I sat this weekend and looked around the room. My eyes landed on the couch across from me where our 13 year old(his birthday is next week! Yikes, a teenager!) and our 10 year old sat cuddled under a blanket playing a game and giggling together. Then I saw our 3 year old playing with a basket of toys in the middle of the floor. Next I looked at Dave and watched as he worked at the other end of the couch we were sharing and I thought to myself, "We've recovered."
It's taken a lot of time and a lot of tears, but I think we've done it. We're not as afraid as we once were. I don't think we live in fear of life being turned upside down at any moment any more. I'm almost sure that the whole process has brought us closer. Closer than we could of ever been without it all. Life is just precious and the mundane tasks of it almost seem as though we have been granted a second chance. We are very, very happy and even more than that we are grateful.
3 years ago last month our tiny pickle was born. 2 years ago this weekend she was handed over to a surgeon we didn't know and her life was placed in her skilled hands as God orchestrated what would surely become her second chance. 1 year ago this week as we began to relax our little one became very, very ill literally over night and what we thought was behind us began all over again as she fought to live and to breathe and to survive. I approach this week, this anniversary, this day with more and more gratitude as each moment passes and she continues to laugh and play in front of me. I think we've done it. I really do. I feel more joy this week then fear. I think that's a level of recovery for me.
I believe the children are more confident that she is home for good. I know they understand that it could change on any given day, but they no longer fear that it is going to be today. They love her so very much and I watch them with that baby sister they waited for their whole lives for and my heart is so blessed. She can put a smile on our Blake's face faster than anything these days. He never fails to stop and tickle her as he walks through the room. They giggle at each other and then go on their way. Allie loves taking care of her. Combing her hair, picking out her clothes, getting her ready for bed are her favorite tasks. You rarely ever find Allie sitting on the couch without Ashley Kate on her lap.
We've been home a full 6 months. We were home a full 6 months last year at this time when she rejected her small bowel and we had to go back, but this year its different. I'm no longer naive, but I'm no longer afraid. I have a hard time explaining the place I find myself in this morning. I'm listening to her play in the nursery right now and a smile has crossed my face as I type.
This week holds a lot of memories for us. Some good, some bad. There are those moments that I remember where we were so very frightened we would never hold her again and then their are those moments where we tiptoed into the room to peek at her for the first time with her new organs at work. Bitter and sweet. We rejoiced as others mourned. We had hope and theirs was gone. There are those moments when the peace that the Father gives washed over us as we held her tiny hands and we could do nothing but trust He was at work in her little body as we sat helpless to make her better. So many memories, so many feelings flood across me.
Recovery. It takes a while. It took Ash months and months to recover. Each illness. Each insult to her body. She fought and never gave up. On the days that I felt I would never recover from all we were going through I would look at this tiny example He had handed to me and I kept trying. Giving up was not an option. She never did, and if she could recover so could my heart.
Our home, our business, our family, our daughter. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it. All have recovered and we thank God for that recovery each day. He was with us each step of the way and He still is.
Today I find myself looking forward to the week ahead. I thought I would be dreading it, but I'm excited about getting past the upcoming dates and making new memories. Memories of celebrations to replace the memories of separations.
Take care. Trish