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What We Didn't Know Before Becoming Parents of a Child With a Disability

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We didn’t know what our journey would look like.

We didn’t know that we would get the news we did.

We didn’t know that we could be together while feeling desperately alone.

We didn’t know that things would be this hard.

We didn’t know that our spirits could be crushed this much.

We didn’t know how frightening this would be and how brave we would need to become.

We didn’t know that we could feel so much heartbreak but yet so much hope at the same time.

Callie and Jazzy the horse.

We didn’t know that her first step would bring tears of happiness to our eyes and in the same second, cause us to drown in grief.

We didn’t know that we could stand up again and again after getting knocked down.

We didn’t know that we could each be raging hurricanes and at the same time, each other’s safe harbor.

We didn’t know that some days, just surviving was good enough.

We didn’t know that in an instant, our lives would never be the same again.

We didn’t know that love shows up differently during trauma. Sometimes it looked like letting the other sleep and other times it looked like throwing yourself on the grenade to protect the other’s tender heart.

We didn’t know how different our milestones would look compared to others. A tiny step forward for our friends would be a leap for us. How long it would take us to be comfortable not measuring our lives by another family’s ruler.

We didn’t know how strong we could be — especially when we were so scared. How each of those decisions to stand up and go again would forge the strength of our souls in fire.

We didn’t know that holding on to each other would keep us from slipping into the darkness — how we became living breathing anchors for each other.

We didn’t know that our scars would tell amazing stories of courage, tenacity, resilience and love.

We didn’t know how much I would struggle navigating these new uncharted waters of motherhood. Mourning the loss of my “old” self while completely head over heels in love with our little girl.

We didn’t know that we could say so much with simply holding hands.

We didn’t know that our story needed to be told.  How it would light up the dark path for others that followed behind us.

We didn’t know how intimately we would know discomfort. How we would learn to make it our friend.

We didn’t know that we would spend our lives adapting to a world that’s not built for our little girl.

We didn’t know that people like us — that have experienced defeat, loss and grief? They have gratitude seared in their souls.

We didn’t know that by being broken, we’ve learned to love harder.

We didn’t know that by being in the dark for so long…

We would learn to appreciate everything that shines.

Originally published: October 1, 2020
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