Yesterday was my daughter's birthday. Serendipitously, we had family in town the same weekend, so we had everyone over to our house for cake and ice cream. She helped me make her strawberry birthday cake first thing yesterday morning, before we went to church, so it would be cool enough to ice by the time we got home. We had a fun afternoon/evening of visiting with family. My cousin Nancy and I have not seen each other in years-- we used to be close as teens, then lost touch as we went to different colleges, married, had kids, and she became a hotshot assistant district attorney! I am very proud of her, but I never did get to hear a funny story about some of the odd cases she has tried. We have planned to do a girls weekend hopefully in February, so I think that will be a good time for me to hear some of those. Nancy, get your thinking cap on! We have planned BIG things for our girls weekend... watching chick flicks and doing nothing but catching up. Good things. Good for the soul.
But this is not about me, Nancy, or our girls' weekend. This is about my daughter's eighth birthday. When my third child was born with a rare birth defect that caused serious eating and breathing problems, it rocked my world, to put it mildly. I had two little children to care for, and a son with a trach and a gtube and multiple hospitalizations that dragged on for two years. He had so many surgeries and infections and scared us so many times. In the midst of that, I wondered if we would ever have another baby. I talked to God a lot about what we were hearing from geneticists (no guarantees that it wouldn't happen again, but nothing saying it would) and from well-meaning friends and family who advised we cut our losses and be happy with what we had. I had had two healthy children I had totally taken for granted, and the promise of a child who would one day get better, but I longed to have another child. I told people I didn't want my last memory of a delivery room to be the emergency scene that his birth was. Right or wrong, that was where my heart was at that time.
One day I went to hear a speaker at my mothers' group who shared about her long wait for her only child. As they struggled with infertility, she held on to the promise that she felt God had given her that she would one day have the child she longed for. At that moment, I felt God whisper to my heart that I would have another child, a daughter. I can't explain it except to say that, in that moment, I received my promise from God. We went through two miscarriages after that-- but I never lost sight of that promise. Even when the miscarriages looked like God's promises would be thwarted, I for some reason could still thank God-- praising Him that He was going to give us a healthy baby girl in His timing. Not ours.
The gap between my third and my fourth is the largest in all the kids. Three and a half years. It divides our family into "the olders" and "the youngers." But it also divides my children into "when I didn't appreciate the gift of a healthy child" to "when I did." I tell people I had three I didn't appreciate, then God redeemed the time and gave me three I did. I am humbled. I am grateful. And on her birthday every year, I remember that promise fulfilled in a little girl who loves Hannah Montana, High School Musical, her family and friends, pizza and is my little prayer warrior. I love you, little girl. I am a blessed mommy.