Dreams, Dolls, Death & Daughters.

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“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” ~ Psalm61:2

    When I was young I dreamed about having a family of my own.

     Like any little girl, I spent hours wondering what my husband would like, and what my children  names would be as I dressed plastic dolls in lace dresses and carried them around so (un)carefully in my arms. 

    Those young days playing dolls, stuffing my shirts for pregnant tummys, and watching mothers push strollers around the park are what shaped my idea of what a mommy was. 

Cute. Fun. Perfect.

    All words I would have used to describe motherhood back then. Naively unaware of the sleepless nights, illness, and dangers of this world that comes along with the job title. 

   Years later as I sat in a pink hospital chair while breathless hours turned my perfectly pink, chubby, and bright brown eyed little girl into a cold, blue, expressionless being my mind was unable to grasp the reality of what being a mother now truly meant.

 After all I had failed at my biggest job of what being a mom entailed,… keeping my child healthy and alive.

    My sweet little childhood dreams had turned into a complete nightmare in the matter of a mere moment and It broke me so completely that I now felt unprepared for life…motherhood……or even my next breath.

     In all those years of playing, never once can I recall playing mommy to the dead. Not one time do I remember pretending to breathe life into the breathless, or bury my sweet cherished newly gifted doll in to the hard cold ground to never see again.

Because to the world it is “unnatural”…regardless of the one in four women who are faced with this reality every single day.

     This morning as I watched my four year old stuff her pj’s with a furry pink unicorn…..as I saw her face light up as she looked down at her swollen little belly….and as I listened to her giggle as she walked around my room with hands wrapped cherishing around her “unborn”…..I couldn’t help but feel a sense of fear for the life ahead of her.

The unknown. 

     Then I was reminded that I have no more control over my childrens life as I do my own but that someone who loves them and cherishs them….who created them, the someone greater and so much bigger than me does.

 I want my daughters to dream. 

     I want them to dream bigger than me. I want them to strive for those dreams, I want them to follow them as far as the road allow…but I want them to know that Gods are bigger. I want them to be able to let theirs go when he has other plans.

    I want my children to be protected from the dangers, illnesses, and tragedies of this world. I want them to be free from fear, from death, and  from suffering.

That would be my perfect dream.

……but I know that this would be impossible.

    So instead of fearing the dissipation of the perfect life I want so desperately for them, my  job is to lead them to “the rock that is higher than I.”

    My greatest job as a mother is to prepare them for life not with the ways of the world but by the ways of the word. It is to show them a faith and a God that they can hope in when hopelessness hits. It is to allow Gods love to be revealed to them in whichever way he sees fit…and to teach them to trust that through him there is life after death.

    My job is to show them that there is so much more to this life than what I can provide. That I am not number one, that each other is not number one, and that their spouses and children should not be either. 

    Although I hope that they never have to walk the same paths as me, I am desperate for them to be so much more prepared than I was. 

  …..  So that if one day they awake to find that their dolls and dreams have been replaced with daughters and death, they are able to remain standing in a world that without faith would tear them apart.

Because whether in parenting the breathing,

….or the breathless. 

    There is one dream for each one of them that I will strive for every single day until my……. or their very last breath;

A never-ending love for Jesus, and an everlasting life.

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To My Sister-In-Law…

 

For the past eight years I’ve watched you.

    I’ve stood in the hospital room waiting while he was extracted from his safe and protected place inside of your body, and I’ve sang along loudly to Happy Birthday as his eighth birthday cake was recently placed in front of him. 

    I listened when you told us he may never speak, and noticed as you both became frustrated with his inability to communicate at times. I watched him struggle and succeed,stumble and overcome….as time and age unmasked his “disabilities” to the big wide world all the more.

I tried to place my self in your shoes.

I tried to have it all figured out.

But truth is…. I never truly understood.

…..and I am sorry.

     I am sorry for the times I criticized your parenting because it wasn’t my own. I am sorry for the times I didn’t check in when you were left feeling defeated, alone, or not enough, and I apologize when your family was uninvited from activities that I thought would overstimulate him without thinking about whether or not that un-invite would instead cause  feelings of isolation for you.

I never meant to hurt you.

I just didn’t get it.

      It wasn’t until I lost my two girls that I was able to understand just how much the world is unable to see behind closed doors. 

      I didn’t take the time to think that your smiling face at the playground was masking the total exhaustion of caring for your sweet boy all by yourself while your husband worked away. That a morning of tea, talk, and laughter was the extent of your social life for the next seven days, and I never understood that you were dealing with your own denials, grief, guilt, and fears for your family’s future.

So this Autism Awareness month (and all year long) i’ll continue to celebrate him.

      I’ll celebrate that laugh that comes from way down deep in his belly…..the one that can’t help but brighten my day. I will embrace him as he climbs on my lap to cuddle, and I will light up as those little silent lips of his kiss my cheek each time we say goodbye. 

But that’s not all of it. 

I will also celebrate you.

      I will celebrate that God choose you to mother him, to love him, and to protect him……. I will be inspired as you take such a life changing diagnosis and exchange your old dreams and expectations for new ones, and i’ll watch in awe as you continue to fight for him and be his voice in a world that doesn’t always seem fair.

    I will never know what it is truly like to have a child with autism…but through you I have been able to get just a microscopic glimpse in to your challenging, exhausting, and BEAUTIFUL world.

So to someone who doesn’t get told this enough.

Thank you.

    For loving unconditionally, for continuing to persevere through the unknown, and for being a voice of positivity and acceptance in this world even when you feel you have no idea what you are doing or if you have the energy left for the next challenge along the way.

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You got this Mama.

You are doing an amazing job!