Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What I Expected When I was Expecting

1994 - Pregnant with Ashley
It difficult to remember what I was thinking nearly 20 years ago when I was expecting our first child. However, visions of tiny toes, cute little onsies, and tights with lacy bottoms come to mind.

Sure, I expected sleepless nights of midnight feedings and worries over late night fevers. But, I also expected mornings with Cheerio-filled highchair trays, afternoons playing hide and seek in the park, and evenings snuggled up reading picture books carefully saved from own childhood. I expected  recitals, baseball games and gradautions. I expected pictures of first steps, first communion, prom, weddings and grandchildren.

Then I was told we might expect something very different...

...a newborn that might not survive, a toddler that might never walk, a child that might never speak, a teenager that might never learn.

I learned to change my expectations, expect the unexpected.

What I still didn't expect...

...hours spent in the waiting rooms of specialist and therapists, the sound of Velcro as I strapped my child's legs into firm milk-bottle colored braces, wiping drool from her chin and poop from her bottom well into her teen years, and so many other things that make my heart ache just considering.

What I still didn't expect...

...stares from strangers at grocery stores and empty days on our calendar where invitations to birthday parties and playdates should have been.

Still, the unexpected came when reality exceeded my expectations.

What I didn't expect...

...learning to speak with my hands, learning to listen with my eyes, and learning to teach from my heart.

What I didn't expect...

...finding joy in tiny accomplishments, being connected so closely to another life, and being so completely changed by my child.

I did not ask for this life, and yet it was given to me nonetheless. Motherhood, life itself, unfolded differently than I expected.

I have learned not to expect. Instead, I realize each day is a gift and remind myself of this:

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.
“They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
- Jeremiah 29:11

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