My husband was hunched over, leaning most of his weight on me with his face buried into my neck. His tears fell hard and soaked through the front of my shirt. I had never seen a grown man weep like this. My eyes began to swell with tears too. My heart hurt and I was instantly captured with fear. Our story was over. The life we planned together since we were teenagers came crashing down.
Through blurred vision, I looked down at the little eyes glancing up at me. I stared at my newborn son, and for the first time I accepted that his eyes looked different from any other baby I had seen. They were narrow, shaped like two little almonds. His eyes looked back at me, desperate for love. As I studied his body, my thoughts shamed who I was as a mother. I don't want a baby like this. I want the baby I spent nine months dreaming about. I want the baby that fit into our plans. I felt an overwhelming amount of grief swelling in my heart. I felt like the baby I was pregnant with died and I had to start all over with the one I held in my arms. Guilt soaked my thoughts. Tears fell onto Elias' face. "I love you, I do. Forgive mommy. I promise I love you."
As I began to process what felt unbearable, I wanted to hide from the world. So I did. I held Elias close and hid us under the sheets of my bed. There, I would cry out to God and tell him what no one else knew. The guilt I felt tore at my heart and tangled it up. I would cry to Elias as I told him I loved him and that I wanted to be a good mommy for him. Everything felt so heavy, so sad. This was not the life I wanted for my son.
Soon I wasn't as worried about my plans in life falling to the wayside, but I became devastated as I thought about the life Elias might have. I began to fear how others would treat him. It scared me that he would be called a "retard" or be made fun of. I could feel my blood boil as I thought about what I would say to the people who might hurt my son.
It was under those covers that I became a more protective mother. It was under those covers that I reached my lowest.
I remember how peaceful Elias was during those painful days. I remember him loving his life when he was a baby. he didn't want to change anything. He wasn't scared or worried about people making fun of him. I was getting ahead of myself. And then I remembered, God gave me today. I did not have to worry about tomorrow or twenty years from now. Life was moving fast and I was missing it. I was living in fear of the future and forgetting about the sweet baby cradled in my arms.
This road has had its challenges and I know it will continue to. I have experienced some of the best moments of my life with Elias. I love who he is. Even if I could, I would never change anything about him. When Elias was a baby I would try to imagine what life would be like when he was older. And now it's here. The way he holds my face when he wants my attention sends my heart soaring. The passion in his voice as he sings a song in the shower gets me excited. The way he wrestles his brother and loves on his sister is fascinating to watch. When he reads his favorite books with his dad and finishes the word at the end of each sentence, I am proud.
I have learned something very important about Elias. He doesn’t want our life to be any different because of him, he just wants to be a part of it. He wants to be loved. He wants to enjoy life and the people in it.
So as I move through life I am committed to know and understand God's ways. I want to love the unloved. I want to find joy when it seems so difficult to find. I want to speak of hope when everything feels hopeless.
I am honored to be Elias' mom and I am in love with who he is. My life is not what I planned for it to be, it is far better.
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