I'm so full of joy and gratitude that it's leaking out of my eyes in the form of tears. The emotions of the last ten months are definitely welling over. I might be weepy for days. I'm so, so, so, so thankful.
I'm thankful that Lily is a fighter. She's worked so hard and come so far. Good for her! I will always be proud of our little girl for that and will tell her stories of her resilience for years to come. She's got grit; there's no denying it.
I'm thankful for Gunnar (her brother). All the way he has been by her side, 'helping' her do therapy, cheering for her successes (Lily learned how to clap because she saw Brother cheering for her when she hit a milestone), being patient - oh so patient - during the hours of Lily-focused time. He has carried her (I think he's a burden-bearer in the making) and has loved her. It has been so beautiful to watch. I wish you could all have seen what I've seen in the daily places of life. He is an amazing little person with such a huge capacity for love and compassion. I'm very proud of him.
I'm thankful for what I've learned. It has been intense. It has been hard. It has been painful - very painful. But it has been good. I'm a changed person on the other side. Though I definitely wouldn't have sought out these changes, they are there now, and I'm sure that I'll need my new-found skills and perspective for whatever comes next in life. I have learned advocacy. I have learned not to doubt my own instinct. I have learned to make people listen when their first inclination is to blow you off. And if they won't, I have learned to leave and to choose to surround myself with people who will. I have learned, in a new way, how to persevere.
Though I'm still struggling with anger toward the folks who really hurt us in this process (to be honest about it), I'm also deeply, sincerely thankful for those who have helped. I want to name them, for the record, because they have made an eternal impact in this little family of ours:
- Teresa, Heidi, and Jan at ECI
- Allison at Big Sky Pediatric Therapy
- Dr. Lindsay Elton, a professional, brilliant practitioner and a caring doctor who knows how to listen well
- Dr. William Caldwell, Lily's first pediatrician - he was willing to go the extra mile and dig beneath the surface where others might not have
- Dr. Tammy McConnell, Lily's current pediatrician - also a good listener...she helps me problem-solve when I'm not sure what I'm seeing
- The wonderful, compassionate folks at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital - they do amazing work up there & treat you with dignity and respect
- Kevin McHorse, a pediatric physical therapist who always made himself available to answer questions and help direct us in the right direction, even though we weren't his patients
As I look back and choose thankfulness, I see a trail of good gifts. Thank you all, and praise God!