I put my blinker on and switched lanes, gently slowing down the car. As the car rounded the curve of the ramp, my mind, my body was flooded with memories. If I looked left there were the restaurants that we ate at, there was the place that we got our haircuts, there was the Kohl's that we shopped at, there was the Y that taught my girls dance and swimming; there was a piece of our life that came so unexpected. If I continued right there was the school and the church that became such a big part of our lives and there was the hospital that would forever have changed us. It seemed so familiar but so so distant.
As I pushed backed tears and continued to drive I felt lost in a place that was way to familiar to me. It has been some time since we have been at the hospital and I was not prepared for this rush of emotions. I was not prepared to see my sleeping beauty in the back and just be brought to my knees by these memories. Memories that were so familiar but yet so unfamiliar to me. Something that was so easy to describe but yet I could not put into words what I was thinking.
This is the place that I would learn that my sweet child would be born with an extra 21st Chromosome. This is the place that I would find out that my sweet child would have some extreme medical complications. This is the place that I would experience some of the worst pain of my lifetime, but also experience the biggest faith-high ever. This is the place that my family would call home for over five months. This is the place that some how we would learn how to come a strong family unit. This is the place that I would learn how to fight, how to live on faith, how to surrender all control to my Father. This is a place that I drove in thinking I had it all figured out and I drove out a completely different person.
Isn't life a lot like that? I think back to the time when we received the news about Lydia having Down Syndrome. I think about the poem Welcome to Holland that was given to me in hopes this would bring me some peace or understanding. I think about all of the detours life gives us. Why is it so hard to accept things that are different than our ideal? But don't we accept them every day? For this life is not ours; these plans are not ours. Yet, this prenatal diagnosis seems so difficult for so many. The road less traveled is such a scary place. The idea of change is frightful. Having to deal with something that we are unfamiliar with is paralyzing.
Yet, as these thoughts came and went, I couldn't help but be overcome with gratitude. To think where we were at and where we are now is nothing short of a miracle. To think about how much we have changed and how hard we have fought, how much we have grown and the people we have turned into. I see this life that God has given to us and I am once again overwhelmed with emotions. I am flooded with thoughts of thankfulness and hopefulness. I am thankful that God chose me to experience this, as hard as it has been, is, and will continue to be. I am given a surge of hope that we can do this, look at where we are and this sweet sweet life. How amazing.
As scary as the road is that we face to travel, God will carry us, He will bring us through, and we will be blessed by it. Through all of the pain and suffering that we endured with her, there is so much joy and thankfulness now. There is a new perspective that has been given, there are changed hearts, increased faith, renewed relationships, strengthened relationships, new relationships, a new understanding of life; how precious it really is. We all are given a journey, a story to write. Many times it is scary and full of pain and suffering. However, God will work all of that out to our glory and He will bless us if we rely on Him. If we surrender what we have and let Him, we can better accept our journey and experience life in a whole new way.
My feelings are still all over the place, but to me they are a little more clear. I am in that state where everything is so familiar, I see the same halls that I walked two and a half years ago with pain running in my eyes, fear in my soul, and arms broken because they were not holding my daughter. I walked to the Ronald McDonald House, to my new home, and I embraced my daughters with my arms, but my heart was aching for Lydia, longing for us to be together. I see the doctors who poured out their souls and heart to save my daughter's life and sat with me as I cried in anger and fear. I see the places we ate, the places that helped, and the people who gave all so our family could have some kind of "normalcy."
Yet today I look at these hallways with hope and survival. My daughter runs down the ramp of the Skyway, saying hi to people, yelling and laughing. She is bringing joy and hope to that mom who walks with pain in her eyes, fear in her soul, and arms who long to hold her child. The Ronald McDonald House will always be our home, it will be part of us. Because of them we are the family we are today. Those walls are no longer for hiding and crying, but for rejoicing and celebrating, for sharing stories of survival. Those doctors and nurses who sat with Lydia, who were given the wisdom and knowledge to save our daughter are smiling and laughing as they see her run through the entrance of the hospital. They are in as much shock as we are about where she is today.
I wish there was an insight mom's who are just beginning this journey could have, knowing that all of the pain and suffering will never make sense, but you will get to a place of joy and happiness. Not all are success stories as Lydia's was, but God has amazing plans, we will not understand, but He will work them for our good AND will bless us. None of our life turns out the way we want. I never thought that my marriage would look like this, that we would have to endure what we have, but I never imagined I would have such an amazing guy who treats me like a queen and is an amazing father. I never thought I would have children, much less three beautiful girls. I never would have thought I would be a stay at home mom, but God has away of working things out far better than what we expect or dream.
I guess I really don't have a point to this post, but I wanted to share some of my feelings. Such an amazing place to be right now. I am so amazed at our journey and how simply amazing Lydia is. NOTHING could have prepared me for this life, but I would never give it up. Even on the hardest of days, I thank God for my family, our journey and for teaching me lessons only Lydia could have taught me.