I could never have prepared my heart for this: "Mom, my left arm isn't working and I can't do my own hair for the dance tonight. I am trying to find someone to help me." She is away at college.
Do I want to hop on a jet and be there in 30 minutes to help her with her hair? Yep, I do. That is instinct kicking in. That is the heart of me. A mother's heart. Those words pierced through me and for a moment I broke. I cried on my bed and allowed myself to feel it all. To go deeply into what it was about those words that really got to me. The past came back and suddenly she was a cheerleader or softball player again before her diagnosis. She was on the monkey bars, running across the blacktop on the playground, driving off for her first lesson behind the wheel. Every conversation we ever had about the future before MS was right there in my lap. They echoed as I wept.
Every parent who has a child with a life altering disease probably get's exactly what a moment like that feels like. But here is what I know now. I know that in those moments cleansing is happening in my soul. I know now that purging all that could have been or what I thought would be is actually a good thing.
Do we move forward as if none of those dreams or conversations or plans ever existed? No. That isn't moving forward. That is denial. I know now that in order to heal we face it all and love ourselves through it knowing it is okay to take a tiny moment in time to feel. I also know that in our heart of hearts, at least in this mother's heart, that being there in that space is temporary. To live a resilient life, staying there is simply not an option.
My friend Billy said to me that it is the mountains she has climbed that define who she is today and he is right. But on the way up, or even down that mountain, there will always be a stone to step over on the path. Our feet must be steady and each step deliberate in order to navigate it successfully. Her arm not working well that night was a stone she had to step over or find someone to help her move it out of the way. She did exactly that and went to the dance.
Do I know that she will have more stones as part of the challenges that will inevitably show up with her lifelong disease of having a rare form of Multiple Sclerosis? Yes, I know that too. I know that she is finding her way and climbing her own mountain. I am navigating my mountain too.
My personal Facebook post the night of the dance: "Nothing could have prepared my heart for this." No doubt about that. But with the pain of a mother's heart also comes immeasurable love, joy, pride, and dedication without limits. The gifts are countless. Then the moment comes when you realize that you have raised a daughter that is resilient beyond your wildest dreams.
Her response to my Facebook post that night: "I love you mama. I could not have prepared for this either. But I got MS for a reason and for my purpose in life."
Yes my sweet child, it is all for a reason and it all has a purpose.
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