I will begin this blog post with a confession. I was a perfect parent before I had children! I had opinions and would not hesitate sharing them with my friends who had children before my husband and I had our children. Fourteen years into our marriage found us still sharing a huge but empty house. We had endured years of infertility, failed pregnancies and dashed dreams. But I was storing up all sorts of ideas and plans for when we would finally be blessed with children of our own.
One September day when the temperatures were beginning to cool down and the colors of fall were on the horizon our world was irrevocably changed by the premature birth of our daughter. Born much too soon and with more complications than I could process for several weeks, she swelled our hearts with pride, our lives with joy, and our home with enough medical equipment to fill an entire living room which she quickly took over and claimed as her nursery.
A devastating realization was that all the knowledge I had stored about being a perfect parent meant nothing now that this little girl, who defied medical odds, would never be normal. Nor would she enjoy the benefits of all of those things I had envisioned sharing with a daughter.
No tea parties, no ballet practices, no patent leather shoes dancing on my hardwood floors, no late night talks as a teen, no dating advice, no picking out a wedding dress. The dreams changed very abruptly and became a quest for just preserving life and cultivating as much quality to that life as we possibly could. She became the focus of everything we participated in, everywhere we went, everyone with whom we associated. Life was all about her.