You wouldn’t know by looking at me that my body is broken. That for years we tried to have a child, only to fail. That it was not until the doctors intervened that my body finally worked for a little bit, enough to have Theadora. Enough to give us the biggest gift one can get. We thought I was fixed, but I wasn’t. We lost one in between Theadora and the twins; a dream disappeared followed by so many unanswerable questions. For years we hoped, and for every pregnancy I had, sadness, fear, and the unknown seemed to come along.
You wouldn’t know that my youngest daughter, Augustine, really should not be alive. That her conception should not have been possible. That my body did everything it could to get rid of her. That she was born almost 10 weeks early, 2 years ago today. That she was born so fast that the nurse caught her and rushed her away from us. You wouldn’t know that for 6 weeks our breaths were held as she fought to grow in the NICU. That the beeps and the alarms followed us home and I would wake in the middle of the night, wondering if she was breathing. That when we left the NICU with her, she weighed 5 pounds and I thought the doctors had made a mistake; surely something this fragile could not be ok.
But she is. She is strong. She is bright. She is stubborn. She is ok.
When she goes to school, no one will know how fragile her beginning was. When she goes to learn, no one will know that we were told that she may have learning disabilities because my body forced her into this world too early. Nobody will know how many brain scans she had to have to make sure that there had been no damage.
Every child that comes to us has a beginning. A story we do not know. A story that may still shape them to this day. A story that is hidden and yet still plays a part in their life.
Don’t forget the story. You never know how much someone’s beginning plays a part in their now. We do not just teach children for one year, but we teach them for all of their years. Even the years, we did not know them.
Happy birthday, Augustine. May you continue to astonish us with your strength, your spirit. May you continue to be perfectly average, because we never wanted anything more.
If you are looking for a great book club to join to re-energize you in January, consider the Passionate Learners book club on Facebook. We kick off January 10th.