Little Heart is officially a High School kid.
Yesterday they had a whole8th grade graduation ceremony with gowns (no caps) and gave out awards and everyone crossed the stage to get their diploma. I admit, I cried a little. Ok, I cried a lot. Everyone around me in the bleachers surely thought I was one of those crazy parents who hover and make a big deal about every little thing my kids do. Maybe I am, but I don't care. I couldn't be prouder of my kiddos.
Part of what choked me up was just the realization that all this might never have happened. Had I taken the advice of some very well-meaning doctors, I would never have brought her into the world. Had I taken a path with more certainty, I would have faced even more heartache from losing her quickly. Had she decided to give even one ounce less of a fight, she would have been a much different child. Without the incredible support of my family, all the prayers, the doctors, nurses, surgeons, hospital staff, and even all our friends my Little Heart MIGHT have been smaller, weaker, sicker, developmentally delayed or permanently inhibited.But she isn't.
What I have now, in my oldest daughter, is a wonderful, amazing, beautiful young woman who is literally capable of anything any other average child is. Just that fact alone is a miracle. That she didn't just survive, but EXCELLED at this thing called life... well, it just takes my breath away.
Here's a few little secrets I haven't told her. I am so proud of her I could bust. There isn't one thing that she does in her daily life that doesn't astound me. Everything from waking up and dressing herself to making her way through school and on back to being the normal kid she is around all her friends - all of it is something I never thought would happen. Her little sisters look up to her and think she is the coolest EVAR and I can't blame them. I kind of agree. I have to keep it quiet, though, or I might just blow my whole cover.
First off, I do tell her I am proud of her. I tell her all the time. I just can't say just HOW proud I am. Here's why I can't tell her that every day. Not only are there not enough words to describe it adequately, but I am afraid to really let her know what a miraculous creation she is to me. You see, I strive every moment of every day to make sure she believes she is the same as everyone else. If I let on just how amazing it is that she can make her own ramen noodles in the afternoon, maybe she will stop striving to be better and better than she already is. If I tell her that her reading Twilight or a Harry Potter book is commendable for someone that I was told might not live to learn to read, will decide that she doesn't need to work harder and reach further? Will she become so confident in her own limits that she won't try to push them?
I guess it is a pretty backwards way to think - that if I tell her that she means more to me than breath, that she will take it for granted and maybe won't live up to even more? Also, I think it is a bit scary to ME to realize it sometimes. Looking at her, I see a fragile china doll, not a sturdy 13 year old who is ready to take on the world. What if she starts to view herself as breakable and starts to fear the rough side of life? I don't want anything to ever cause her to pause and rethink how far she can push herself. I managed to convince her to join the marching band next year. She thinks it will be a lot of work and all she can focus on is giving up her last month of vacation to start band practice early. Little does she realize that it's all for me. I want to be able to go to every football game and see my little girl on the field or in the stands and be able to say to everyone around, "That's MY girl. The little one with the trumpet! That's HER! We never thought she would leave the hospital 14 years ago and now look at her!"
I am confident that she knows I love her and that I am proud of her. I just can't bring myself to even come close to letting on just how much that is. I'm going to go hug her and punch her in the arm and say something like, "You're cool, for a kid."
What I will be saying in my heart is, "You are the most incredible creation I have ever come into contact with. I couldn't imagine loving you more or being more proud of you."
Maybe she will be able to read between the lines.
Deb "Band Mom" Lollar