Wednesday, April 23, 2014

On Preparing for Will's One Year Birthday!


A year ago today, I had already been in labor for about 10 hours.  Nevermind, our little Will Bug still wouldn't make his appearance for another 30 or so hours.  And then, to top it off, his first hours and days and months on earth weren't the greatest.

Celebrating Will's first birthday has come with a mix of joy and sadness, hope and grief, and just about everything in between.

Many friends, family and acquaintances started asking me, months ago, if I had an elaborate theme party planned, or if I started crafting for his birthday already.  My answer has been a steady "no"...  At first, I questioned myself a bit.  Why wasn't I crafting?  Why wasn't I Pinteresting a fun theme for the day?

Here are my answers:

1) I am saving my blood, sweat and tears for when he will care and actually remember it.  When he is old enough to fall in love with Star Wars and begs me for an elaborate Jedi Knight celebration, I will be ready - so ready.

2) The days leading up to his birthday have felt too weighty...  Not heavy or burdensome...  More significant, sacred, maybe even holy.  Like Mary, I've spent these days treasuring up so many things.

Though Sanford and Mayo Clinic doctors, and home health nurses, and physical therapists and behavioral therapists have poked and prodded and watched our little man for delays, signs of cerebral palsy or a weaker side of his body, problems with his vision, reflexes and everything in between - they've scoured him for an entire year, looking for any and all complications resulting from his strokes and seizures.

....and they have found none.  Nothing.

He is a thriving, healthy, stubborn, naughty, curious, sensitive, hilarious, messy little one-year-old.  He is full of life, and meeting all of his milestones.  All of them.  When we left the NICU with Will, we didn't know if he would ever play catch or read books or walk or laugh - the chances of having a severely injured and delayed little boy were very real.  To be at this place, one year later, is...  I don't know.  Overwhelming?  In the best possible way?

We are SO thankful and even stunned that the Lord has shown Will and our family so much blessing and favor.  So, it is a little strange to be in a place of grief and sadness alongside all of our joy.  I am feeling mildly schizophrenic.

The days leading up to Will's birthday have been a time to remember, reflect, and treasure many things from the past year.  Unfortunately, several of those memories - especially surrounding his birth and first few months - are still dark, scary, traumatizing and filled with pain.  I wanted more for Will.  I wanted to welcome him into the world with joy, I wanted his first hours and days to be filled with snuggles and happy visits with family and friends, I wanted to hold him and treasure his first moments.  I wanted to be able to look at his birth pictures and be filled with joyful memories.  I wanted to remember his first few weeks at home with warmth and delight.  I wanted his first months to be filled with hope and anticipation and gladness.

Instead, I am plagued with hazy memories of shock, heart-wrenching pain and trauma.  And I am haunted by memories that are missing - things I don't even remember and have NO recollection of - probably because I was so physically drained, passed out, and just plain filled with depression and hopelessness.

Yuck.

Anyway, to make a long story at least a little bit shorter, I DID buy a few things at Wal-Mart, and the table IS looking relatively festive, and cupcakes ARE in the fridge.  But this year, we will be celebrating a little more simply than usual (at least for my over-the-top celebratory tendencies).  Instead of slaving away, crafting up a storm, breaking the budget and Pinteresting until a magazine-worthy party emerges, we have been, and will continue to use these next days and hours to pray, process, cry, laugh, snuggle, and stand in awe of our great blessings...to stand on some important and holy and sacred ground and remember.

We are remembering how the goodness of the Lord shines so brightly in the midst of so much darkness, and we are treasuring our little miracle man.
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