I was at a preschool event recently and a few of the other children had younger siblings present. They were walking around the classroom, playing, getting into bins, and trying to escape the room when Mommy or Daddy wasn't looking. Come to find out, they were the same age as Meagan. Even with 4 older sisters, it's amazing how quickly I forgot what they were like at this age. It seems only the big things have stuck in my memory.
I found myself smiling at the other children's exploration and all their cute little tendencies as they attempted to be part of their siblings' preschool class. As Meagan and I sifted through the school party, other parents would say to me "Oh she's such a miracle," or, "It's a miracle she is here." I hear the words, but do I ever fully stop to appreciate them?
They are certainly correct. Meagan has certainly had the deck stacked against her in many ways since virtually her conception, but she is here. In my arms. Snuggling me and smiling at her silly self in my dresser mirror. As I looked down at Meagan tonight, I could not imagine her absent from my life. But am I truly taking the time, each day, to take in everything about her and my other daughters? Am I taking advantage of the false pretense that we expect to have another day with our children? Am I recognizing the milestones or accomplishments Meagan works through as the only miracles in her life? Am I missing the little things that are in and of themselves miracles in her being?
I remember in the beginning noticing everything with her because I was always watching and waiting for something new.. or studying every part of her since she'd been apart from me so long in the NICU. I know I still appreciate those things, but, I don't think I've paused long enough to really put them to memory. For example, her hair. Meagan has great hair. (Lucky girl!) She always has, and as you all know, it has been extremely curly. In the last two months, her hair has grown so much! It is still wavy, but a lot of the actual ringlets have now stretched out. This made me a little sad because I loved her curls! But I did notice when she was sitting on my lap the other night that there is one large ringlet that still exists on the very top of her head near the front. Also, if I put her hair in pigtails now, the hair in each rubber band dries into a ringlet instead of straight. I wonder if she will keep these or they will also straighten into waves. But at least now, there are still a few curls left.
Before Meagan's surgery, I wrote about missing a lot of her old ridges and bumps that would be gone. As her head has changed and morphed since then, I have noticed a new bump that has seemed to stay. She has the cutest little ridge that is on the right side of her forehead (to your left in this photo). It becomes more prominent when she smiles. We'll see if it stays around, but for now, but I love that she has a new little forehead bump that adds to her character. It is like part of her old self has joined with her new self. She also loves to have her forehead rubbed to fall asleep....but only on that side.
Who doesn't love baby toes? Meagan's little feet and toes are so tiny and cute. She just recently moved up to a Size 2 shoe (yay). Even so, her feet are so dainty and sweet. And even sweeter is when she has her toes painted. I love watching her kick her feet back and forth on my lap. I don't remember my other kids' feet at this point - they were too busy keeping me on my toes getting in to everything. But how lucky that I get to snuggle Meagan daily and just admire her cute little pink toes - it's just too much!
I know a while back, I wrote about Meagan's eyelashes. They are still very long. If they made mascara that could get my lashes to look like hers, I'd buy it! They are the most gorgeous things. I love looking at them when she is smiling at me, and admiring them when she is sound asleep. I will never get tired of looking at her beautiful long lashes.
The beginning of last summer, when Meagan was finally starting to reach and touch toys or hands, she would curl her fingers and 'scratch' it over and over again. I guess it was her way of testing out the new things she was touching. Since working so hard on grabbing her toys, she doesn't do it all the time anymore ...but, for some reason, she still does it to my hand. If I put my hand out, she will put her hand in mine and curl up those cute tiny fingers and scratch. She loves hands. For some reason, she loves to look at them, study them, and even move them to her face. Her little hand scratch is something I don't want to forget.
Taking the time to actually stop and note each little miracle about Meagan has been a joy the last few days. I notice these things all the time, but rarely stop to think about, and put to memory, how blessed I am to see her beautiful curls, or little quirky behaviors everyday. We have so many appointments, therapies, and school and daily obligations with my other daughters that sometimes, Meagan's 'bigger' goals become the focus, and I forget some of the little things.
If God performs miracles, then certainly the little things that make up those wonders must be miracles in and of themselves. Those are the things that may get lost in the big picture of our busy lives. Years down the road, or when we have a tough day, I want to be able to look back and read about Meagan at 6 months old, 14 months old, 5 years old. Not necessarily what we did at therapy that week, but the curls, eyelashes, painted toes, and her unique behaviors like scratching my hand. I want to honor this special little life that God gave me by not just skimming the surface, or making progress notes or goal changes every 6 months with a doctor or therapist. I want to instead soak up all the little things along the way.....and remember them. It is only through viewing everything along this journey as a miracle that I can truly appreciate the special little girl God placed in my arms.
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." (Albert Einstein)