12.

“Carrie – do not hold on too tight.”

I scoffed at our beloved neonatologist when he said this. We were standing over the examining table, inspecting Bella’s double lumen port that lead to her vena cava. She had just had this life giving mechanism inserted the week before and really this appointment was to scrutinize me and my ability to care for her and keep infection at bay.

For the past twelve years I have held on too tight.
I admit that.
And, to be quite honest, I am just now starting to recognize the emotional and physical toll it has taken on me.
Torrential.

In my weaker moments, the movie reel of the past twelve years plays in my head as I examine it frame by frame, wondering what I could have done differently.

In my more graceful moments, I am acutely aware that for over half of the years shared with her, my one and only goal was to do my darnedest to beat the odds and keep my child alive past her scientific “expiration date” of five years of age.

In my weaker moments, I glance to my left or my right to examine what other moms are doing and I find myself with longings and desires for myself and for my kids and sometimes – jealousy and envy creep in as well.

In my more graceful moments, I am aware of the gift I have been given and how it has forever changed me for the better and I am able to accept this season and embrace it.

In my weaker moments, I find myself longing for another mom’s “bad day”.

In my more graceful moments, I can extend grace as I am grateful to also be the recipient of it in spades.

And then
all of a sudden –
she
is
12.

All of the sudden, she is wanting to do things on her own.

All of the sudden, she has friends.

All of the sudden, she has places where she excels and is receiving positive feedback for it.

All of the sudden, she craves independence and hobbies.

All of the sudden, she is taking initiative.

All of the sudden, she becomes my helper and my friend.

All of the sudden,
she
is
stable.

And all of the sudden,
I am
getting to breathe a little bit,
and start dreaming
for
myself.

It is probably the hardest thing I have had to do since she was born.
That sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
Well, it feels crazy.

What has defined me for the past twelve years,
what has been my role and my focus,
what has been that which has almost smothered me,
is
changing.

Can we say it together,
“Transition is hard”!

This weekend, we begin
The Year of 12.
We plan to celebrate all year long –
Bella’s Rite of Passage.

I have a feeling that this year will also become a rite of passage for me as well.
I look forward to it.

I think.

 

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5 thoughts on “12.

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