Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Sixteen Years Ago I Found My Calling

It didn't go the way I imagined it would. I had spent months... no years, envisioning the day that I would become a mother. He was the first grandchild on both sides and the anticipation for his arrival was immeasurable. We had been doing all of the typical planning and preparation that couples do prior to the big day. There was the usual building up of excitement for the pending debut of this little buddle of joy, but this child had some added pressure.

His paternal grandmother had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and began her aggressive treatment two days before he decided to make his grand entrance. This would be the much needed distraction and blessing we had needed in the midst of that difficult time. But as if that wasn't enough... he also decided to arrive on a very special day, the birthday of my sister, Theresa.

Theresa, was a special blessing herself, but one that we only got to hold on to for a very short time. My sweet little sister was born with a congenital heart condition which limited her life to only eighteen short months here on earth with us. It was a special gift to have my first little one share her birthday but we soon found out that they would share more than just a special day,

It was a long difficult delivery but that all instantly disappeared the moment I held him for the first time. My joy must have cast a shadow over any looming concerns that the medical staff may have had upon his arrival. This sweet boy, named after his father, was perfect... at least through the focus of my eyes.

It wasn't long before we were made aware of the medical teams concerns, "His heart isn't pumping fast enough and we aren't sure why." Those words came across my mind in slow motion as I looked at the caring hand of my nurse, now resting on mine. Suddenly, the reality of my current moment and my parents' past journey with my little sister, came colliding together.

This child was supposed to be the bridge between the pain of the past and the healing of today. Born on her birthday. A tribute of her life in the form of a beautiful gift of this brand new life.

 Her heart. His heart?

There couldn't have been a more difficult statement to hear in that moment.

Those first days of his birth were not the ones I had envisioned. I wasn't supposed to see somber faces looking at my child, I wasn't supposed to be crying tears of fear for his life, and I wasn't supposed to leave the hospital without a newborn. For the first time in my life I understood the depths of a parent's heart and the extent of what they would go to in order to protect their child.

But what I remember most from that time of uncertainty was the comfort I found in my husband and his words of faith which carried me through those days. His reassurance that we could do hard things with the hope of our God and His promise to lead us through the valleys.

It was the first time in my life when my faith was tested to the core. God did not leave us nor forsake us during that time.

In all of the confusion of those days one things stood true and unclouded, this child was mine. The love that poured out of me was something I didn't even know was possible. The instinct to care, love and protect this little child was the driving force for every breath I took from the moment he was born.

This is not the beginning that I would have chosen for him, but it is the one we were given. Although, I can't say the fearful memories of those days have faded, I can say that my clearest memories are of the faith, hope and love that surround us during those days.

That same heart that was once deemed broken now holds more love and compassion than I have ever seen in someone so young. His generosity and concern for others is contagious, you can't think of him and not smile. His spunk, humor, and sheer presences leaves you feeling better for having spent time with him. I am so blessed to have been chosen to be his mother and have a front row seat to watch him grow and bloom into the incredible young man he is today.

Sixteen years of having the privilege of being on this amazing journey with my sweet boy.

Todd Christopher, thank you for making my dreams come true by giving me the name, mommy. I am so amazed by the wonder of your incredible imagination, your ability to create joy where there was none, and your deep compassion for the forgotten. You are smart, kind and energetic. I know you will someday move mountains. I can't wait to see what God does with the beautiful light that shines through you. Happy 16th birthday sweet boy, I love you to the moon and back.

Happy Birthday to you as well little sister. One day will be untied again in paradise.

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