Thursday, April 28, 2016

Trying to stay in my dugout.

Little Red had a hard softball game last night -- the league's only two undefeated teams battling it out. After three innings of the grown up in charge of the opposing team behaving in a questionable manner, and players (said coach's daughter, go figure) being completely horrible, our little dug out began to buzz. It was only minutes before cute little girls began streaming out of the dugout to find their moms with the complaint of,"They are cheating! It's not fair!!!"

My own little player is competitive from her red ponytail to her painted toenails and was probably the loudest of the bunch....I hugged her hard and told her to take it out on the ball before sending her back to the dugout.

Cute Firecrackers!!

All I could think was how desperately I didn't want her to know yet that life is often not "fair"....and even as I thought it I wondered how many times I have come running from my own dugout in the last 19 years or so to scream at God, "Wait! This is not how it is supposed to happen! THIS is not FAIR!"

If you've been here long you know that my three came into the world far far too early and that these itty bitty babies have had to fight hard from their very first breath. 

Claire was my sickest one in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Doctors battled to keep her heart rate regulated. Nurses fought to monitor every change and keep her on a steady path. But still, she came home on very scary meds and her future looked bleak and dark and scary. 

Mason was the smallest at birth -- barely 2 pounds. Doctors cautioned us on how fragile his life was in those early hours. I wasn't allowed to hold him for the first few days. We named him after my daddy and I sat by his little NICU isolette and told him stories about the amazing man his namesake was and how he had to fight hard so he could live up to the name.

Benjamin was about to celebrate his very first birthday the day Dr. Terrible-Bedside-Manner looked at us and said, "Of course this child has Cerebral palsy, what did you think I would say today?"  He didn't try to encourage us. He didn't give us information on CP or any clue what to expect. 

So right here, I am going to tell you that the preschool years were spent pleading and begging and pushing. I tried to help them sit. I tried to help them stand. I tried to will them to not be physically affected by the fact that my body could not carry them to term. We did therapies multiple times a week. We worked and we worked and we prayed and we prayed. And in the darkest days I cried out to God that "No. This is NOT fair. Make it right."

Last week, I sat in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church, Clinton, MS as my daughter's name was called to the stage. This little bitty baby who was so sick at birth, who fought so hard to catch up and who has spent the last 19 years helping me care for her brothers was awarded the Freshman Writing Award. Please read that slowly -- she was chosen from all the freshmen at Mississippi College as THE best writer. Apparently, it is unheard of for this award to be presented to a non-English major. And yet, my beautiful amazing Spanish major won it!! And did I tell you she was selected as a Scout for Mississippi College?? She has made freshman year look easy and I am so thrilled to be her Mom, I can't stand it!

Yesterday, that teeny tiny baby whose life was so very fragile at birth was awarded FRESHMEN MAN OF THE YEAR at Millsaps College.  I can't help but type that in all capital letters! Mason has so many physical challenges to living independently on campus and yet he has done it and if that was ALL he accomplished this school year, I would be more proud of him than words can even convey. But no, this child served his school as Senator, joined a fraternity, made the President's List, was chosen as a Resident Assistant for next year and....was chosen man of the year. Oh Mason, my daddy would be so proud to share your name!!

And last night, the kid who started having surgeries before he turned one, who drives his bright blue chair through life, who has to depend on a caregiver for his basic living needs rolled out of the theatre banquet with the award for Best Supporting Actor! He fights very real constraints in his love of acting. His chair is cumbersome, sets have to be designed to work. He obviously can't do stairs. Dancing is a challenge. And yet....and yet, in "Little Shop of Horrors" he performed the choreography for the opening number flawlessly and when his big scene came, his comedic timing was impeccable (his strong suit for sure!) and his rich-Texas-oilman-drawl right on the mark!! He was hilarious! And when his hat fell off mid scene, he improv-ed on the spot and never missed a beat!

So no. Life isn't fair. Sometimes, the other team borders on cheating...just walking the line so they don't get in trouble. Sometimes babies are born too early and have to fight for their little lives. Sometimes, children face a diagnosis that as parents we would protect them from, or change, or fix, if we could.

But sometimes, you will catch the line drive in mid-air and get the little girl with the bad attitude out halfway to first base. And sometimes, just sometimes, we get a glimpse that God is doing bigger things THROUGH the obstacles that seem so horribly unjust than we could ever imagine. And sometimes, three tiny babies -- and their little sister -- change the world. 

So I'll be here. Sitting on the bench in my little dugout seeing exactly how God is going to use these little gifts that He so graciously said could be mine. 

Carol - The Blessings Counter