We don’t live too far from UCF and so we often drive through campus as a little detour when Reagan is sleeping and we need to kill time.
Driving THE campus brings me back to when I was a college student. You learn a lot about yourself when you’re away from home, trying to find your way. College is a place where you figure out how you want your life plan to work out, what your career will be…and whether that hottie named Rob can fit into the plan somehow 😉
Anyway, there’s sections of campus that have a lot of meaning. I remember cheer practice on the lawn in front of the old education building. I remember going to the old Wayne Densch building for FCA and meeting what would become my closest friends to this day. I remember going to the gym to impress Rob. He started this workout group called “early” for people in FCA…it was called early b/c we met at like 5:45 am (it was awful). I only went b/c Rob was there.
Watching the students walk about campus for class I reflect on how my life is so much different than I planned. I drive campus and those feelings of finding yourself come upon me. B/c you’re never truly done learning about who you are and what you’re capable of. I continue to find myself and learn what it means to be a mom and to be a parent of a child with special needs. I realize my biggest fear from years ago is here and that I’m capable of handling it, with God’s strength, wisdom and grace. I know what God says is true, “when I am weak…I am strong in him.”
“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10
Finding myself means going out with Reagan without fear…fear of judgment from others or fear of what being out among the people could mean to Reagan. God is in control of Reagan’s health, and Rob and I are good parents and protect her as much as we can while letting us all live life.
Earlier this week I took Reagan to the chiropractor and as soon as I sat down, I got her gtube connection and gave her meds and pushed formula into her while a lady just watched (tried not to stare). Reagan laughed as she threw things on the floor and the lady got them for her…one of Reagan’s favorite games. After Reagan’s appt, the lady said “keep up the good work momma! You’re doing great and she’s beautiful.”
I didn’t hide what being a mom to Reagan means, which is that she requires most of her food through her gtube. Continually finding myself and realizing that I will need to do things like this out in the open…I am not ashamed that Reagan can’t walk and can’t drink all her formula . I wish she could do all those things, but she can’t, yet. That doesn’t change the fact that she’s my daughter and this is what it means to be a mom to her. Yesterday we went shopping…I knew I was gonna have to feed her while out and thought I might get looks of pity or long stares that say “what the heck?!” I’m sure that many families stay cooped up at home for all the same reasons of fear I have. I ended up giving her meds and food in the fitting room, behind a closed door so that I could more fully concentrate…that probably happens more than you think.
This is life, it’s our life and we’ve invited people into it through this blog to understand…and just b/c most of us are walking around the world in plain sight and look completely normal, doesn’t mean the people you see who look put together are free from having their own struggles. They can hide it, deny it or embrace it. The fact is, there is a struggle in everyone’s life. No one gets a free pass to live problem free…this is the world after all, and it’s not perfect, it’s fallen.
Today is Reagan’s six month mark. It’s been six months since her crisis. It feels like so long ago, but also just like yesterday. We have struggled and cried and been beaten down; we wrote our own Psalms in our times of despair. We have also figured out how to chose joy, live even more vulnerably and embrace our new normal. It’s a challenge, it’s an adventure. It’s a scary, awful, amazing, tremendous and fun ride. It is all of the emotions of life. Six months ago I would have never imagined this progress and Rob and I are so thankful. We pray for more progress. For more eating, more talking, more walking. More, more, more…more.