As I sit here attempting to type with one hand while holding a sleeping baby in my other, I think back on the past year. The difficulty of coping with the many endurance-testing challenges has not faded, but the strength of all those who supported us, knowingly and unknowingly, grows ever brighter in conjunction with our increasing gratitude.
Situations arose multiple times over many months causing us to doubt the likelihood of holding this beautiful gift, healthy, or at one point even at all. Further, I often felt like a failure for being incapable of providing the most basic nutrition to my unborn child. As I started losing weight, I wondered what I was taking from my child. What began as a goal for a balanced, nutritionally diverse diet quickly gave way to simply attempting to get calories to stay in me. The days, weeks, and months dragged on and dragged me with them. I felt trapped and spent five and a half of those nine months within five minutes of home.
To each of you who took a step on this journey with us, thank-you. Thank you to my husband who demonstrated selflessness in every way becoming the persona of the wedding vows we promised over a decade ago. You have truly been my strength. Thank you to my son who offered untaught compassion; I am in awe and proud to be your mom. The memory of the peanut butter sandwich you spontaneously made and brought me in bed will always bring me to tears. Thank you to my parents who have showed up my entire life each time I have said, “Help!” Thank you to those who took the time and effort to drive long distances to visit us, often repeatedly. You seemed to show up at the exact moment I doubted my ability to make it one more day. Thank you to all who scheduled and rescheduled gatherings to try to include us. Thank you to everyone who called, texted, and emailed offering words of encouragement and distraction from some monotonous weeks and months. Thank you to the brave souls who attempted to cook for me when I struggled to keep anything down.
I don’t know what I would have done without our library’s programs and the wonderful people who work and volunteer there. Because of all of you at the library who know us by name, I felt like I could still engage in some part of life and spend time around other people during the many months we stayed close to home. To our friends and family who remained ‘on-call’ day and night for two months with offers to care for our young son, we are forever grateful. You took away a massive stress relieving us from the burden of feeling torn between caring for our son and caring for our unborn child. Thank you to the doctors and nurses who cared for us, the ultrasonographers who helped us see our child, the lab technicians who attempted to stick my rolling veins, and the receptionists who remembered my name. Thank you for going beyond your job. Thank you to the woman who got out of her car to take my shopping cart back at the grocery store. I drove home with tears running down my face. To all of you who read this blog, thank you. You gave me an outlet and a focus outside of difficult moments.
I do not think I can ever see life’s challenges as known, pre-planned events that result in some future good. However, I see the responses to those challenges as proof that love’s light eclipses the darkest moments. Thank you to all of you for loving us so well. May our gratitude reach you from these words, and whenever you find yourself struggling in life, may you feel the depth of the love and support you have shown to us shining on you. Thank you…