Oh my sweet girls. As I sit here in downtown Gilbert, taking in the sounds around me, enjoying the sweetness of time to just think, I can’t help but think of you right now. For so long I have wanted to write you a letter to tell you more about our life. To explain to you more about why mommy cries so much. Maybe someday, you will read this and understand better what I am not sure you may not understand right now, at age 8, 4 and 14 months.
You girls, are my heroes! Our life as a family, it has not been easy and you are the first ones to see and experience that. However, because this is all you have known, I wonder how much you see the struggle. I wonder if your free spirits and flexibility are a result of not having to mourn some of the luxuries that you have not been able to experience. Some of the things and experiences that I wish I could give you but can’t at this time because of how difficult Hudson’s health makes our day to day. Experiences like going to a restaurant as a family, taking a family vacation and all sleeping in the same room. Taking a bike ride as a family. Walking through a store without people looking at you. Getting time with mommy and daddy that is undivided. And many many more that I know you want also but mommy often says no. I say no many times because I’m scared that I will be putting one of you in danger. I’m scared that if we go to the park, I will not be able to keep Ivory from eating woodchips while Hudson is running into the street. I’m scared of going into the Chik-fil-a to play because in order for me to place our order, I would have to put Ivory on the ground or let go of Hudson’s hand, and then he could run. Or, I’m scared of the tantrums that he would throw and it would just be too overwhelming for your brother to be in those places. His tantrum would then result in broken hearts because we could only stay for 5 minutes instead of 30. So, I often just say no. I want to be braver for you girls.
Then I wonder, are you becoming bitter with me saying no all the time or is that God’s way of building gratefulness in you. When we say no to the game system because we have to pay a medical bill, I pray that God is teaching you to appreciate what we have. Believe me, I want to say yes. I want to say yes to all the sleepovers, all the bike rides, all the play dates. We just can’t because our family is experiencing different challenges then other families.
I just wonder what this upbringing is working in your hearts and I beg, I pray, I plead that it is not a heart of bitterness. In fact, I see small glimpses of the bravery that it is teaching you. It is teaching you to be courageous lovers. A few days ago was one of those days where autism is dangerous, where autism is draining, where it is most difficult to see the good that comes from autism. Hannah and Izzie, a few days you showed me what it means to give of your life for someone else. We were riding in the car on the freeway, headed to an appointment for your brother. I had put him in the seat next to your 14 month old sister and normally that wouldn’t be a big deal. On that day though, it turned into a nightmare. He started hitting, just smacking her little face over and over again. I’m not sure if he was trying to get her attention, my attention, was frustrated with the level of noise in the car, was scared about reflections he was seeing or if he was just being mean. I just know that he started hitting her helpless little face and we were on the freeway. The only thing I could do was maneuver as fast as I could to get off the freeway so that I could rearrange his seating to prevent this. As I maneuvered and tried to block his hands, Hannah, you unbuckled and put your body in front of your sister. Izzie, you did too. I never asked you to do this. You both just stayed in that position, letting your brother attack you while I got off of the freeway. You are 8 and 4 years old. By the time I got off the freeway and he stopped hitting and scratching, Hannah you had been pretty scratched up. You grabbed your arms and didn’t cry. Of course, I was crying. Through my tears I asked, “Are you ok?” And your response blew me away! “Mom, I would much rather get hurt than him hurt my sister. He didn’t mean it. It’s ok.” Babies, whether you see it or not… you showed Jesus, embodied Jesus in that moment! He is teaching you to love, even when it hurts. That is amazing!! That is courageous!!! That is God in the flesh of my 8 year old and 4 year old girls.
I pray that I get better at walking through those moments with you to show you how God is using you, alive in you. That’s what you were created for baby! No, not being beat up. I never, ever what you to get hurt. I never ever want you to walk away from this life thinking that it is ok for another person to hit you. I tell you that all the time! But that day, you shared the gospel to me, and now to the world. And girls, the gospel is worth it! You did on that day, what Jesus has done for this whole world. You laid down your life for your fellow man, whatever the cost, even when it cost you your own comfort, your own safety. Even when the person you were saving did not deserve it.
Hereos girls! You girls are heroes!
Again, I must ask that you be brave as we head into a new type of journey. We got word this week that some of Hudson’s medical issues, his tummy problems will require us to get more testing. This testing has to be done in a different state. There are a lot of pieces that have to fall into place to make this happen. Insurance, coordinating specialists, finding childcare, finding another car, making sure someone is there to make meals for you, take you to gymnastics, take you and pick you up from school. And I am sure a lot of other things as we go further down this road. We will maneuver it together though. God will be faithful to our family. He always has and He always will. We just may have to do an extra hard job of looking for it when we are apart. Please know my sweet girls that mommy loves you so much! Please know that I don’t want to be away from you, for our family to be separated. It feels a lot like it did when Hudson was first born and in the NICU for 6 weeks, having to choose who to spend time with. I hate it. But I am so proud of you!