Monday, August 24, 2015

Lessons Learned from Emma

My baby girl just turned two, and I can't believe it. The journey from here...
When we brought Emma home from the hospital Grace ran to get these toys to share with her.
to here...
was at times record-fast and at other times incredibly slow. I have learned a few things from this delightful little person who has had a few extra needs.

1. We are always learning. When I was pregnant with Emma I figured I knew how to take care of babies and that baby number four would just blend in with the others in our home of mostly happy chaos. Cameron was halfway through his masters degree and always busy when she was born. I had four kids under the age of six and was always busy in different ways. Over time it became clear that Emma was not going to just blend in like the others did. She has had different needs and we are constantly learning and searching for how to best help her. Life is about learning--learning helps us grow, and learning is good. (But sometimes it's still hard.)

2. God prepares us for our challenges. When the doctor told us Emma had glaucoma he was very sympathetic and explained that this presented an uncertain and difficult future. After dealing with eye cancer, an eye problem that would result in possible blindness instead of possible death was much easier to handle. We have marveled as we have seen all the ways that my cancer paved the way for us to understand and assist Emma with her eye challenges. God knows the end from the beginning, and He prepares us for our challenges. Thank goodness I can trust His hand in my life!

3. There are angels all around us. We were humbled and carried by so many people who helped us through the difficult weeks surrounding all of Emma's surgeries last year. I am always inspired by the goodness of others who reach out when they see needs. I want to be as good to others as so many people have been to us!

4. Good things come in all kinds of packages. Having Emma in our family has introduced us to lots of other families with special-needs children, and boy has that been an eye-opening experience! I marvel at the parents of children who have no diagnosis or whose needs and developmental delays are so difficult and consuming. Inside these different-looking bodies are some amazing little people who God sends to some pretty incredible parents and families. It is a privilege to rub shoulders with them.

I never knew I wanted a baby with extra needs, but I did. Emma has taught us more about patience, compassion, service, love, and joy than we knew before. I sure love our little girl!

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