The other night I danced around the kitchen with our five-month-old daughter in my arms. I don’t remember what song was playing. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I was dancing. With our daughter. In our home.
With each new verse came a wave of gratitude. I dreamed of doing this for so long. For the eight months I carried my little girl in utero and for the seventy-three days we spent in the NICU. The experience of her health challenges opens my eyes to the simple things of motherhood I would likely take for granted or perhaps even complain about otherwise.
If not for the hardship, would I appreciate the freedom to spin around the room with my baby and not get tangled in monitor wires (otherwise known as Charlotte’s web. Bahaha, that joke never gets old)? Would I know the incredible joy of having her in our home and not in a hospital? Would I celebrate each coo, giggle and smile? Would I be so satisfied that I get to put clothes on her without navigating heart leads, IV’s, drainage tubes, catheters and pulse ox’s? Would I appreciate the opportunity to feed her whenever she’s hungry and not withhold her next meal in prep for another surgery or test?
Would I know the incredible joy of being the one bathing her, changing her diaper, washing her spit-up and blow-out stain-ridden clothes, and rocking her to sleep rather than a nurse doing these things? Would I understand what an honor it is to be the one getting up with her late at night and early in the morning, rather than waking to an empty room and an alarm clock screeching at me to pump … again?
One thing I know for sure – I would never have understood how great it is that I no longer have to leave my child for shift change. That is possibly the longest half-hour of a NICU mom’s life!
Don’t get me wrong. While I’m so thankful we are no longer in the NICU, I’m forever grateful for it. I’m thankful for the talented doctors and nurses who cared for Charlotte like she was their own, and provided the space for God to work incredible miracles through them. They provided the care for her that I couldn’t.
Every mama has challenges with her children, whether health related or not. Being a mom is hard work. Today we celebrate moms around the world for all they do. And today, I celebrate all the ordinary things of motherhood that are truly extraordinary. I pray I never take these things for granted.
May we all find joy in the seemingly common aspects of raising our children. May we all dance around the kitchen and celebrate today. It doesn’t matter what song it is. Turn it up and start spinning!
Happy Mother’s Day ladies!