Today my mini girl turns seven months old. I can hardly believe it’s been over a half a year since I first met her tiny little self. In a few weeks she will be coming home. Home!! As in, I can see her anytime I want, home! As in, this really is my kid to keep, home! As in, yes your sister does exist, home! After seven months of daily hospital trips…seven months of starting every day with a phone call to the hospital to see how she did last night…seven months of praying with the big girls for baby sister to “feel better”…seven months of life revolving around the happenings in the tall building on East Cheves Street…it all will change to a whole new normal that is on the one hand excessively exciting, and on the other, completely terrifying.
Terrifying because I’m the mom who can barely stomach putting a band aid on a booboo without getting queasy…and I’m bringing home a baby with three tubes sticking out her that I need to understand as well as her nurse does. Terrifying because I’m the genius who regularly forgets to plug in my crockpot when I actually want it to cook something…and this crib I’m setting up needs good plug access for the machines that will feed and breathe for my baby. Terrifying because this baby room I’m decorating needs plenty of room for organizing medical equipment, it needs a comfy spot for a nurse to sit, and a white board on the wall to keep important medical information handy and visible…and, of course, it all needs to look cute, colorful, and as little like a hospital as humanly possible. Terrifying? Yes. And it leaves me completely and utterly grateful.
This sort of gratefulness makes me almost speechless to explain. This sort of gratefulness understands that I am being given a gift in this opportunity to bring my girl home that is not guaranteed to be permanent, nor is it a gift that any person could have made happen, except for God. It is one thing to quickly spew three things you are grateful for on Thanksgiving Day before self-poisoning with too much food…it’s quite another to see your entire life through a prism of gratefulness. A one pound baby is doing a pretty bang up job of teaching me to do just that. As I go about my business of ridding my home of germs, dust, and anything else that looks potentially hazardous to good health (OK, excluding the death trap that is her sisters’ room) in preparation for her arrival, I can’t help realizing that it is more than just our way of life this baby girl has changed. She has changed me. She has helped me to understand that every day, every smile, every touch, every sound (even if it is the sound of a three year old having her fourth melt down for the day and it’s not even breakfast yet), every ability, every breath is a precious, fragile, and temporary gift.
And lest you get the wrong impression, I’m not saying I’ve morphed into a perpetually smiling Pollyana. Gratitude, I’ve noticed, is simply the quiet voice that persistently questions complaints. Are you sure you want to fuss about that? Do you really wish those kids would disappear? Is this job of caring for your loved ones sooo awful? Oh, I don’t always listen very well, sometimes my grumbling is too loud for me to hear. In the quiet when the storm of my self-pity has calmed, gratitude will come with it’s reminders. It will fall out of the laundry pile as a little pink sock with a small blood stain on the heel. It will drift to me on the laughter of two beautifully healthy little girls. I will trip over it in the pile of shoes at the front door. It will remind me that I’ve done it again, I have taken what I have for granted. It will invite me to take another look, to see my grievances through a different filter.
Gratitude is a gentle teacher, and a patient one (good thing for me!). For the last seven months it has quietly urged me to look at my little girl who has fought so hard for the basic thing called life, and let her story change me. Gratitude is a perfect place to start, but I very much doubt it will be the last lesson this little person will help her mother learn!
Psalms 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: