Monday, March 11, 2013

Its Great to be 8!

Most Saturday mornings, I walk with a couple of my good friends, as a therapeutic outlet.  We walk up to seven miles each week.  Two weeks ago, one of my friends asked me questions about Marissa's birth and her stay afterwards in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  Going back to those moments is very bittersweet for me.  As I recall them, I noticed that my pace picked up quite a bit.  Its very emotional to talk about because in some ways it is very surreal.  So last night, at "lay" time with Marissa (the time where we read a story or talk) I decided to bring out her photo book of those days and began to tell her the story of her life.   

As I flipped through the pages, I could recall the feelings of sitting there helpless, hopeless and confused.  I remember thinking that this was not the way this was supposed to happen.  I was supposed to hold her, feed her and take her home.  I was not at all prepared for what I was going to learn.  All of a sudden the language was different.  I didn't pay any attention in science in school.  I didn't know what they were saying or describing.  I was lost in this land.  

Then I got to the picture of the helicopter that flew Marissa to UVA.  The helicopter that essentially saved Marissa's life.  I clearly can recall the doctor saying, "I have grave concern for your daughter".  We thought she was going to die.  After we had been at UVA a couple of days and more and more diagnosis were piled on top of the other diagnosis, the doctor that had been treating her said, "we just need to get her to age 1".  This became our primary goal, to get her to her 1st birthday.  

So here we are celebrating her 8th birthday.  Each year, we have a party to celebrate her life.  I don't know if it will be her last, so we try to do it up big.   Of course, none of us do, but with her the risk is always a little bit higher.   This year we noticed that she seemed to be a little bit more into the celebration.  Although today when her class sang "Happy Birthday" to her, she began to cry.  She doesn't understand what all of the fuss is about.  She has no idea just how special she truly is to everyone. 

 A lot of times, I get from people, "God knew what He was doing when He gave her to you".  But the truth of the matter is that I need her more then she will ever need me.  Sure it can be tough.  I don't like to be hit and I could honestly do without any of the meltdowns.   But, I know from her the value of life.  I know how important it is to get an "I love you" from your child that you though would never talk.  Or to get a hug from her, because at the moment she wanted to hug you.  But, the bottom line is that she was the desire of my heart.  When I got pregnant, I thought it was going to be all rosy and happy.  I thought I'd have the shopping companion and one day when she was an adult, I could be her best friend.  But, as I sit writing this, I know that I will be her caregiver forever.  And in the brief moments, where its like she is "normal", I know that God is giving me a smile and telling me to forge on.  

And so I say, its Great to be 8!  And next year I hope it will be, its Fine to be 9!