I will never forget those precious moments when I became a mother. I remember reaching out my arms to cradle his perfect body, kissing his newborn skin and feeling the pain of a love so deep, so overwhelming that it cut right to my soul.
From the minute he was born, his mere existence filled a hole in my heart that I never knew was there. Brennen changed me. He opened my eyes to a world full of beauty and uniqueness, and I know now, as mothers do, that watching your child grow is about the most fulfilling thing your heart can withstand.
I remember feeling completely lost and entirely unprepared for what we were thrown into. Tests and diagnoses, therapies and surgeries. I was terrified of what our future might hold and was afraid to even think too far ahead. I worried about his quality of life. I worried about the struggles he would have and the challenges he would face. Would he ever walk or talk? Would he reach certain milestones?
I know now that quality of life is not measured by milestones or accomplishments. It is not for others to judge by what one can or cannot do. If quality of life is based instead on the love and joy that surrounds us, and the experiences and relationships that are nurtured, then Brennen has a quality of life greater than anyone I know. He speaks to me with his big bright eyes and he kicks his little legs with excitement. He exudes joy and has a smile that is brighter than the sun.
While I do still worry about some things, it's been a long time since I've felt overwhelmingly scared or sad. We've got incredible supports, and we are enjoying life and just loving each other. Today, while we celebrate Brennen's 10th birthday, I am celebrating his life. I am contemplating every memory, every emotion. All of the struggles and all of the successes that have brought us to this day.
Ten years is a long time, but I feel like it is just the beginning.
As we prepare for his future, I look back at how far he has come. My little boy, now ten years old.
Happy Birthday, Brennen!