Every year, I think it’ll get easier. Every year, I think I’ll just get to celebrate. Every year, I’m surprised at how all the feelings sneak up on me.
Eight years, and I can’t seem to figure out that none of this is going to go away.
Every year, I will look forward to her birthday. Every year, I will congratulate myself on how much easier it is going to be this year. Every year, I will think that I’m over all of that silly stuff.
And every year, I will think back to the Before. Every year, I will remember the Immediate After. Every year, I will relive the fear, the tears, the absolute blood chilling terror of those early minutes and hours and days and weeks.
But every year, I will also look at the tiny baby in those pictures and remember HER. I will remember how I didn’t know her then, but I do now. I will think back to how tiny she was in my arms, but I will also wish that I had soaked up those days without the fear intruding into every moment.
And I will wish I could soak up our current days without the fear intruding into still too many moments.
But eight years.
Eight years we have been blessed to watch her grow, to watch her figure out life in creative ways, to hold her, to comfort her, to encourage her, to tell her that no, it’s not okay to lie to her sister that Mommy said they could play a video game when NoIDidNot.
Every year, though, every.single.year, I think there will always be this part. The ache of those early days when everything we ever knew or thought or dreamed was changed so entirely.
And my mind and my body and my heart will insist that I grieve some, that I feel some of that sadness and fear again, but then it will remind me, too, that the reason we were fearful, the reason we were sad, was because she was OURS. She was our baby and we desperately wanted her to be okay.
And eight years later…she is. She’s okay. She’s HER. It’s a different okay than we’d imagined, but it’s her okay. And it’s a freaking stellar version.
Every year, I will more than likely have to go back to the memories of that terrified mother, lying in a hospital bed, pleading for God to save her baby.
How could I not?
But hopefully every year, we will thank God for saving her then and so many other times and for giving us another year.
And hopefully, every year, for the rest of my life, I will get to look at who she is NOW and how she’s grown and how blessed we are to still have her in our lives.