The other day I was telling a new friend about Miss Banana's heart surgery. She asked me, "Was that hard?" My first response was, "um, YEAH!" I tried to say something polite while internally thinking that her three-word-question seemed like such a quaint, understated way to ask about the most life-altering year of my life--how was I supposed to respond when the word "hard" doesn't even begin to cover it? I have been mulling it over and over...(I'm sure she has long since moved on) but as I have replayed the past year and thought about how "hard" it has been, I think I would change my answer, or at least soften it. Has the past year been hard? Of course. Undeniably hard, stressful, and exhausting. At times I have felt so completely emotionally, physically, and spiritually drained that it was next to impossible to accomplish anything. I was in pure survival mode. "Was it hard?" YES!
But, as I have reflected on each challenge and looked at the year as a whole, all of the blessings we have been given rise above all the "hard" parts. When we first received Miss Banana's diagnosis, God prompted friends to call, stop by, send cards, watch the boys, and just be there to listen. Within two days of our amnio results, every single member of our family had called us to see how we were doing--without even knowing that we had had the amnio done. That on it's own is some sort of miracle! During Christmas, someone chose our family to do the "12 Days of Christmas" with...I have no idea who it was, but I will forever be grateful to them for leaving little presents on my doorstep for those 12 days--days when I was having a hard time feeling the Christmas spirit, but the fact that someone was thinking about me and cared, was a blessing.
After we learned about Miss Banana's heart defect, I felt like I had sustained another hit to my emotional battleship, but once again, we were blessed. Another family we know had had a baby that needed heart surgery and they were willing to answer all my questions and give me confidence that our surgeon was "a rock star heart surgeon". And the level of love and support that I found myself surrounded by was incredible.
Another blessing was that Dr. Corn found a great job--granted it is in part of the country that I had never imagined myself...but after having been here for less than a month and have already made some great friends, who can complain? We are blessed.
When Miss Banana was born, we were flooded with offers of help--I was overwhelmed by the amount of service people were willing to do for my little family. Dr. Corn's mom, my mom and my sister all came to stay for a week each. Friends dropped off dinners or gift cards for meals, T-Man and Fearless were welcomed at friends homes while I headed to all the various doctor appointments--even T-Man's preschool teacher came to take the boys for a day so I could get some much-needed rest. We were blessed.
Then came Miss Banana's heart surgery. Not only did my sister selflessly take the boys for a week, but there were countless others who offered to watch them if we needed. And Miss Banana herself--open heart surgery at 2 1/2 months is no small feat, but we were blessed that the surgery was successful, that she has recovered so well, that she is alive, happy, and growing and developing well.
In our big move, I was worried about the services Miss Banana would be getting, but the Early Intervention program here is so proactive, that we are blessed with a better program for her than we had before.
I cannot thank my friends and family enough for their love and support through the past year. I cannot thank my Father in Heaven enough for prompting so many people to help in so many ways; for blessing my husband with the ability to finish school, find a job and provide for our family; for blessing my boys with an unconditional love for their sister and the ability to care for her in a much more mature way than their age normally allows; for blessing Miss Banana with good doctors, good health--even with her life. And for blessing me with this wonderful opportunity to have my husband, to be a mother to two exceptional boys and one extraordinary little girl.
"Was it hard?" Yes, but we are blessed.
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