Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Miracles and Wonders

{I have struggled with posting this for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that human language doesn't begin to cover the way I feel about my children. But I also want to be certain I am sensitive to other parents. I have friends who have dealt with the devastation of infertility, friends whose children grew in the wombs of other women, friends whose children have learning disabilities, friends whose children have special needs, friends whose children will always be children in a sense and a friend whose child may never make it into adulthood. I cannot imagine the journeys they are walking, but I see in each of those lives a miracle, a place that can be filled only by them and a world that is richer for their presence.}

Having babies was not the simple thing for me that it should have been, or that I at least thought it should have been. This isn't really a post about that, but it is useful background information.

In August of 1994, Little Runner Girl made her surprise debut, ten weeks ahead of schedule. {I have typed and retyped for the past 15 minutes and realized I am still not capable of talking about that time without crying. So I will just skip it.}

One of the complications of prematurity that Little Runner Girl suffered was a brain hemorrhage. This isn't unusual in preemies and it has a particular name (that I can't remember) that is usually shortened to initials. [In fact, nearly everything involving preemies is shortened to a set of initials. I don't know why. To save doctors from hearing parents mispronounce Latin? To make the words as small as the babies? To not freak the parents out anymore than they are already completely freaked out?] As brain hemorrhages go, it was fairly minor. One learns quickly in the NICU to be thankful for the minor version of the Very Scary Thing, because it could be oh-so-much worse. Still, it was a brain hemorrhage. Bleeding! In her brain! Aaaaagh!

One of Little Runner Girl's doctors told me that if she had any problems or complications due to the bleeding, they might not be apparent until she was older.

Life with a preemie is one long series of worries, especially early on and there were certainly more urgent problems facing my baby during her toddler and preschool years than her future GPA. I was semi-obsessive about checking her development even after the pediatrician felt she was progressing nicely. Even so, I never realized that I had been holding my metaphorical breath until the first time she took a standardized test. And I was blown away by the results.

The Saint swears she has reverse brain damage. She received national recognition for her score on the ACT test in 7th grade. Her standardized test scores are wildly above average for her age. And today, as we sat watching, our baby girl was named salutatorian of her 8th grade grade class. I think she is a miracle. I know, I know...I'm her mother and I am supposed to think that, but I really, really do think so. Not only have my worst fears not materialized, my wildest dreams for her are coming true. And I am so very, very thankful. And I'm proud, but not in a "look what I did" kind of way. Because I had nothing to do with this. We were given a gift, one we certainly did not deserve. In fact, I know other parents far more deserving of such a gift. There are no words to describe how blessed I feel to be chosen as this child's mother.

And here is the most important thing, despite the fact the Little Runner girl is being awarded for her intellect. In my heart of hearts, I always wanted my kids to be smart. I couldn't imagine it not mattering to me. But here is what I learned during those hours by the isolette, those hours of praying please, please, please just let her live I don't care if she can't ever walk, I don't care if she can never say Mama, just please, please, please don't take her from me. Nothing in the world will rearrange your priorities as quickly as not knowing whether your baby will live or die. I learned that none of the things I thought were important mattered. Smart or not, strong or not, good at school or struggling, running or never even walking...I loved her. I loved her then, I love her now and I will love her always, no matter what and completely beyond all reason. And I know that is easy for me to say from this side of that hill, but it truly is what is in my heart, the one I'm wearing on my sleeve.

Enjoy the children in your life, hug your babies if you can. They are all Miracles and Wonders.

1 comment:

Keith said...

Angel, this made me cry. I'm sure you know how lucky you are to have such a wonderful family. Don't forget how very lucky they are to have such a wonderful wife and mother.