Terrified. Angry. Sad.
Never did I think those would be the three feelings I had 4-days into being a parent, but there I was.
You have to understand, I’m just like you. I live life on the positive side, love to laugh, and see God’s beauty in everything from the obvious sunrise/sunrise to the unapparent processes that sustain life like photosynthesis.
And while I can certainly see God’s beauty in my daughter and her adoption story, her diagnosis is just tough to deal with when I take the time to stop and think about it.
You see, it is difficult for anyone to put themselves in our shoes to understand what we are going through…unless you’ve been there.
Unless you’ve received similar bad news from doctors about your child within their first few days of life, you can’t understand what it’s like. Unless you’ve prayed similar prayers that your child can hopefully be able to walk, talk, play and have friends, you can’t understand what it’s like. Unless you’ve had to shop at a medical supply store or contact a laboratory to find and order a certain prescription food for your child, you can’t understand what it’s like. Unless you’ve had to measure, weigh, plan, and log all meals for your child because they can’t eat what everyone else can, you can’t understand what it’s like. Unless you’ve had “congratulations” change abruptly to “I’m so sorry” shortly after your child has arrived, you can’t understand what it’s like.
You can’t understand what it is like to feel fear, anger, and sadness all at the same time for your new child, unless you’ve been there. But that’s ok. I sincerely hope no one ever has to be there.
However, if you ever do find yourself there, you are not alone.
It is vitally important to process through all of your feelings and emotions when dealing with something of this magnitude.
You see, I think we all get too caught up in all of the silver linings in life’s struggles. While it is a romantic notion to look at the comforting and hopeful aspects of an unhappy situation, I think you only hold yourself back from fully experiencing life…struggles and all. And if you hold yourself back, you are also holding back a part of you from those in your life.
Holding back from those in your life is simply just trying to a live lie. I have struggles and hardships in my life, and I know you do too. If you tell me you don’t or try to make it seem how perfect your life is, you’re lying….not just to me, but to yourself and those in your life. And lying to yourself is a slippery slope no one wants to go down; it only ends in disaster.
In order to be fully involved in my daughter’s story and at the same time be fully honest with myself and the feelings I am experiencing and to be the best father for her, I have to be transparent with my feelings and not just live in the silver linings of her story.
While those silver linings are nice things to think about, I liken them more to a rock that I’m holding onto so I don’t get swept downstream in this raging river that is my daughter’s life.
You might think that these rocks would be something to keep holding onto in order to be strong for my daughter and wife during these tough times, and I would have agreed with you until I discovered a flaw in that line of thinking. If I continue to hold onto these rocks, I’ll never know what is downstream. I’ll never know where this raging river leads. I’ll never fully experience my daughter’s beautiful story.
Also, I’m no river expert, but when you have a bunch of rocks in the middle of a raging river, that usually creates rapids. So I am allowing the river’s current to take me wherever it leads. It’s important for me to write out all of my feelings, not just the silver linings.
Life isn’t best lived by staying in the rapids. So I’m choosing to go downstream into the unknown.