It’s Been 7 Amazing Years…

7 years ago, June 14th, 2010, we were told we would have a son.  7 years ago we were told our son had Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele.  7 years ago our world came crashing down around us without warning, without reservations and with a lot of fear.

I hope that day will never pass without me simply pausing for a second to allow my thoughts to overwhelm me as well as comfort me. I hope my pause on that date, each year, consists of gratitude and thanksgiving to God.  I hope my thoughts allow me to smile no matter if I am around someone or simply by myself.

Our SB journey is not at all what we imagined 7 years ago nor is it what we would have ever have dreamed.  Every child, every person who has Spina Bifida has a completely different story.  Our story consists of a lot of miracles.  It consists of perseverance and the belief that no matter what, our son will be strong and powerful.

My thoughts go back to the 14th of June so many years ago and I wish I could tell my pregnant self that it will all be okay.  Even if Teak had not walked or jumped, that it would be okay.  New experiences are full of fear when you do not know the outcome but the outcome would have been great no matter what our child became.

We are thankful for his success story but at the same time, do not want to take away from other SB success stories.  Their success comes out of their determination and their struggles with living in a world that is not always so accepting of differences.

Our son has his own issues with his hearing loss and his speech delays.  We are working through this day by day.  I know that he will one day speak just as good or better than his peers but for the time being we will continue to nurture him.  I will continue to be his biggest advocate in his education as well as among his medical team.  I don’t ever want him to feel alone in this world and always want him to reach higher while chasing his dreams.

Teak will one day change the world for the better.  I hope this for all children especially ones with special needs.  The world will one day see their differences as powerful.

♥Abigail

For more posts about Teak and his special journey click on links below.

A Letter to My Son…

6 Years Ago

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6 Years Ago – 10.28.10

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It is has been 6 years since this amazing, energetic, strong willed, curly red head of mine has been on this earth.  Sometimes I wonder what God was thinking letting go of this angel to allow me, someone full of flaws, to be his mama.  I was chosen to be his mother, the good, the bad, the ugly, and of course the blessings are all mine (and my husbands) to share with this growing boy.  My son, Teak.

He did not come into this earth as most children do.  He was born with Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele.  I find it so fitting that the month he was born, the month of October, is Spina Bifida Awareness Month.  SB is not something that is widely known or even heard or talked about in one’s day to day, however, there is not a day that goes by since June 14, 2010 (the day we found out) that I do not think about Spina Bifida.  My son doesn’t “look” like he has Spina Bifida nor does he act like, heck, he barely understands he has it.  It can be and is a very debilitating disability.  Teak was supposed to be in a wheel chair.  He was not supposed to run, jump, climb, or even walk without some kind of brace.

The day he was born was such a blur yet I remember it so clearly.  I was exactly 39 weeks along and we had a scheduled C-Section early in the morning.  Our nerves were so intensified by the worries, the what ifs on that day, yet, we were about to be new parents so excitement illuminated over the negative feelings.  We knew the whole experience would not be like a typical birth but on the flip side, it was going to be our own experience.  Something special to us no matter the road bumps we were about to go over. When looking back on that day, so many emotions surface.  Since we knew beforehand, we were able to mentally prepare ourselves.  Once that baby boy was outside of my body, I knew that my role as mother wouldn’t parallel a normal mother role.

My son was rushed to Dell Children’s Hospital within hours of his birth to prepare for the intense surgery that would close up his spine.   I had to put my trust in God and the doctors as well as the nurses who would take care of him.  I had to put trust in God to keep our neurosurgeon’s hand sturdy.   I knew my role as mother meant to take care of myself, push through my pain as though I had none because it would not even compare.  Pumping milk, walking, sleeping…those were included in my most important things to do for the first two days of my son’s life so that I could get to him.  Get to my son and hold him, then nurse him, then wait until he heals enough to take him home.

As soon as you hear the word Spina Bifida when you are pregnant, it is purely devastating and simply crippling.  Your world crashes down around you like a crumbling building in the middle of downtown.  You truly are not sure what is up or down and are just thankful that your feet make it flat to the floor as you walk.  The days following are not much better, however, as a week goes by then another week, you begin to build your dreams back up for your child.  The building is not going to be the same, it will definitely look different, however you now know it will be like no other.  This difference in your child is upsetting at first and then you begin to see it as a blessing in disguise.  With me and Chad, we immediately began to look to God for help and security of what was to come.  Our faith became stronger as well as our marriage.  Sometimes, I wonder if that was part of the purpose of our beautiful son, to strengthen our marriage and our faith in the Lord.  To hold strong in his promises that he will always provide.  That it is his will for our lives to live abundantly although it may not look the way we originally expected it to look like or look the way the world has taught us to see how an abundant life might look.

This child of mine is amazing.  He is so full of life.  Friendly, never met a stranger.  Always ready to go.  He loves people and people love him.  He is creative and thoughtful.  Kind and forgiving.  He is part of my life’s purpose and I am especially grateful.

♥Abigail

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A Letter to My Son…

A letter to my son on his first day of kindergarten.            8.22.16   

Dear Teak, my first born, my son (aka Rockstar Cheetah),

First of all, your father, and I love you very much!  And of course your sister even when you don’t share.  Always remember that you are a very special child who has already overcome obstacles that any average adult will never have the chance to overcome.  You are so unaware of what you have overcome and it does not affect you or your personality.

You are vibrant.  Everyone notices you when you walk into a room.  Sure, it might be the curly red hair and blue eyes and big smile but you have a presence about you that no one can take away.  You are a perfect child of God and were placed in this world for a reason.

Always be honest with yourself and who you want to be.  You say you want to be a rockstar then be the rockstar that you have already become. Do not follow others simply for the sake of fitting in because you will always stand out.  You are different, however different is good.  Actually different is great.  Top athletes, head surgeons, and even award winning actors are different because they have become the best at what they do.  Different means that you are not like others and that is a good thing.  I want to instill this in you.  I do not think I do this enough.  Some days with you are incredibly frustrating and some days with you are a little less frustrating, however, I am so very thankful for all the days that I have had with you and will continue to have with you throughout your life.  Continue being strong willed and overzealous even when it drives mama crazy… continue to and always be the one and only you!

The next 13 years will be difficult and trying and mentally exhausting as well as emotional at times.  You will make friends and lose friends.  You will have crushes and will be crushed on. You will feel included and feel left out.  You will laugh and cry.  But I want you to know that I will always be there for you.  You are incredible and you must always remember that you are an incredible person.

Always be open to meeting new people and open to learning everything so you can be the best that you can be.  Never give up on what you are doing and what you want to accomplish.  I pray that you are always kind to others and treat them with dignity even when they do not.

You have such a competitive spirit about you.  Always be humble whether you lose or win.  When you lose, you learn and grow.  Win when you deserve to win, lose when you deserve to lose.  Learn in the losses AND in the wins.  Believe in yourself and what you can do. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been known to say, “Don’t listen to the naysayers.”  So don’t ever listen to them.   Naysayers cast gloom on other people.

I want you to experience everything that life is offering you but at the same time I want to hold you tight and never let you go.  I know that you are only 5 years old right now, however, you have the world at your fingertips.  Take a hold of it and do not to let it go.

Good luck in kindergarten and forever in school, college and beyond.  I love you to the moon and back.

♥ Mama

To check out some other posts (especially June 14, 2012) about my son and his journey go to The Curve Balls of Life

Today you are you!  That is truer than true!  There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

You’re off to Great Places!  Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting, So…get on your way!

  • Dr. Suess

“You were born to shine.” From The Crown on Your Head by Nancy Tillman

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.  The important thing is to not stop questioning.

  • Albert EinsteinTeak Kinder Letter Banner