As I've mentioned once or twice, we did not take the easiest path to parenthood. It's hard to believe now, twenty years later. It's amazing how little anyone remembers or considers what was possibly the most life altering thing to ever happen to me.
But it's true. It's been twenty years since that newlywed couple was thrust into parenthood sooner than planned, only to have it ripped away in a matter of weeks. It's been twenty years since the first well-meaning person told me, "It's okay. You're young. You can have another one." It's been twenty years since everything I thought I knew was turned upside down.
Last November I read about The Shine Project over on Kelle Hampton's blog. Kelle used a picture of this bracelet, which jumped right out at me since Grace share's Kelle's love for this particular quote.
I immediately ordered one for Grace for Christmas, and hesitated only a moment before ordering a second one that says "the love stays", a phrase made near and dear to my heart by Marcia McGinnis, the founder of SHARE Atlanta and the woman who saved me when I was in the depths of despair.
If I've learned anything in 20 years it's that the love does stay. The pain fades into the background with each new lesson learned and hardship faced. It becomes less tender with the celebrations and the joys of new life. But not a day goes by when I have not been touched by those precious little souls; not a moment passes when I have not been changed.
The lessons I learned from my babies, and from so many others whose lives I got to know sitting in the SHARE group and listening to their parents, are life changing and long lasting.
- You never know what someone else is going through. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
- Fancy letters after someone's name are no equal for the friend who's been down the same road.
- Closure doesn't mean you stop remembering. Or loving.
Happy birthday to my first baby, Jesse David! You are forever with me. I love you!