I’ve had a very good week considering all the peculiar messages that have come my way. You know when you take notice of something that you’ve never seen before, then suddenly it appears everywhere? Well that’s been my week in a nutshell.
I returned to work on Monday and felt really good about it. Of course it was tough leaving Lila again, but we both are in much better places this time around, so I feel a sense of peace. I got to work and checked my mailbox. I opened up a press kit and the words stared at me: “Preemie Parents: 26 Ways to Grow with Your Premature Baby.” Huh. The blue folder contained press materials for a new book mostly about getting through the NICU experience. Did some PR company know about me? Is someone trying to tell me something? No, probably not. A co-worker probably received the materials and passed them on to me. No big deal, but a gentle reminder nonetheless of the past eight months.
Next up: “Why having kids is bad for your health,” a TIME magazine article about mothers being unhealthier than non-mothers because they have less time to exercise and eat well. Well isn’t THAT stating the obvious.
And for the kicker, the words that sent shivers up my spine and took my breath away. “Baseball league for disabilities where one of the kids has hypotonia (low muscle tone; she didn’t start walking until she was 3 1/2 and still can’t run or jump) and speech apraxia (“where the brain and lips don’t talk to each other.”) I stared at the screen, leaned back in my chair and called my husband. As a follow-up to baseball great Harmon Killebrew’s death this week, I was going to be writing about the Miracle League that he generously supported. The organization gives EVERY kid — no matter their ability — the chance to play baseball. I was going to have to attend the next game and watch children with varying special needs play my favorite game. Could I handle seeing kids in wheelchairs? With splints on? Unable to talk? No doubt, there would be several kids with Cerebral Palsy, which Lila is at risk of developing due to her PVL (brain injury). I made up my mind that I can’t live my life in fear. There is beauty in ALL living things and it’s time to embrace our situation for all that it is. I went to the game.
At first I had a hard time looking at these children in the eyes. Then they started talking to me. One of them sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” my all-time favorite song to teach any little kid; one little boy didn’t want to play the game, but when he finally got up to bat, he hit a homerun; and a girl in a wheelchair stopped just before crossing home plate and waited for the crowd to cheer her on as she finally rolled past the base. They all had such light in their eyes, such happiness. In a week full of curious signs, these kids left me with the most important reminder of all — as Dr. Hoekstra once told me, they, too, have a purpose in this life. Every single one of them.