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Pretty little Package

on December 28, 2013

The holiday season is mostly behind us now. This year things did not go as I had planned. I envisioned laying in bed on Christmas morning and waking to the pitter patter….. Oh who am I kidding?…. The thump and running of a seven year olds feet hurrying to see the beautiful packages Santa had left under the tree. He would run into my room and wake his Daddy to open those gifts. We would gather our new babies and sit in front of the fireplace wearing Jammie’s and sipping hot cocoa while our son opened each gift and then played with all of his new things. However, as Christmas drew near it became clear that my vision was merely a dream. We were destined to spend our Christmas in the NICU with our daughter the same as we had spent the last four and a half months.

Life has been a blur. I can’t say that I’m sad to have missed most of the hustle and bustle that comes with this time of year. I did miss seeing lights and decorations as they were sparse in the hospital and taking the kids to see Santa. Our seven year old had a lofty wish list this year and our current living situation restricted our ability to make his Christmas dreams come true as well. I was beginning to feel like a failure of a mom.

While my older guys were watching football one weekend. I managed to catch a few commercials. The first one showed scenes of beautifully wrapped gifts with perfect creases, color combinations and bows. The contents of each package were not shown. However, the commercial gave an idea of what the “perfect” gift should look like on the outside. I would imagine everyone wanting a gift so beautiful! Similarly, society creates an idea of the “perfect” situation (Christmas day for me) or even life. I have found myself working hard to achieve those “perfect” little moments and devastated when my work falls short.

The second commercial (Target) showed someone opening a wrapped gift shaped as a vacuum. The wrapping wasn’t pretty. In fact, you could expect the recipient to be less than excited with the implications of that gift. But she was blown away and thrilled once she opened that package and saw what was actually inside was headphones! Who knew something so treasured could come in a less desirable packaging?

This commercial caused me to reflect on my youngest child (by one whole minute)! When Audrey came it was much like I imagine Christmas morning for the girl in the second commercial. I knew I was receiving a gift, but was not excited by the implications of her “wrapping”. You see, Audrey was born with several birth defects most of which could be repaired. However, She was also born with Down Syndrome. Nothing could change that. I imagined a life filled with greater trials, working harder, less travel, less of the things I had worked hard for, less of my own “perfection” created by society’s views. I didn’t ask for a child destined to have developmental delays and a roadmap of scars from so many surgical procedures. I wanted to take my life and wrap it back up for the next recipient just like a regifted present, but could not (thankfully). Instead I found myself slowly untying the ribbon and peeling back the wrapping paper. I was ready to put on my game face and politely say thank you for that present that everyone dreads receiving, but found myself as surprised as that girl from the Target ad. I had received a gift so beautiful that I couldn’t have known to ask for her. I have spent almost five months finding out that what society says about Down Syndrome is not what my daughter is. She is so much more than a diagnosis. She is beautiful and has a smile that lights up a room. Her eyes sparkle as she watches and listens to people so intently. Since her two major surgeries have been done Audrey now smiles regularly and laughs and coos occasionally. She plays with toys and adores her brothers and dad. She cries. She interacts. She loves. She is my perfect daughter, my pretty little package.

I would have missed out on so much had my life unfolded the way I had planned. I am thankful it did not. As I lay here with my husband and oldest son watching the New Year’s celebrations on the television I wonder how many people are making resolutions to help their lives reach a state of “perfection”. I have also decided on a New Year’s resolution. For 2014 my resolution is to plan less and accept that perfect comes in so many different packages. I hope to live my life less about society’s views for what is right and embrace the surprises and moments that life brings me. Happy New Year’s!


3 responses to “Pretty little Package

  1. carla jones says:

    Happy New Year to you and your precious family Christina. Our Lord has His hand on your family and he surely has and is continuing to bless you with his presence and love. You have my continued prayers and hope that one day soon you will all be able to go home. Looking forward to new updates

  2. innasavova says:

    You are an amazing person, Christina! Audrey will be a very happy child to grow with such a good mother by her side!

  3. Susie says:

    I am sitting here reading your blog in shock and joy, and awe at God’s amazing ways. Forgive my boldness, but it seems clear I that you and I must be supposed to become friends. My name is Susie, and my own Princess Audrey is nearing three years old, and she too was born with long gap esophageal atresia. She too lived in the NICU for six months and has had numerous surgeries and complications. She too has older siblings, including a baby big brother who, while not a twin, was still so little when Audrey was first born that leaving him to drive to the hospital every day it felt like my heart was split in two. My own past eight months have been a blur and I have neglected her blog, but a friend recently had some images from her blog used without her permission elsewhere on the Web, and I’d be hearing horror stories about entire blogs being copied onto someone else’s site, so out of paranoia I did a quick web search for “Audrey esophagus”, and just like that– I found you. For as rare a condition as long gap EA is, the similarities between us are uncanny. As I read your blog, I am speechless because although they are not, your words could have been mine– so many of the things you have felt and experienced, the unexpected yet perfect package, the cradling hands of the Lord, even the tone of your voice in these beautifully written pages– these have been our journey as well. I look forward to talking more and following your continued journey. Congratulations on coming this far! Perhaps my Audrey being farther along in our adventure will be a strength and comfort to you, and I am learning much too, from the precious things you have shared. Happy New Year, indeed. What a gift to meet you.
    God bless you all,

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