One of the greatest things about being a parent is being able to watch your children grow and reveal bit by bit who they truly are. When they are little, it seems like everyday you capture a glimpse of their identity and it is exciting! Like right now, Harriet has been working hard on learning how to control her hands and manipulate them so that she can grab hold of a toy and place it in her mouth. She would get so angry when she tried to will her arms and hands outward to grasp that toy dangling right in front of her but her fingers would remain interlocked and her hands would not go any further than the tip of her nose. Oh, she was mad. I know she was dropping a few F-bombs in her head. But no matter how discouraged or frustrated she would get, she refused to give up, and oh, how we all laughed when we would watch her eyes cross and her nose crunch up as she tried to channel the force to get those two appendages of hers to move. And then it happened. I am not sure the exact moment when she was finally able to control her hands and arms, but all week she has been basking in the sweet glow of victory and showing off her newly acquired skill. Often, I would enter the living room to find her lying off of her playmat but still holding onto one of the toys attached overhead with the biggest, cheesiest grin on her face.
Yep, mom. I did it. This one is not getting away from me.
It would not surprise me one bit if Harriet breaks the Webster record for walking. Seriously, this girl is determined, and she's a mover and a shaker. I don't remember any of my other kids being quite this mobile at such a young age and my kids are active kids. Go, Baby Girl! You show those brothers of yours.
When your kids get older, though, you begin to assume that you know everything about them. You create a clear picture for yourself of the adult they are going to become, but every once and awhile they surprise you. They reveal another dimension to their personality; this trait was probably always there but just lacked the opportunity to present itself, or more likely had to develop and grow before it could make its appearance.
I have known for a long time that Zoe is intelligent. I have known that she is a hard worker, that she is funny, that she is strong, that she is confident, and that she is beautiful, both inside and out, but this past week Zoe unveiled a new trait and it is one I never thought my baby girl had: Zoe is incredibly brave. As many of you know, Zoe's colitis has once again reared its ugly head and has come back with a vengeance. It is mad, and it is smart. It laughs in the face of diet changes and homeopathic remedies, and most recently, it has unlocked the secret to conquering modern medicine. And we are talking about some hefty, expensive drugs. Yep, the latest medication they gave Zoe only lasted a couple of days. It didn't stand a chance . . . RIP Sinfoni.
Upon realizing that her body could no longer be fooled into remission, my big, baby girl, who has battled this disease for four excruciating years, who has had to spend far too much of her teenage years in the hospital or lying on our couch rather than experiencing life, decided that she has had enough and that she is ready to once and for all rid her body of this disease. It was then that my big, baby girl made the bravest decision of her life:
Mom, I am not going to try any more medications. It is time I have the surgery.
And I cried. Initially, I cried because it felt like were giving up, like we had lost the battle. For a moment it felt like all the doctors we consulted, all the medicines and procedures we tried, and all the hospitals visits we had made were in vain. It felt like colitis had won, and I hate to lose, so I cried. But then, I looked in Zoe's eyes. This was not the girl who I had skipped out of the first doctor's office with when her initial symptoms had disappeared and we were told it was probably just some bacterial infection she had eventually beaten. This was not the same girl who a year later had decided to go on a paleo diet to beat the disease naturally even if that meant she would never drink another glass of milk or eat another white roll again. This was not the girl who also decided that year to be homeschooled in an attempt to reduce the external stressors in her life. This was not the same girl who during our eight day stay at the IWK became so fed up with me that she texted her father asking him to text me and tell me to get out of the room. This was not the same girl who cried in my arms just two months ago when her symptoms became bad once again. No, I was now looking into the eyes of my grown daughter, my daughter who over the course of these difficult four years has become a woman, one of the bravest and most beautiful women I know. So, I wiped the tears from my eyes and tried to be the woman she needed me to be at that moment. As I sat there and listened to her reasoning, I realized that we were not giving up and we had definitely not lost this battle. Nope. My daughter is a fighter. She is the victor of this tale, which if we were in a Disney movie makes me her goofy sidekick, but I am okay with that. My daughter is brave and after witnessing the grace and the courage she has displayed as she has time and time again had to deal with this disease at such a young age, I can honestly say, she is a much stronger woman than I am, and I am so proud to call her my daughter.
I love you, Baby Girl. Now go kick some colitis ass!
Zoe's surgery is on Monday morning. Please keep her in your prayers. And please excuse me while I take a brief hiatus from the ol' blog. My girl is going to need me. Thanks.