Going on vacation is something that we always look forward to. We leave tomorrow with Nate, Gracie, Toby and Milo all together. Nate will come back home after a week to go back to work and Gracie, Toby, Milo and I will stay in Florida for another two weeks for my friend Mesha's wedding.
I'm excited about so many parts of this trip. The first week we are driving up to Greenville to do a book signing for my husband and we will be seeing the city that Toby and Gracie were born in. Greenville will bring back so many memories for me. Good ones and bad. So for the next few posts I'll probably be talking some of those memories.
There are parts of this trip that I know will be hard also. Hard for me as a mom and also hard for us as a family.
The hardest part for me is comparing. My best friend Larie lived in Greenville and was pregnant at the same time I was in Greenville and pregnant with Toby. We both ended up with little boys within 2 months of each other. The last time I saw her and Johnny together was two years ago at Susie's wedding. The boys were one and I remember being so thankful that Johnny wasn't an early walker. I guess what didnt come into my mind at that time of thankfulness was the fact that HE WOULD indeed be a walker. That there would come a day when we would take this trip (again for a wedding) and there would be Johnny walking and Toby not. I know that it will be hard to not compare. I know everyone mom has a problem with comparing their family situation or their kids with others. I want to enjoy this trip and not spend the time wishing for Johnny's legs on Toby's body. I don't want to be over dramatic and for you to picture me sitting in the corner in the fetal position crying and unable to enjoy myself. Trust me I will enjoy myself. This is my home and these are the people who understand more than anyone in the world. But there will be those times when the hurt will almost knock you over and the problem is that it can come on so suddenly. I know there are so many who understand this sudden pain I am talking about. It's the kind you cant just sit there and explain or cry because it's usually when no one is aware of it. I know Larie understands because of her desire for another child and her multiple miscarriages, I know Jamie understands because of her little girl's cancer and I know there are plenty more I am not mentioning. This pain usually happens when you aren't planning on it or thinking about it or discussing it. It just happens.
I remember leaving a park after what I thought would be a perfectly normal playdate. I knew Toby couldn't walk, I knew he wouldn't be able to play on the playground, but yet there I was leaving the playground crying my eyes out because all of a sudden the pain seemed unbearable at the moment. I think that's one of the hard things about the day to day life. You never know when the pain is going to hit and knock the air right out of you.
When Toby was in the NICU a mom whose son was grown, but who had Spina Bifida had come to talk to me. She told me, "You will cry." I thought she meant that I would cry during hospital stays, during therapy visits or doctor's appointments. I didnt understand then that she meant, You will cry and cry and cry and cry and not plan on crying but cry again. That you will cry after playgroups, you will cry after vacations and you will cry at any given moment when a new thought hits you or maybe the same old thought over and over again.
I think the only thing that I have come to realize this trip is that it's okay. It's okay to cry and it's okay to let people know I'm crying. It does not mean that I wish for another child. It does not mean that I love Toby less. It does not even mean that I would change things if I could. It doesn't even mean that I don't love Johnny or want to be around him.
This life with Toby, Gracie and Milo is certainly a journey. I know that this trip there will be trials, there will be heartache, but there will also be (and more importantly be) happiness, triumphs and of course a wedding!!
So instead of dreading this trip, like maybe I would have done. I go, with yes some fear, but with the realization that God is going to give me the grace to handle those sad moments and the tears that go along with them. I thank God so much that I can have a personal relationship with Him.