It has been three years.
I have all the feelings in the world and all the words in the world in my head and in my heart, but I just feel like it is the same ol’ same ol’ thing and why does anyone need to hear it again?
Three years ago, our baby girl Ryder, had Open Heart Surgery to fix several defects. Things were more dire than I realized and also than I ever told anyone.
It was the hardest and yet most beautiful time of my life. I’ve never felt more desperate and terrified, and at the same time I have never felt more loved and at peace.
What do I say more than that? It was beautifully terrifying.
The outcome was miraculous. Ryder soared through the surgery and recovery. It was such a struggle before surgery. Everything was one huge hurdle we just couldn’t jump over before. She couldn’t eat. She couldn’t stay awake. We barely survived, all of us. It was as if she was just waiting to have that surgery we tried to avoid. It was everything she needed.
We are still having struggles and I’m sure we will have plenty ahead, but she is here with us. So any trial is worth every single minute of heartache we have experienced or will experience with her because we have her.
We get to enjoy her oh-so-dramatic self. We get to see her grow and learn. We get to see her love on her sister (and fight with her sister). We get to know her. We get to love her. We have the pleasure of experiencing the magnitude of her personality and how she is a fighter through and through.
There is no sacrifice too great or storm too fierce to offset our love and joy for Ryder.
And that goes for Rory too.
Because at the heart of the matter, parenting is so gut-wrenchingly heartbreaking and hard for every single parent. It doesn’t matter if you have a child who has open heart surgery or one who never even gets a cold.
We are all the same, no matter the trials and triumphs. My child who was desperately ill is no harder than the child who strays as a teenager but is never sick. It is heartbreaking either way.
We love them the same, either way.
Because we are all parents. We all want the very best for our children. We all want no harm to ever come to them. We are all heartbroken because no matter how hard we try, they will get hurt and they will hurt us.
And yet we will keep loving, keeping fight, and keep trucking on because it is what we have to do. Each trial makes us stronger, each victory makes us more thankful- combined they make us better parents.
I hear a lot of “I don’t know how you did it” and my response is always “because I had to”. Doesn’t that apply to all parents in all situations?
The single mom- I have no idea how she does it. But she does because she has to.
The mom to a sick child- I still don’t know how she does it. But she does it because she has to.
The mom to the strong-willed child- LORD KNOWS I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE (we) DOES IT. But we do because we have to.
Look at us, we are all the same. All trying to raise our children to make good choices and to love others.
Keep trucking on, y’all. Do it because you have to. Do it because you love your children more than life.
Do it because the joy in being a parent outweighs the heartache by a million.