Each year brings its own blessings and challenges.
Last year I was able to escort Jannah-Rae to most of the activities she was invited to, or that I arranged for her. Towards the end of this year, however, I had to relinquish my status as her primary companion and depend on the generous assistance and wonderful company of our loving friends and family. It was not easy giving up the upper hand nor was it fun to miss out on the activities that still went on around me. I was never one to sit beside the driver and yet I found myself being forced to sit back, relax, and watch as the world unraveled in front of my eyes and JR continued to discover the world around her without her Mama at her side.
God has chosen me for this role, I continue to learn valuable lessons as I recline on one couch, then the other, and move from there to the bed, and at times the wheelchair.
I learned that some people are inherently gracious and went out of their way to treat help us as they saw me being wheeled about, while others were just oblivious of the world around them and actually chose to get in through the other set of doors so as not to hold them open for Jeff and I.
I learned that asking for a four-top at a restaurant was okay if it meant I had somewhere to put my feet up and stretch them out.
I learned that accepting someone's offer to carry the extra tray was not a sign of weakness. And that help with shopping bags was a treat.
I learned that being physically "unable" did not make me "less" of a person. And that I did not have to apologise for my state of being.
I learned that not all customer service assistants were indifferent and that the lady behind the desk really meant it when she said, "I know you will get better soon."
I learned that while I so desperately wanted to go on each outing, each play date, each breakfast, and each carousel ride with JR, that it was alright for me to tell her I could not. Alright, but not easy. Alright, but still heart-breaking. Heart-breaking made worse when she says: "I wish you could come with me Mama," and my knowing that this is one wish I cannot grant her. Despite that, though, I learned that I can still be a good Mama, a great Mama even, even when I am stuck in bed. And that there are still numerous ways JR and I can learn, play, grow, connect, even in the confines of four walls.