Wednesday, November 24, 2010

So Thankful

You know you've been busy...
When your son takes his FIRST STEPS 4 days ago and you haven't sat down to blog about it!!!
I mean, what is going on here?! Can any of you believe it!? I am usually creating reasons to blog and now I have a HUGE one and I can't sit down at the computer!
Until now...
So yes.
Our little boy took 3 and 4 steps at a time several times this past Saturday!
Did we know it was coming? NO!
But did I have the camera ready? YES! lol.
Well technically this is a reenactment - but I did get video on my phone of the actually first stepping moments.
Sweet little miracle steps.
You know, we experience so many feelings as parents. Joy, anticipation, fear, love, sadness, gratitude - but all these are never so acute or ever-changing as those I've seen in those families who have special journeys - like ours - with SB. One day you're standing on top of mountains, the next you feel as if you'll never get out of the darkest valley you've ever been in. I suppose all life is that way at times - but those families who I'm speaking of (including my own) can especially relate. It's a miraculous, tumultuous journey and I can't witness a single milestone or give thanks for a single blessing without thinking of everyone else on this journey with us. Having these families with us - encouraging us - inspiring us - is possibly the greatest gift God could have given us to help us through. I feel it's how He tells me - "I've not left you alone. Here our some others - like you - who will help you. I will help them to help you. And you will help them as well."
You - all of you - you are God's gift to me.
And I am so thankful.
But along with the blessings we offer each other in the form of understanding and support - I have to admit there are times when I fight feelings of sadness or worry, when I compare my child with other children on this journey.
"Will my child ever do that?"
"Should my child already be doing that?"
I'm sure all of us have heard such questions echoing in our heads. Why do some families keep facing obstacles that others don't have to? Why is that little boy crawling while my older child can't sit up? Why is her child talking when my child is 5 months older? Don't they all have Spina Bifida? Wasn't her lesion in the same place as my daughter's? Why are they so different??

I find it part of my routine explanation of SB to say to others "well, every child with SB is different, just like every child without SB is different, no matter how similar they may seem" - but do I believe my own definition? Apparently not. I compare and question along with everyone else in the world. Why do we do this?? It just puts pressure and strain on an area of our life that in so many ways we can't control. It blinds us from seeing the little blessings before us when we have our sights set on the "next big milestone"! We can't celebrate the little victories when we keep trying to take on the next battle.
I'm sure many of my fellow SB mommies look at Jet and think "Wow. He is doing so well! I wish mine were doing "_____." (fill in the blank). And I agree! He is doing amazing! :) But I wanted to share that I don't always see things that way - I see other SB kids walking at 16 and 17 months and mine's 18 months and just starting. I hear them talking and counting and sounding so adorable! And I can count Jet's words on 2 fingers (although I have to say I think "mama" and "dada" are the best words anyone could ever say. :) But this comparing - though natural- isn't healthy. It makes me feel like we're not doing good enough. It brings us down. It distracts us.
"You're crazy! Jet is doing so GREAT!" you'd probably say. And yes - I am! We are all crazy! Because every time we take these things for granted - every time we wish our children were doing something better then what they've just accomplished - it's like we are throwing these blessings in God's face and saying "this isn't good enough - I want him to crawl/stand/walk BETTER, SOONER, FASTER!" We don't mean to - but we stop being thankful and start being demanding. It makes me shudder to think how many times I've done that.
But God is so GOOD!
He doesn't take the blessing away or send a lightening bolt to strike me where I stand.
He gives me time.
He gives me you.
He gives me perspective.
My bracelet from Kari came today - I was so excited as I was unwrapping the tissue paper - couldn't wait to put it on! I didn't remember what I had asked to be embossed on the little ring charm until I turned it around and read with great familiarity - PERSPECTIVE.
Beautiful, Wise Perspective, herself, had arrived once again and now joins me on my wrist to follow me wherever I go. And as I type she reminds me once again to Thank God for the blessings we've been given. For the gifts our children have - the different talents and ways they excel. They don't all do things the same, or at the same time, or in the same way - but they all do one amazingly, beautiful thing - they give perspective. To us. To our families and friends. To the SB community. To total strangers.
The give perspective every day to everyone they touch with their lives.
And what a precious gift that is.
I, for one, can never have enough.
And I am so thankful.


Holli (and Mark) said...

Joanna, you have such a way with words. You describe exactly what I am feeling or thinking at times and I"m sure many others as well. Your Jet is AMAZING and taking steps? soooooo awesome. I think its soooo natural to compare our little ones to the other little ones, just human nature. with or without SB we just have the "need" to compare and contrast. With SB, we think they should be more alike than any other two children without SB which is ofcourse crazy. I DO love watching "my other" little ones grow and accomplish so much though, our special connection through blogging and baby center makes us feel like family, and I LOVE that!!!!
Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Jamie said...

I agree it is so easy to compare our little ones, no matter how hard we try not to, disability or not. I do it with Conner as well as Madi. You are right, they are such little blessings and we have so much to be thankful for! I am thankful for other families and moms who have helped us through our journey as well. It helps so much to walk with someone!

Stefanie said...

way to go Jet!! You practically stole my next post from the tip of my tongue (however you were much better at putting it into words!)
I have been thinking the same thoughts, as Zachary is now looking like crawling is in his near future.
So I say compare away! Knowing that we all celebrate how fantastic our kids are and each milestone will be different for everyone, but never less or more than another. :)

Summers Family said...

SO very wonderful. We couldn't be happier for him and you guys. Happy Thanksgiving.

Love and miss you!

Amanda said...

Oh My! Look at Jet go!
I LOVE the re-enactment - I do that too. Just don't have my camera around 24-7. But way to go with the camera phone!
Thanks for calling me out on the comparing! It's nice to know I'm not alone on that one too. I can't help comparing how Nick is doing compared to other kids - especially Jet! Perspective is so nice, to stand back and realize things will happen when it happens
Thank you as always for reading my mind.

Leigh and Andy said...

SO SO proud of our Jet!!! Just look at that smile as he is taking his steps. Love him. and love you for reminding us all how great our God is. How each milestone, not matter what milestone it is, is so so precious. :) Big hugs and high fives from Michigan!! :) oh, and mama and dada are pretty much the only words that matter. :)

Leigh and Andy said...

OH, and PS I've been WAITING for this post for DAYS!! :) I saw the video on FB and have been checking here every five minutes since for the beautiful post that I knew was coming. :) Perfect to see in on Thanksgiving. So thankful for you. :)

Colleen said...

Oh! How exciting! What a HUGE accomplishment, and take the time to savor it. You and Jet worked really, really hard for this, and it IS a miracle. If you're like me, for about the next year, on a daily basis you'll see him walking and think "This is so cool" and want to cry.

Selina said...

So exciting! Way to go Jet! And Joanna, you always say, so perfectly, what is already on my heart...I am always comparing our journey to yours, and all the other amazing little ones out there. Maddie waited 15 months to crawl, and I was so frustrated, but I am often reminded that God has a plan, and His timing is perfect. Thank you for reminding me again.

Dill Family said...

What a JOY!! I'm hoping and praying for steps one day, although I know it may not come. Our God is good and I rejoice in the sweet milestones we do meet! I love celebrating with all the other kiddos too. Our kids are all perfect in their own way and if ever a group of kiddos could change the world view on SB, I think it's ours!

laura said...

And this is exactly why I love reading your blog. Everything I was feeling you put into words. My daughter will be turning 1 next weekend and I found myself thinking about what she should be doing but reading this post changed my whole view on things. Thank you so much!

Oh and way to go JET!! He's a champ:)

Sarah Hull said...

Just over here in California bawling my eyes out!!! What a wonderful miracle and blessing!!
I have to ditto what Leigh said, so thankful for you and all the other wonderful SB friends and moms! What a blessing you all are in my life!

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the reminder-I too, have those days where I compare and it gets me down. But our blessings, they are many and I am so thankful for each and every moment, good and bad. And thankful that I can share these moments with you and all my other sb family-people who really get it. Love you all. Way to go, Jet, we are so proud of you up here in Chicago!

Meinhardt Family said...

Beautiful post. Jet makes us so proud. You have an amazing family. Happy Thanksgiving!

Adrienne, Scott, Hanna and Hayden Trigg said...

Congratulations Jet and Family!!! That is awesome for all of you and we SB families should be your biggest cheerleaders. Your words are perfect. Thank you for not letting me start the comparison spiral. So easy to do. Just purely happy for you all.

Hilary Jabbour said...

We haven't "officially" met - I'm Hilary Jabbour - a mom from "United by Spina Bifida" on Facebook. My daughter Hannah is 7 mos with SB. I was so encouraged to read this post. It was exactly what I needed today. I've been "comparing" a bit too much lately - even amongst "our" kids. And I know it's no good. I am also a born-again Christian and was really blessed to hear Third Day playing as I read your post. Thank you so much. God bless!

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