The day has been circled on the calendar for so long. I knew it was approaching not because my office was filled with cowboy-themed western stuff everywhere, but because my heart has been preparing for the rush of emotions for several weeks now.
A part of me wants to start hyperventilating. Then screaming for joy. Somedays those 44 days in the NICU seem so far away. It’s almost like I dreamed it, but then I didn’t. A song or comment from a friend or even a quick glance down at all Luke’s surgical scars, can bring all that raw emotion right back to the surface in a nanosecond. Mostly, I’m finding myself grateful that the hell we lived through is starting to feel like novacaine. My memory is still a little numb, but my heart hasn’t really ever forgotten. The pain is easing and I’m finding peace again. I haven’t forgotten…
…what it felt like to hear our perinatologist say, “the baby may not make it to 24 weeks, your pregnancy really may not be viable.”
…the fear in having an emergency c-section or the tremendous amount of tears I cried when I heard Luke scream for the first time.
…holding Luke for the first time and seeing the look on Scott’s face when our eyes met.
…seeing my life wheeled through the surgery doors and falling on my knees in prayer
…asking God – no, I think I may have begged – to please spare my child.
…the amazing people who touched our lives in big and small ways, my heart has never really measured the difference.
…the insurance representatives I wanted to strangle with my bare hands.
…the nurses and doctors I wanted to kiss.
…the late night screaming sessions.
…the joy in watching Luke master “socially advanced” skills like fist bumps and falling like a tree.
…the cross God has given our family and what an honor it has been to carry it.
A good friend recently remarked that just when she had life all under control, God forced her back on her knees. Amen, Angela. A-MEN. I think my heart is more grateful. My judgment a bit more cautious. My love for my husband and children even more than my humble head can comprehend. The joy for my creator indescribable.
Today, I’m setting aside any of those fears, all that anxiety and all the worry about what is to come and I’m singing “Happy Birthday” with as much joy as I can find. Luke’s life is a tremendous gift. His witness is so powerful – even though at last count he could only say ten words! We get to celebrate with family and some very special NICU buddies later today. THAT will definitely be a post you won’t want to miss.
I’ll leave you with this awesome story. A few weeks ago, Will and I were talking. Everyone else was playing and Luke walked up and just started being silly. Will joined in the fun. As Luke walked away, Will looked at me and said, “Mom, I can’t imagine our family without Luke. He cracks me up.”