This morning as Sydney bopped in her Excersaucer I drank my coffee and fiddled around on the internet, catching up on a few blogs that I don't have in my Google reader. Back when I was pregnant and couldn't sleep at night I was in the habit of reading blogs and then blogs that linked to those blogs and it would go ON AND ON FOREVER. One of the blogs I stumbled across was Confessions of a CF Husband. When I first began reading, Nate's wife had just received a double lung transplant … only months after their daughter had been born by emergency c-section several months premature. I wept reading the entries as both Tricia and Gwyneth fought for their lives. It got to the point where I was so distraught after reading Nate's blog that I had to remove it from my updater, and would only check in periodically to see how the family was doing. There are a few other blogs like this for me … most of them deal with pregnancy loss or babies who are sick. When I was pregnant it seemed like a good idea to limit myself when it came to these types of blogs because I was already so anxious about my pregnancy … I'd suffered a miscarriage only four months before getting pregnant with Sydney.
When you start blogging this community begins to form. For Nate, the community of people living with CF, going through a high-risk pregnancy, having a micro-preemie baby, getting organs transplanted, going through cancer (as his wife did after her transplant) is a large one. So many people have had to deal with at least one of those issues in some way. This morning I ended up reading a few blogs about families dealing with gravely ill babies, one of whom recently passed away after spending all 11 months of her life in the NICU.
At that moment I couldn't help but pick up my little girl, who was then happily rolling all over the floor and pushing the Cookie Monster song button on her toy over and over again, and hold her tight. I breathed in her sweet baby smell and smooched all over her face and told her how much I loved her. Later as I rocked her in her room (for our second nap attempt of the morning) with tears rolling down my face I just wept thanking God for her life. There have been so many times when I have had complaints – ahem, PREGNANCY, the crazy birth experience we had, the late nights, the whole "I'm a mom now" identity crisis, how hard it all is sometimes – but today I'm just blessed. It's really all I want to express right now: That I am one of the lucky ones. I am, in fact, the luckiest. I know what a gift it is to have my healthy daughter in my arms, to watch her grow up, to have her in our lives. Everything in me wants to shield her from any heartache or pain she might experience in this life. She is my baby. This world is an ugly, unapologetic place.
Suddenly I understand how my parents felt about me. I understand how God feels about me. The only comfort I have is that the great love I have for this child? Is exponentially less than the God of the universe's love for her.
This weekend my sister-in-law and I were talking about how motherhood makes you into this crazy person who would quite literally kill someone who threatened our children in any way. She told me a story about how she hooked her foot through on her son's stroller so she could check out a sale rack the other day. Suddenly she felt someone pulling on the stroller and she turned around with fists clenched about to GO OFF, only to discover that it was her husband. But this is what parenthood does to us … suddenly there is something that we must protect at all costs. It doesn't matter if we get hurt in the process, if we embarrass ourselves – we could give a CRAP how we look – so long that our children are safe and sound.
If I had the choice, I would easily trade my life for Sydney's. There have been so many times in the last months when I've heard of people's children being kidnapped, getting sick or hurt, the most awful things … and all I can do in those moments is clutch my sweet baby and thank God. What a treasure we've been trusted with. There is nothing more precious to me than this little life.
I guess if you're reading this and you don't have kids you're probably wondering (as I did once) if it's all worth it.
To me, no matter how it turns out, it is. I have learned so much about the limits of my heart. I appreciate every breath. I marvel at things that never seemed all that interesting before. Despite the challenges and the changes in our relationship, I am more in love with my husband than ever before. When my daughter reaches out her arms for me I feel joy that I can't explain. There at times is a stillness and peace in my soul that I didn't know existed. These count as some of the most wonderful days of my life so far.
"Prayers for this child" –Sara Groves
I do not know how I am to pray for this child
as a mother I don't want my baby denied
but in the waiting in the waiting
every instinct in me wants to shield him from pain
take the arrows of misery, heartache and blame
but in the sorrow in the sorrow
I learned to hold on
I only have two eyes – be all seeing
I only have two hands – be everywhere
I do not know enough – to be all knowing
I give this baby up into your care
I do not know how, how to pray for this child
I want to guard her from everything wicked and wild
but in the trial in the trial
I learned to hold on
And in the trial, in the trial
I learned to hold on to the heart of God.