would think you were special because you made her light up and giggle and grin. I would not tell you that she is like this to everyone. And then you would notice her personality. She has so much spunk and fire and ambition. After being with her for a few minutes, you would already know that she is going to be a leader, do great things and go after what she wants. She is getting ready to take her first steps and in the next couple of months we will get to witness her walking. It's like she's saying to the world, "I got this... don't worry about me."
And while I think I should have been happy all along... it was really her that I needed to be complete. We needed her to find ourselves and although we feel many steps closer to where we are going, we know we have much more in store for the future. Our work is just beginning.
And to you... my family, my friends, my readers, my cheerleaders, my fellow-mamas, my lpa community, my hometown, my new town...you. I think I shed some of my biggest tears for you today. Why on earth you have embraced us like you have, I will never know. The outpouring of love, the additions to our village, the safety net created... you are a part of that. On days where you feel less than worthy...just remember how much of a difference you have made in our lives just by reaching out your arms. You are important. SO important to us.
I still try to take this one day at a time. But, I don't fear the future anymore. I look forward to it. I have her. I have them. I have all I ever need.
God bless you and thank you for being a part of our story. Just by reading you are helping our advocacy to spread awareness to dwarfism. With October being Dwarfism Awareness Month, I will be talking a lot more about this topic coming up. For now, we are grateful for our 365 days of growth and we look forward to celebrating with our hometown this weekend! XOXO
Photography by http://www.michelletiekphotography.com/