“Your daughter may have had a brain bleed in utero, we need to get you a pediatric neurology consult as soon as possible.”
I stood there stunned. Alone. Trying to calm two scared toddlers and keep my demeanor together.
The words echoed through me. I couldn’t get out of that room fast enough. It was cold, sterile. I just needed privacy so the wave of emotions overtaking me could come out.
I fumbled with the keys, secured the girls in the car, text my husband and immediately called a dear friend who has lived through scary moments like this with her little girl. She wisely told me to NOT Google anything and gave me permission to be human and upset and scared. By God’s grace another close friend who has lived through similar scares with her babies called to ask me a random question. She sensed that something was wrong and despite having twins of her own, she immediately came over and just sat with me while I tried to process the news.
The next few hours were a whirlwind of reaching out to friends and family in the medical community, trying to process what one doctor told us. Appointments with specialists were made, prayers were said and then the most miraculous thing happened. Our little pterodactyl got up and walked.
Let me rewind.
We have twins. They are healthy and thriving and all around mischievous, but at nearly 17 months one of our girls had not taken a single, independent step. Social media, modern day parenting and specialists all led us to believe that something horrible was wrong. Even a neurologist who had examined her believed that she could have suffered a slight brain bleed while still in the womb.
Our minds raced. What if? We should do something. Let’s fix it.
That is always my first reaction. To access the problem and come up with a solution. I still haven’t grasped the concept that I’m not in control and perhaps should lean on God in moments like this.
I let the world around me tell me something was wrong. People’s comments about how she sat and how she sped around on her knees influenced me. Rather than give myself grace and patiently believe that she would walk when she was ready, I sought answers. Isn’t that how parenting is these days? Documenting milestones and prepping Ivy League applications before they even go to preschool?
And I fell for it.
The very next day, a close friend of ours arranged for us to meet a pediatric orthopedic specialist at the best hospital in the region. We went to the appointment, expecting the worst. His diagnosis was simply, “You are impatient and frustrated. Go home. She will walk when she’s ready.” And wouldn’t you know, an hour later she took her first steps.
My husband often jokes that we should wear shirts that say “I’m Sorry About That.” (And truly, if you knew me when I was in my 20s and young and ambitious and eager to make a name for myself - I’m sorry. I don’t know why it takes age to realize that we don’t have it all figured out- so please accept my blanket apology.)
Our sweet little Emma still does not want to walk independently- but at least we know she can. She prefers to be held and she’s stubborn. I truly think God orchestrated a mini-miracle that day because we weren’t able to hear Him any other way. And perhaps Emma was tired of all the appointments and just did it so we would calm down and stop taking her to the doctor.
While we continue with her early intervention and PT, I am reminded that it is in the waiting when we hear God. My little Emma is teaching me, her sister and her daddy the importance of cheering on family, to always believe in the best.
She wears a harness to help support her while walking- kids ask questions about it and I just smile knowing that God is using her in that moment to teach empathy and kindness and understanding of things that are different. Her twin, Addie, is her biggest cheerleader. Emma proudly wears her harness and Addie claps when Emma takes independent steps.
These experiences are teaching me how to be present. Her therapy requires constant work and repetition. It requires me to say no to other things so I can stay focused on teaching Emma how to move from walking on her tippy toes to getting her feet flat.
These experiences are teaching me how to be thankful. Having kids can be so frustrating at times, but nothing makes me happier than when my girls learn a new word, react in wonder to the beauty of a bird soaring in the sky or the giggles they make when playing in the water. Never before would I have stopped to take in such ordinary things- but through my children, God is teaching me to appreciate the ordinary that I so often miss in my busy, task-oriented life.
These experiences are teaching me how to stand in awe. As I come to terms with not being in control, I can better appreciate that God makes us each unique and different on purpose. Emma walking later than others has taught me all sorts of things about letting go- but I’m also excited that my girls are growing up with each other where their differences are so clear, but so beautiful. Empathy. Kindness. Compassion. If my girls learn nothing else, they are far more prepared for being a light in this world than I could ever be.
My frustration is leading to patience. My fear is leading to trust. My control is leading to grace. I have so much to learn as a parent, but right now I am going to pause, enjoy the little victories and rejoice in the moments that used to go unnoticed when I filled my days with comparison and worry.