Going into Addison's room first thing in the morning- seeing her face break out into a huge smile when she sees me-lifting her strong little body into my arms- feeling and smelling her very essence as she moves in close to attempt to pull out my hair
These are all things that I sadly tend to take for granted now.
I had such a wonderful time today with a friend.
A friend that I remember bragging to about how great Addison was sucking from a bottle almost a year ago, while Addison was spitting everything out the side of her mouth that my friend could see but I couldn't. She smiled and let me keep bragging, because she knew I needed to.
A friend who I met for lunch, allowing a break in the monotony of the NICU and learned about her own amazing pregnancy.
A friend who came over and fawned over Addison as if she was the most perfect baby ever made after she finally came home from the NICU.
A friend who has brought meals- cute diaper bags- and wondrously distracting game nights.
A friend who traveled with her brand new baby and two year old to my house so that Addison and I could meet her new baby before going to Boston for her second heart surgery.
A friend who has listened to me whine and complain- express fears and frustrations- needlessly brag or boast and always knew what to say.
Today while I was whining and complaining and she patiently listened and gave bits of advice- I was struck with thankfulness -for my friend, for everything that I was complaining about- for the reminder of this past year's journey.
After she left, I logged onto my computer and looked at picture after picture of Addison- sick and attached to tubes, barely hanging on to life in the NICU. I remembered how small and frail her body was. I remember having to hold her somewhat awkwardly around all of her contraptions. I remember wishing those days away...longing for a day that I could cuddle with just my baby without yards of tubage in between....wishing for a time when everything was easier- that motherhood meant washing your baby's clothes and keeping her high chair clean instead of hoping that your baby lived through the night.
I took a moment to just remember last year at this time, the constant ups and downs- I reread comments friends left on the photos on facebook. So many people were praying for Addison- for us. All of those comments and prayers meant so much. (Side note: your comments still mean so, so much)
It's now one year later, and I have found new things to complain and vent about. How is it that within the space of merely months I have forgotten everything that just happened? You know, the miracle of my daughter's life? How have I forgotten everything that has been provided for us, taught to us and given to us through Addison's life?
It's like for months we prayed and prayed for Addison to live and be healthy, and then the minute she became healthy, I said "OK God, I'm good. I'll take it from here."
I feel strangely chastised- not through a long eloquent sermon or devotional- but through the simple actions of a friend that caused me to remember and look back.
If the past was any indicator of how I can trust the Lord with my future, I think I'm in pretty good hands. Even just with her one year leukemia checkup (she's good, btw). I really freaked out about that check. It's like I felt that the bigger deal I made out of it, the more I could control the results.
I think our Heavenly Father has done a pretty amazing job of sustaining Addison's life to this point. Why would I doubt Him now?
And even if it was part of His plan for my beautiful daughter to develop leukemia. Who am I to question His perfect plan that oh by the way also included extra chromosomes and a lot of health problems. He has stood by us every step of the way. Why would He stop now? Bottom line? God is good all of the time.
I like to take credit for nursing Addison to health, being with her, medicating her, hauling her all across town to the world's largest record of doctor's appointments. But can any of that compare to the One who actually healed her?
Part of the reason for feeling so chastised is that I have just been so worried about the future. Lots of unknowns in my life right now- and apparently I felt that complaining about them would solve the problems. Apparently I have learned nothing in this past year.
I am thankful- for remembrances, for everything that the Lord has done in our lives this past year, for everything that He has planned for this coming year, for my good friend who is so patient with me, for my perfect daughter Addison.
Most of all, I am thankful for hard times in life because it's what reminds me of where my strength really comes.
I don't think life ever "gets easier". There will always be something that makes life seem impossible. Contentment, thankfulness, rejoicing in the small details-this is what makes life doable-no matter the level of difficulty we are currently facing.
The small details that I'm rejoicing in tonight? Listening to Addison breathe while she sleeps. Breathing is seriously such a miracle, and I hope to never grow tired of hearing it- of seeing her little chest rise and fall with the amazing gift of life that she has been granted- of seeing her dark eyelashes flutter against her chubby little cheeks as she sighs with contentment when I lean down to kiss her.
I am thankful for this past year and I am thankful in advance for the coming year.
Now I'm taking my thankful self off to bed-lots of appointments tomorrow. I'm glad I had this little chat with myself before hauling myself and Chubbs all around town once again. A new and improved perspective makes it seem, I don't know, "easier". (-: