Happy Birthday, it’s a girl!
Five years ago my life changed. I had been married for five years. Our marriage had already been tested in many ways. We eagerly awaited the arrival of our second daughter, not realizing the new world she would open us to. Scheduled to be born on Tom’s birthday, we thought what a neat thing it would be for them to share their birthday.
We marveled at how tiny she was. Nearly 3 pounds lighter than her big sister was when she was born. The girls were only 20 months apart — something we thought was smart considering my “advanced maternal age” (gotta love that medical term!). As usual, there were adjustments to be made in our family routine. Tracey loved her new role of big sister, and Tom and I felt like things were going pretty well. As she grew and we realized something was wrong we went through the grieving process… each of us in our own way. We were introduced to the world of therapies and disability. I won’t pretend it wasn’t hard, but God gave us wonderful people to support us on our journey. From our own families to our church family to therapists who became our friends, my world opened to new things I had never expected.
Since Erin was born, my priorities have changed and I’ve become less selfish. You could argue that that would have naturally happened anyway, as you move into the parent hood. I care about things I didn’t really think about before, like eliminating the use of the word “retard” and how each human life is worth living, even if the life isn’t one you had imagined. I try to keep a sense of humor about things, and some days I’m more successful than others.
Some say that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. I disagree. I believe he gives us way more than we can handle on our own so that we understand that our strength comes from him and not ourselves. Raising any child isn’t easy. Raising a child with special needs is even more difficult. I don’t always consider Erin to be the gift of God that she is. There are days when I’m tired of dealing with poop, or vomit, or therapies, or doctor visits. And those are the days I lean on God the most.