Monday, September 8, 2008


Recently, I've had the opportunity to get in contact with old friends--people I never would've dreamed I would find again. And, as one of my old friends said just today on Facebook, "There's nothing like talking with old friends to make you feel young again." So true.

Over the weekend, we celebrated Landon and Olivia's 6th birthday. I find this hard to believe for a few reasons, but the main one is that being six years old doesn't seem that long ago for me. When I was six, my life was pretty simple. I was a typical happy-go-lucky little girl whose main concern in life was playing and figuring out ways to stay up past my bedtime. That little girl is still inside me somewhere--the little girl who didn't know life could be harsh. The little girl who didn't know that within a year, her dad would die in a car accident and who didn't know that over the course of the next several years her life would take drastic turns that would forever change everything about her.

I think about the Heather that I was on September 5th, 2002, just a mere 24 hours before the twins were born, and I'm struck with the reality that was about to hit me smack dab in the face. I was going on with life completely oblivious to the fact that the babies I was carrying would change everything about my life. Oh sure, I knew that there would be times of panic, unbelievable tiredness, overloads of laundry, but I didn't know that they would be faced with birth defects. I didn't know how sick they would be just hours after being removed from inside me.

Having two children born with clefts isn't the worst thing that's ever happened to me and I know that they don't know any other life than they one they have now, but it is probably one of the most life-changing things that happened to me. Before they were born, I didn't realize what beauty really is. Before they were born, I didn't know the pain of having someone whisper and point at my child while I pretended not to notice. Before they were born, I didn't truly know what a special gift speech can be. You never really know until you have a child who has difficulties with speaking.

Landon and Olivia are typical little kids in every way and I thank God all the time that they are happy, healthy children who love their friends and family. The long-term affects of their birth problems could've been so devastating and miraculously, they are fine. What their birth has done is given me a new outlook on life, on how to treat people, and more empathy towards others.

Before they were born, I don't think I knew what was truly important. They say we are our children's first teachers, but in this case, my children have been mine.

1 comment:

Colleen said...

I couldn't have said it better myself.
Stronger too. I noticed it's made me stronger. I do things for my kids that I'd be too fearful to do for myself.