Thursday, April 11, 2019

No matter what.

We worked in the garage over the weekend. Actually, work might be a bit of a stretch.

We definitely sorted and purged and did a lot that felt like work. But at one point the girls came out to help. And the girls.....well, they kept uncovering treasures. And these treasures required them to sit and read all manner of things -- from favorite children's books to journals -- as well as to cuddle childhood toys, reminisce about why they saved this, or that.

There wasn't a lot of work going on, so I sent them inside.

And then I got busy...

Reading the notes in some of my prayer journals.

I guess the apples didn't fall far.....

When I opened a Bible Study from the bottom of one box, I expected to glance through and cull it out. I am trying my best to really sort and sift and purge. Oh for goodness sakes, we need to purge!

But I quickly realized this particular study was done during my first year of motherhood. I also realized that some of my most raw emotions were expressed in the prayer journal portion of some of the pages.

Mason sent me a text earlier this week with a question for a class-discussion: "If you could medically ensure that we never had Cerebral Palsy, would you?"

We went back and forth discussing this for a while. Because the answer is complicated. Did he mean young mommy me? Or did he mean me today?

Because even if I didn't remember those emotions so clearly, I had a veritable time-machine  just sitting in the middle of the garage waiting to be purged...

One morning in 1997, I had written out Psalm 25:4-5

"Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are my God, my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." (NIV)

I then thanked God for sharing Benjamin, Mason, and Claire with me before confessing that the desires of my heart would be for Benjamin and Mason to catch up developmentally with their sister. My prayer was for Benjamin to roll-over. We monitored every movement he made. We coerced, helped, and begged him to reach that milestone of rolling over. My prayers reflected that. 

One morning I typed out this scripture:

"Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell." Psalm 43:3

I underscored the "your" before mountain as I then confessed that MY mountain would be for Benjamin and Mason to be "healthy, normal children." But concluded with imploring God to help me focus on HIS mountain -- His best for my children.

So clearly, if young me could have prevented my boys having Cerebral Palsy, I absolutely would have. I begged for their healing. I pleaded for a miracle. Repeatedly, I urged God to heal them so that we could give Him all the glory. 

It is birth month for my beloved three.  More than twenty years have passed since I wrote those words. More pointedly, in eight short days, those itty bitty babies will turn 22 years old.  They are full-grown adults.

And so today, I have the benefit of knowing who those babies become. I have the luxury of knowing that every obstacle, every surgery, every therapy session has molded and grown all three into absolutely amazing adults. I have the advantage of having watched them set goals and surpass them.

I have the gift of knowing that there are three circled dates on my calendar in early May marking the successful college graduations of these babies born three months too early -- college graduations that will include all manner of honor cords, accolades and degrees!!

And more than ALL of that -- I have the extra bonus of knowing them and finding them absolutely delightful!

Motherhood is hard. If I could have protected Benjamin, Mason, and Claire from the pain of the boys' having CP, I absolutely would have. I wish they could have avoided painful surgeries. I wish we could have spent more time playing and less time at doctor and therapy appointments.

And yet, as Mason and I moved our discussion from texting to a phone call, he and I pondered whether it was the obstacles that made them the adults they are today. Would they so passionately advocate if they had not had to knock down road block after road block to pursue their dreams? Would they possess the personalities that draw others to them, without the empathy that surgery after surgery has given? Would Dad be committed to the care of children with Cerebral palsy -- would he be doing life-changing research -- were it not for the fact that CP has colored our family?

Obviously, we have no idea what life would have looked like if these babies born in a bundle had arrived on time rather than so very early. We have no window into what they would have been without CP. But this, this I know with absolutely certainty: These three -- and their baby sister -- are changing the world. They are using their gifts -- many of those honed through their struggles with CP -- to spread hope, education, and advocacy. They urge me to share their story -- willing to have their lives shared in order to give hope to even just one family like ours. I am not the same woman who wrote in that journal twenty-something years ago. They have taught me and grown me more than I could have ever imagined.

And yet, some things don't change. At the end of one of my prayers in 1997, right after begging God for healing, I wrote this:

"But Father, I plead with you to prepare us as a family to bring you praise, honor, and glory no matter what the future holds!!"

Twenty-two years later, I would just like to add a couple extra exclamation points.

Carol - The Blessings Counter