Yesterday was the anniversary of the day we arrived home with our newest daughter.
I will never ever forget the emotion flooding through me as we de-planed and walked down the hall to the escalator. I will never forget the light-headed feeling as I stepped onto the escalator; I tried to hold Julianne since escalators were a new thing for her and I was afraid she would fall, but I was so exhausted after 27 hours of travel, it was almost a relief when she demanded to stand on her own and hold on to the moving rail.
The crush of joy when we first began to see the faces of those we loved who had come to cheer us on during this final step into our new Forever. Unforgettable.
Oh… and when I remember those moments. Julianne had never been the recipient of so much excitement in her young life! Everyone smiling, everyone cheering, everyone so obviously thankful for HER. It had to have been so overwhelming for her inexperienced senses.
Two years is a decent chunk of time, and she has changed so much since that day.
We all have changed.
Two years doesn’t mean things are easy now. A friend just asked yesterday how things are now that we have been home for two years. Truth? It’s still hard many days. The walls she had built to protect herself have slowly been through the gentlest of demolitions, but it takes time. So much time. So much intentionality. And now that the walls aren’t there, we see more of the stuff she was hiding inside for years. A baby who learned that the best way to handle hard things was to put on a brave face and pretend all was okay. Now she shares her emotions, but it’s not her default. Last week, I knew she was angry with me about something, but as per her norm, she tried to shut me out.
“Are you angry with me, Julianne?”
And in the smallest of voices, a murmured “yes”.
FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, the inclination to freeze in moments of tension was halted.
Two years home.
We’re still making progress. We have not “arrived”. Looking back on our homecoming, I find myself wishing I could take myself out for a cup of coffee and whisper all of the things I know now. I wish I could tell myself that there would be days when I would wonder what on earth we were doing; days when I would doubt myself, my parenting skills, my ability to be who she needed me to be. I wish I could show two-years-ago me what daily life would be like, but that the stressors involved with parenting a child with a chronic condition would be balanced out by the joy that comes by seeing her twirl around the house in the fluffiest of tutu skirts.
Two years ago I fully believed that by the two year mark we would be settled, and living the life we had before, plus one.
Not even close.
Our life now does not look anything like it did before. And you know, I’m okay with that.
Our life? It’s not charmed. It’s not ordinary. It’s not easy.
I dare say that EVEN WITH all of the challenges, this life we live is spectacular.
Happy Family Day, my crew! And now, we march into Year Three.