Will You Love Me?

4Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy, 
is not boastful, is not conceited, 
5does not act improperly,
is not selfish, is not provoked, 
and does not keep a record of wrongs.
6Love finds no joy in unrighteousness
but rejoices in the truth. 
7It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things….
.Now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.”
In about 30 minutes, I will hear your tiny voice – a perfect mashup of Micky Mouse and Alvin and the Chipmunk – singing a song from one of your favorite shows. You always wake up joyful. Always excited about the day…no matter what.
Today is a special day.  I get to go to your preschool and have breakfast with you.  It’s a rite of passage for moms – “Muffins for Moms” – the tradition early morning coffee, muffins, at preschools and schools.
But today is also a special day because today is the day you asked me to love you.
Four years ago on this very day, October 13, 2011, we found out about how special you would really be.
We sat in the specialist office and the normal excitement of the fetal ultrasounds was replaced by hushed whispers, furrowed brows, concerned glances.
I cannot erase the words from my memory no matter how hard I try.
“Heart did not form correctly.”
“Severe cleft lip and palate.”
“Not compatible with life.”
“May not make it birth…”
“Consider your options….”
As I rubbed my belly and felt you kick, a numbness found home in my soul.  I did not know if I should start distancing myself from you.  I did not know if I should stop planning your life and start planning a goodbye.  I did not know if I was allowed to dream of you anymore. I did not know if I was supposed to love you.
And then…with one swift kick in my gut…so forceful with so much strength…I heard a whisper in my thoughts and my heart…
“Love me.”
It was in that moment I knew I had to trust that no matter what life would look like, if I chose to love you, I would experience a love unparalleled to the one you were about to show me.
And in that moment..I did.  I chose to love you.  Shame flooded my heart for even thinking of letting them hurt you.  For even thinking that I was capable of something so brutal – so final.  But, I did…I did not think I could have a child like you.  A child that looked different, was different, would always be different.
But, in that moment, I knew that I needed to love you…no matter how much pain would weave in and out of that same love.
When you were born, your diagnosis was so much worse than we had anticipated.  Your chance of survival – even to your first birthday – was bleak.
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But, I heard in my heart that same plead from you to me….”Love me.”
“Love is patient….”
 
I remember pushing with all I had in me to bring you into this world. Your faint..then strong cries..and a shame in that moment when I did not want to see you because your face was not the face I dreamed of.
And then the nurse, brought you to my arms and said, “Look at your son.  He is beautiful.”
And you were.
“Love is kind…”
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As I learned about you and the special care you would need throughout your life, I found myself thrown into a world full of other moms and babies like you.  I found myself wanting them to live as much I wanted you to live.  I realized that the fight for each life was so personal for me that I wanted nothing but joy for all of us.
“Love does not envy…”
 
And then I found out that happy ever afters are only in the fairy tales, as I witnessed babies passing every single day.  I mourned with the mothers that had to say goodbye.  I held you tighter and gave thanks harder.  I watched strength and resolve emerge from the ashes of sorrow.  I witnessed unconditional love as a mother said goodbye for now but still fought for others who were still living.
“It bears all things, believes all things…”
 
You asked me to love you.  A whisper from your fighting spirit to my broken heart. But, in my soul, I was too afraid of what loving you would mean.  I was too afraid the pain would be greater than I could bear.  I was too afraid that I would be too helpless and too weak.  I was too afraid that I would never experience a life I dreamed for, for the child I had hoped for and prayed for.
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I know that your story  is unfolding incredibly well.  I do not take for granted the mere fact that you are alive.  I do not take for granted that can play, can eat, can drink, can talk…that you are so much more than I dreamed of.
There were 3 moments in your life that I thought were going to be our goodbyes.  Three moments where doctors looked me in the eye and had silence…because they did not know if you were going to live.
But, you did.  You did.  And you are.  You live life to fullest everyday.  You have a joy and a spirit that takes life and squeezes best moments out of the day.
Everyday you teach me and remind me that love isn’t just about joy or happiness.  Love is about true acceptance.  Unconditional acceptance of what is to come…pain, fight, sorrow.
I love you.  I love you with a fierceness and a strength that I did not know existed in me.  I did not know I could love someone that needed more than I could give yet would give me back more than I deserved.
Thank you for making today a day that I will always remember forever.
As a day I learned to truly love someone.
“…faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.”
 My Warrior

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