Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My right hand. My heart.

Even though the ultrasound led us to believe we were having at least ONE girl, after delivering Benjamin and Mason, my doctor leaned over the drape and said "Well, Carol, you may have three boys."

I had been frozen in my fear for these babies being born too early. I had been silent through the entire delivery (so unusual was my silence that it alone was scaring my husband to death) but with that comment I had to respond. I grabbed Wade's hand tighter and said:

"Tell them to keep looking until they find my girl. I know she is in there."

Everyone was chuckling at me as they delivered a beautiful 2 pound and 8 ounce little girl next!

My precious Claire Elisabeth.

Sweet baby girl scared us in the NICU repeatedly. She had so many worries that the doctors kept her medicated and sleeping most of the time. 

When it was obvious that the babies would not all leave the hospital at the same time, I asked the doctors to please not leave ONE baby there alone. I was not sure how I would balance two babies at home and one in the hospital. They agreed to send Mason and Claire home together -- Benjamin was my healthy big guy and came home two weeks before the others.

But alas, on the day Mason and Claire were to be released, Mason got sick. He would have to stay. I was devastated. Cried all morning. And so began this beautiful girl's ride as part of our family. We celebrated her homecoming while weeping over her brother.

Three short years later, when we arrived for the preschool entrance interview, the teachers asked me if she dressed herself. I shook my head that no she didn't. They asked if she could. I shook my head, I had no idea. I had never let her try. I dressed one, two, three. I put shoes on one, two, three. I fed one, two, three. (And God bless her little heart, she was always "three"....because she was the one that did not fuss to eat or anything else...she was my angel baby!)

When I went for the first parent-teacher conference in preschool, I was eager to report that she could in fact dress herself. I was certain their reports would be equally glowing for my three. But these dear teachers sat me down and explained that Claire was not very good at sharing. I was completely indignant. Really. How absurd. This child had been sharing since she was in the womb. What could they mean. Dear teachers explained that she sat with her legs outstretched in front of her brothers and kept all the toys they were playing with between her legs so that no one else could take them.

Oh my goodness, sweet girl knew her brothers could not "chase" after the toys they wanted to play with. She was totally protecting them so they could play. I assured dear teachers that she would NOT be reprimanded for taking care of her brothers. Ever.

And yet, I worried about her little heart. Did she understand that I adored her? That I loved her as much as I loved her brothers? That just because I had to take them to therapies, doctor's appointments and discuss their treatment plans more often than I had to focus on her didn't mean I didn't WANT to focus on her as much. Oh, did she understand??

Could she possibly comprehend that even though she had to walk while I carried at least one of her brothers, or pushed them in a stroller, that I knew she was also still my sweet baby? Did she get it? Would she grow to resent them? Me?

A wise dear friend heard my concerns and gave me firm wisdom. She said, "God's plan for Claire was to be the triplet sister to two brothers with Cerebral Palsy just as His plan for the boys was to have Cerebral Palsy. He will use this."

Oh. That became my prayer. Please Lord, use this in her life.

Celebrating the birth of these three with a "Come as your favorite book/move character"...Claire and I as Laura and Ma from "Little House"!

When she got in trouble for telling her class mates they could not swing on the "accessible" swing at school because Benjamin might need it, I prayed.

When the boys were given special treatment at church camp while she was struggling to find her place there, I prayed.

When the teacher told her she felt sorry for Claire because she was the triplet sister...oh, I prayed!

And when the teacher's aide told her she was a loser for trying to help her brothers so much, I really really prayed. (And reprimanded said aide.)

And when I was stretched thin with worry and concern over this surgery or that medical procedure, this appointment and that pain one of the boy's had and took the stress out on my girl with my snappy mouth and harsh tone, I prayed. And cried. And lay in bed at night wishing with all my heart for a do-over. Wanting to go scoop her up and beg her to forgive me and to understand. Oh, to please understand.

Me and my TWO girls...God blesses.

Today, that beautiful little girl who protected her brothers' toys in preschool is 16. She's just as lovely. Just as kind. And yes, even just as protective.

And do you know what? She has a servant's heart that astounds me. She is passionate about serving with Special Ministries at our church -- working with the Super Kids program, meeting the needs of some very special little kiddos; and interpreting through sign language during the Special Ministries' adult Bible Study each week. 

Her talents amaze. Her love of the Lord blesses me. And her attitude of service astounds me.

She is my right hand. I could not homeschool without her help. I could not write without her help. I could not do the myriad of appointments, therapies and meet the daily needs of my amazing boys without her help. She is a gift from God.

I am so grateful that God heard -- and continues to hear -- my prayer for this girl. What a blessing to be on the front lines, cheering for her as I watch how God is growing her, how He is using her and where He will lead her life!!

Thank you, God, for choosing me to be her Mom!


AZ Chapman said...

C sounds amazing hope to meet u all one day

Hoekzema said...

Happy sweet 16 Claire and boys! I loved this post. What a great Mommy/daughter share. LOVED the pic as the Ingalls. Ainsley and I are just finishing the first book together. What fun to share that with each other.

Messy Mom said...

Even though I only have one special needs daughter I have felt this kind of guilt over my son. He is 5 and a half, his sister is 3 and deaf, and his baby brother is 6 months. This puts a lot of weight on his shoulders because he is the only one I can "expect to hear me" or help me out. It looks like you've balanced it all well and good for you for standing your ground with those teachers!

K said...

Oh my goodness, I love this post. Claire is AWESOME, enough said. Truly amazing.