Rooted in Courage

She meticulously made her entrance into this world on a brisk March day 23 years ago and quickly made a sensation in the delivery room at Duke University Medical Center by topping out the scale at 10 pounds, 15 ounces.  And to think that when I heard the nurse say “10-15”, I thought that was the time our daughter was born!  Actual time was 10:19 p.m.

Curiosity became her mantra early on and at only 3 days old, she leaned so far forward in her baby swing that this mother caught a glimpse of what might be on the mind of this little girl—exploration! The monthly wall calendar had only been flipped 15 times when Larry and I walked through the door carrying a baby girl who was cramped in a 0-3 month sleeper.  Poor planning on my part for not properly packing my hospital suitcase!

Now I look back on the day we brought her home from the hospital and realize that she had no idea where she was heading—of the home that she would be raised in—of the sibling that she would affectionately call “E.B.” during toddlerhood.  Being the parent of a special needs child has its challenges and was obviously new territory for my husband and me.  But being the sibling of a child with special needs—I did not know how that felt at all.  The baby girl began to crawl and develop at a precocious rate and, yes, passed all milestones that her brother 15 months older had not even begun to achieve.

Sarah was 6 months old when she gave us one of many memorable moments that set the course for her future as Adam’s sister.  Larry and I were in the kitchen and both children were freely crawling around the house when we heard laughter from the family room—not just Sarah laughing, but Adam as well.  We peeped into the room to find Sarah literally inches from Adam’s face and they were enjoying a laughing match.  Until that day, we had never heard Adam laugh, but Sarah gently and courageously entered his world dictated by the mystical, malfunctioning neurotransmitters of autism and an unbreakable bond was forged.

The monthly wall calendar has been turned many, many times since that brisk March day with a baby in a sleeper far too little for her.   As I sit here in my favorite recliner in the family room that’s had a facelift, I ponder the courage that it took for the infant to crawl into Adam’s world, for the little girl to invite her friends for a sleepover, for the teenage girl to have a group of teenagers hang out at her house and for the young woman to watch her husband deploy three times in five years and I realize that she’s equipped for this audacious adventure–for she is rooted with a quiet courage that will go with her all the days of her life.

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6 thoughts on “Rooted in Courage

  1. I think there is something purely sacred about living with someone who has special needs. It seems the children, like your daughter, who grow up in their presence possess a special sensitivity that most of us don’t. I’m sure you will have lots of stories to tell us Martha. Seeing through your eyes will be a gift. So glad you launched your own blog, its beautiful. (You should link up with Jennifer’s #Tell HisStory community tomorrow. *wink*)

    • Thank you for your wisdom-filled comments! Indeed, God uses all of His instruments to create a beautiful symphony during this audacious adventure! Together, our experiences will hopefully create melodious compositions! I’ll certainly try and link up with #TellHisStory community.

  2. So glad you posted your link on Shelly’s facebook page today. I was blessed, and yes, moved to tears. I have a little granddaughter who is running and talking and surpassing her brother’s milestones when he was just one. And she too is bringing much love and laughter into her autistic brother’s life. And I am happy to say that at 8 years of age, big brother has surpassed many a hurdle and is such a brilliant, joyful, loving and talented guy. There is nothing he won’t embrace – he is even brave enough to try almost any food you put on his plate these days. What a joy and a blessing they both are. Created, each unique, but in the image of God. Breathtaking! Your story stirs even greater hope in my heart for the future. Thank you!

    • Kelly, I’m grateful that God has forged another friendship through Facebook where we’re now connected. I look forward to hearing wonderfully, exciting stories of your granddaughter and grandson. God delights in writing the chapters of our lives and there are tons of chapters awaiting your grandchildren where God will show Himself mighty and powerful in their little lives!

  3. Martha, how lovely to “meet you” tonight through Shelly! Love the theme of your blog and the C.S. Lewis quote you shared. 🙂

    I taught high school language arts for years, and one of my favorite quotes about courage is from Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird: “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

    This life can really be hard, but I find such encouragement from reading beautiful stories like the one you shared here. It gives me hope that tomorrow I will be able to put one foot in front of the other for one more day.

    • Lyli, it’s pure pleasure to “meet you” as well through Shelly. I continue to be amazed at the community of writers on Facebook and feel that my blog launch has completely catapulted this fifty-something woman into the 21st century! Thank you for sharing Lee’s quote. What profound truth lies in those words for all of us on this temporary journey! I look forward to getting to know you and have already added your Facebook page to my Worthy Writers interest list.

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