Your flip flops hit the pavement on your way to kindergarten and I squeeze your hand.
I squeezed your father’s hand six years ago, willing the baby on the ultrasound screen to be healthy. Willing God to take the organs that were in the wrong places and put them right, a live human baby puzzle.
Willing the doctor to stop talking so I could catch my breath and blink my eyes and not be in that ugly gray room.
The grass grows between the panes of sidewalk. I see you in my peripheral vision, pink dress and ponytails. I relish you.
I remember when the doctor got so close to my face and told me you would die. I couldn’t breathe. I imagined not getting to see you inhale that first gush of sterile hospital air, limbs turning pink and your dad grinning at the miracle.
I wondered what it would be like to bury you, to never watch you build a snowman.
I wondered how my hands would feel, empty, on what should have been your first day of kindergarten.
God had always been there for me, a force not easily reckoned with, a force best left on the shelf. That shelf was obliterated, the need for Him so great, when we learned you were sick.
We near the school. I push something down, down underneath the same heart that hovered over you as you grew in my womb. I’m not sure what it is; I only know it is something that needs to be understood.
You had your first operation when you were 23 hours old. You’ve had four since, and you always face them with bravery and determination.
The front of the school comes into view and the tears quietly gather in the corners of my eyes. I remember that I was too rushed this morning to bother with makeup. For that I am grateful. Time, like anything fluid, can make us bitter. And on days like today, if we choose to let it, it can make us feel nothing but gratitude.
We stand outside the school and you wither a bit against me, watching the older children. They seem so resolute and confident. I know you sense it, too.
Today I know you are feeling what I feel most of the time. Parenting is such a lesson in trusting God because oftentimes I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing. Like you, I put one step in front of the other. Like your new school, whatever I’m fearing comes closer into view. I pray, stepping nearer all the while, hoping like heck that God will carry me over whatever mountain He’s placed in my path.
From the moment you were conceived, God knew He would use you to change my heart. It has changed, sweet girl. The trials that have come along with raising a child with special needs have been hard.
Three more miscarriages in a one-year period have been brutal. And yet, these things have placed your dad and I on the road to foster adoption. I am scared, we are scared. But nothing this great comes easy. That road, I know, will lead us to you and Asher’s little brother or sister.
The grin on my face threatens to split my cheeks as we stand at the door to your kindergarten classroom and I can’t help but thank a God who, in His infinite wisdom, decided that your story was not over.
Watching you, I know what I am feeling. A thankfulness, and a knowing.
Because watching you, I know something else:
My story is not over, either.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
By RachelLeave a Comment
Mary DeMuth says
Stunning prose. Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it.
allison morrison says
Thanks for sharing your story…I am the mother of a special needs child also and have an adopted son too! God is good ALL the time…
mary kathryn tyson says
oh, wow. rachel, thank you for sharing this. what a beautiful prose. thank you. xo
what a bittersweet story of triumph, and you shared it
we almost lost our firstborn, too. now he’s 26 and
6’7″ tall. 🙂
whenever i recite luke 2 in my mind and get to the
“and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son” a lump
forms in my throat.
This is a beautiful story and a great testament to God’s grace and His love and His miracles! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!
Holley Gerth says
Beautiful, Rach! Thanks for sharing this journey of hurt AND hope.
Sharlyn Guthrie says
Bravo, Rachel! I remember seeing you entering our halls as a dancing, twirling kindergartner. Who could have guessed what God had in store for you? He is molding you into His own likeness day by day!
What a testimony of faith in parenting…And your gift of words is delightful, Rach!
I can’t imagine a doctor up close saying this…oh the Grace He gave…
I loved it all. So, so beautiful. And I look forward with you to what God will do…
My best friend and two surrogate nephews are foster-to-adopt…I will pray God prepares just the right one(s) for your family…
Be so, so blessed…Abby:)
Mel's Goin Goin Gone says
Very beautiful! Thank you for sharing your heart with us!
you are a special person Rachel…
What a beautiful story and insight to your feelings, Rachel. It gives every reader an opportunity to know that God is real and he knows our heart. As we go through the trials, we find that our relationship with our Lord can grow more personal and our faith becomes stronger. Praise God that we have been chosen to minister to others:) Lucy is such a blessing for all of us who know her.
Still believing God (at 43) to be a Wife and Mommy someday, I take this in like it’s my last meal. How incredibly raw and lovely. Thank you for sharing.
Diane Gustafson says
Rachel: What a beautiful way you have with words and with your story of Lucy. Many people have prayed along with you guys on her behalf and now she is starting kindergarten!!! God is so good!!!
Jan Todd says
Rachel, such a beautiful way to share the story of your journey with God and with Lucy. Many have shared your journey via prayer and rejoice with you as Lucy grows. Thank you for sharing your story.
<3 How beautiful what God's doing in you.
Praising God with you for all the blessings in your life – past and present and future!
I can’t wait for your first book to be published and I can say: “And I knew her when….”
Love you like one of our own,
Sarah Davis says
Rachel, what a wonderfully written piece! Mr. Fogle is responsible for the writing skills of so many leaving this school! (Oh, and by the way, most of them still call him “Mr. Fogle,” too!)
Oh, wait…this isn’t facebook, is it?
Anne Spina says
Thank you for sharing. What a blessing Lucy is.
Bonnie Gray says
Rachel, I was captivated by your words and ended up inspired by your story. God bless you! Thank you!