Many times we question why certain things happen at certain times. We don't understand hurt, loss and pain. We cling to the hope that "there is a reason for everything" and that someday we will come to know why. That the purpose will become clear. There are still many things I do not understand, but I am now able to reverse my thinking and find some reason to be thankful for the hard times.
For 27 years, this was the most important man in my life. My father is the true description of a hero. Maybe he wasn't famous (although sometimes I think he was, at least in the town I grew up in! I don't meet many people there who didn't know him!) but he was the world to me. At times I feel cheated that dad never met Andrew. That he isn't still around to see me be a mother. But I know he'd be proud. Everyday I try to live to make my dad proud, and I know he's watching me and smiling. I realize now that I was actually blessed to have a father who I can call my hero. For so many that isn't the case. True, our time together was shorter than I would have liked, but those 27 years gave me a lifetime worth of memories and things to be thankful for.
And I don't call it a coincidence that my dad left this Earth just one month after I married the man of my dreams.
Dad walked me down the aisle, and into Craig's loving arms. It was almost as if he needed to wait until he knew I would be taken care of. He knew Craig was that man for me. Craig is like dad in so many ways. I'm so thankful.
I like to believe that dad picked Andrew out just for us. That he worked together with God, to create this perfect little person to bless our lives beyond belief. I know dad met Andrew in heaven before he sent him to us. Andrew was dad's little way to continue to teach me so many things in life.
Andrew, my precious little miracle. You have taught me so many things. In three short years I have learned more than I ever thought possible. I am so thankful you were brought into your daddy's and my life. You are on this Earth for a very special purpose, and it is my prayer every day that you will find happiness in this life and that all your dreams will come true. Your daddy and I will be there every step of the way, cheering you on.
This is one of our very favorite early pictures of Andrew in the NICU. This was taken a few days before his open heart surgery and is one of very few pictures we have of him before his scar. It is so odd for me to look at this picture and not see that mark. That beautiful scar that is such a symbol of who Andrew is. The constant reminder to us of how blessed and grateful we are for his life. The scar that has opened our eyes to the world around us. To see beyond the surface and to know what it truly means to have faith...and hope.
But I'm so thankful he can walk...
He makes unbelievable messes...
But I'm so thankful he can...
(and even more thankful that he can feed himself now!)
It took almost three years before he learned how to do it. But he learned.
I'm so thankful for the support our family and friends have offered to us. They are God's way of placing people in our lives to help us through those tough times.
While it isn't always easy to take the hard times life has offered us, and try to find something positive...it is a little easier to find that in the midst of those hard times...there's always something to be thankful for.
"I will thank you Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done. I will be filled with joy because of You. I will sing praises to Your name, O most High." Psalm 9:1-2