Warning: This is awkward and raw and not at all what I was wanting to write. But here it is.
I have been wanting to write about this for almost two months, but the words never seem quite right. The morning our LifeGroup gifted us the UpSee for Adelaide, I was shocked and speechless. It was exactly 34 hours after I stood in our kitchen and cried to Dave that I felt no one understood our struggle. No one read our blog. No one cared about Adelaide or her future. They were not true words at all. But they were how I felt. And he let me cry before saying, “What if they don’t? What if no one does care about Adelaide? What if no one reads anything you write? It doesn’t matter. We love her. God loves her. That matters.” He was right and I knew it. I was sleep-deprived and experiencing what all special needs moms feel, even if they never admit to it. And I don’t really want to admit to it either, but I promised myself that I would always be honest here. These words that will serve as reminders to me in my future. These posts that may help someone else in the same situation. But no one ever faces the exact same things we do, because Adelaide is a human being with her own struggles and accomplishments. And we have yet to find another person with her unique blend of abilities and weaknesses. But me, I am just like so many other moms. And I was being a crybaby in our kitchen.
Sunday morning, the class is passing a card. A card of sympathy for a woman in our group who just lost her mother. That’s what I assumed. So, I thought nothing else of it. Until the card made its way to my friend and she didn’t hand it to me. She must have a reason. No big deal. I will sign it during the fellowship time. At the end of class, she pulls out the card and I see our names. I see the word UpSee. I see a dollar sign. I turn to Dave and whisper, “Oh crap. Our name is on it.” Yep. One of the most touching moments of my life. Some of my dearest friends are gifting us something that had been on the wishlist for what felt like a century. And I whisper something so dumb. Because Dave and I aren’t good at accepting gifts. We never have been. We are awkward and don’t know what to do. I take the card and they are saying the sweetest things and I just know that everyone is thinking I will say something tender or eloquent or even half-intelligible. All I can do is cry and think of nothing. Conviction. That’s what I am thinking. Just two nights before I was saying that no one cared. And here these people have sacrificed. $500 from a dozen families. That is sacrifice. And I felt so wrong for even taking it. We have so many needs in our group. But I took the envelope. Filled with cash. They explained that they were going to order it, but couldn’t get the measurements right. They wanted to surprise us with the actual product, but didn’t want to mess it up. I am still speechless. And wondering how I am going to thank these people.
We go to teach our class of crawlers and we don’t even say anything to one another. Dave and I know that our LifeGroup has given us one of the best gifts we could ever imagine. Not just something Adelaide could use, but the hope that we aren’t invisible. Of course, that is the irony, isn’t it? As special needs parents, we want to be invisible. We don’t want attention on us. We want people to see our kids and how they are progressing. We want people to pray for our children. Healing for things that we are told will never change. Wisdom for all the people who care for our little ones. Strength for everything they face. Provision for the never-ending bills. But we don’t really want people to look us in the eyes and ask how we are doing. Or meet a need we weren’t even sure we needed met. We wanted to thank them, but nothing seemed fitting. So we sent a card and a photo of Adelaide. And I felt like I had fallen short in the reciprocity category. But deep-deep-down I knew they wanted nothing else. I thought about treats, or coffee, or even flowers. None of it seemed right.
These people have been with us throughout our entire journey. We joined our LifeGroup right before Adelaide was diagnosed as being undiagnosable. They prayed over us as we were told that she may have a cyst and require neurosurgery. They prayed for every step of our journey through two different neurologists on opposite sides of the state. And the whole time they kept asking what they could do. Babysit? Meals? Gas Money? We, of course, refused anything. That’s just how we are. But they kept asking. So, one summer, they just did what they knew was right and didn’t ask. And here is the fruits of their labor. Their sacrifice. Their gift.
Adelaide walked for the very first time on July 15th, 2014.
And to our LifeGroup family, we say, “Thank you.” I have no other words. But I know this is enough.