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What’s Next? My Biggest Parenting Fear Revealed 

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What Next?

photo credit: liveindiapost.blogspot.com

I’m literally sitting in the parking lot at the eye doctor waiting to walk in, and I can’t. I…just…cannot. I have to stop crying first.

Why? Because, this. (I encourage you to take the six minutes to watch the video. It offers some good insight, not just to what I share here next, but a glimpse into life with a special needs child.)

You know, I don’t know what it’s like to be a parent of only “typical” kids, so I don’t know if parents of “typical” kids have the same fear I do. I do know I’ve had conversations with parents of “non-typical” children, so I don’t think I’m alone here…though maybe I am. Creation was established, by God, with a life cycle…and the natural cycle for us is that our children outlive their parents. We go first…that’s the way it’s “supposed” to be. I’m not supposed to bury my own child.

I’m just gonna throw out a fault of mine…an odd fear of mine that maybe shouldn’t be. (If you’re a parent and reading this, don’t judge me…not until you’ve walked the road I’ve walked for sixteen years. I’m just laying my weakness down at the cross and counting on Christ’s redemptive grace and mercy to carry me.)

Some days, my biggest parenting fear for you, my only daughter, is that you outlive me. Yes…that would mean, that in order to prevent this fear from becoming reality, I would need to outlive you…to bury my own child. And THAT is perhaps my second biggest parenting fear.  But, some days it seems like the better alternative, if I’m just being honest.

The thought that you may have to navigate this life without the foundation and stability of your mommy and me is…unbearable for me to imagine. I shared the story at our basketball games this past weekend of when we lost you at Six Flags as a child…20 minutes of unimaginable turmoil and hell on earth. The sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that I’d failed you. I would rather walk that pain again for my lifetime than to live an eternity knowing you are alone here, without the love and support of a sibling like this. I think my bigger failure would be in not setting in place for you a support system and firm foundation upon which to fall when I pass into eternity.  

I pray almost daily that you have this type of relationship with your brothers when your mommy and I are dead and gone. (Not because I’ve guilted you into it, boys.)  Not because they HAVE to…but because they WANT to. It’s hard to see that type of future for the three of you during this stage in our lives. I pray I can be the type of father and leader that guides the three of you to that place. That leads you, my precious daughter, to a refuge of safety, security, stability and support.

I love you more than you know, sweet daughter of mine.

Love,

Daddy

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A Walk Down the Aisle

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I quite honestly don’t know where the time has gone.  Each year seems to pass by so much more quickly than the last, and it’s all I can do to keep up.  It just doesn’t seem right that it’s gone this fast…like it was just yesterday we walked down the aisle together.  It’s been a wild ride indeed…and I wouldn’t change it if I could.

Adoption Day, Daughter Date,

Sixteen months old on Adoption Day on April 15, 2001 vs.
14 years old on a Daddy/Daughter Date Night in March 2014.

You amaze me every day, and I just don’t tell you that enough.  You’re beautiful inside and out.  From a hole in the heart  to a young lady on the edge of high school who is still silly and fun with a sense of wonder and awe that inspire.  I loved you the day I first met you in the hospital as a baby, and I love you more now.  Happy Adoption Day baby girl.

Love,

Dad

Priceless

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Manicure – $15
Dinner – $20
Bowling – $20
Daddy/Daughter Date Night – Priceless

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I had fun tonight SD. You’re a pretty amazing young lady!
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Don’l let the look on my face fool ya’.
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I’m looking forward to our next date night in a month…and many more to come.

Love,

Dad

His Love is Greatest

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Oh Lord, I wonder if this is a little like how You felt on the walk to Calvary.  Tired.  Beaten.  Defeated.  Emotionally spent.  Physically spit on.  Cursed at with words of hate.  By the very people You came to love, no less.  That’s what hit me about half way there.  And then it all started making more sense.

My sweet daughter, we took this drive years ago, you and I.  Well…a similar drive anyway.  Back when you were still in a pumpkin seat, it was a 40 minute one-way drive from Newton, Kansas to Wichita at 3:00 am to get you to fall asleep.  Tonight it’s an hour and fifteen minutes one way hoping you fall asleep so this verbally abusive, self-destructive tirade you’re on will end.  I think it would have been a farther drive had it not been for three things: We drove out of the range of our local Christian radio station – which felt like the only thing keeping me close enough to God to keep trying; your mom and brothers were stranded at church without a ride because we dropped them off mid-meltdown; and the low-fuel light came on…not enough gas to make it home.

Just a few short hours ago, as I cried through the realization that I can’t go on like this, it was my prayer that God would show me how.  How to go on.  How to be the father you need.  How to show compassion through my frustration.  How to help you.  How to love you.

He’s faithful to hear our cries, you know.  As my heart cried out to Him, the words of the song “Every Good Thing” rang out over the radio, piercing my heart and soul like the nails being driven into the very hands and feet of Christ himself.  And He awakened my mind and opened my heart to the realization that the answer to my prayer is found in the life of Jesus.  How do I love you?  I love you how Jesus loves me.  At the height of His pain, He loved the ones who put Him there the most…asking the Father to “forgive them for they know not what they do” – Luke 23:34.

At the height of our pain, His love is greatest.  At the depth of our depression, His love is greatest.  In the solitude of our loneliness, His love is greatest.  At the precipice of our failure, His love is greatest.  At the end of our love, His love is greatest.

I know that when you’re in the middle of a meltdown like this, you don’t know what you’re doing.  I know that you can’t control yourself in this.  I know that the things you do and the words you use are beyond your ability to tame.   I know that this isn’t you, and that if you knew how to stop it, you would.  I know you’re just as powerless to stop it as I am.  And I love you no less for it.  God doesn’t make mistakes.  He doesn’t make anything less than what He intended.  You are “Every Good Thing”.  You are just who He wants you to be…and just who I love…not for what you do or say…but for who you are.  The problem lies within me…not you.

Love,

Dad

And for today, I claim the promise that Your grace, oh Lord, is sufficient.  Lord, please grant it in proportion to today’s need.  And let tomorrow be a new day with a new portion sufficient to meet tomorrow’s need.  Father, I ask that daily You sustain me when I call on on Your name.  When I’m challenged and struggling to love my child through the hate-filled fits in which she knows not what she’s saying or how to stop, bring me to the foot of the cross, oh Lord, that I might see how You loved those who knew not what they were doing.  Show me that kind of love Lord…that I might also show it.  It’s in Your name I bow and in Your name I pray. Amen.

Watch Out For That Alligator in Your Ear…He’ll Poke Your Eye Out

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For most people, today is tax day, but it’s so much more than that. For me, it’s the day I walked my beautiful daughter down the halls of the courthouse to sit down with the judge to finalize your adoption.

Walking my daughter down the aisle

Walking My Daughter Down The Aisle – April 15, 2001

Which in itself is still quite the miracle – it was only a few short months before, near your second birthday, that you started walking. Born with Ventricular Septal Defect (a hole in the inner lining of the heart), it was all your little body could do to stay alive, let alone develop and grow like everyone else’s.

I still vividly remember the days surrounding your open heart surgery at the young age of 11 months.

Open Heart Surgery

PICU recovery room following open heart surgery at 11 months old.

What a ride that was! And what a drastic change in you when you woke up afterward…the life that had been missing from your eyes for 11 months was finally there…and was burning with a passion to get out there and live.

Open Heart Surgery

Recovering and Ready to Go!

Most days, I still can’t believe that was 11 years ago. You have taught me so much about life, my young child, that I could write for hours about it and only scratch the surface. God has used you to change me for the better in so many ways…made me a more responsible man. Shown me that a smile and a cheerful heart can brighten the worst of days. Helped me overcome my shyness. Taught me compassion and true love. Planted patience and acceptance in my heart that continues to grow everyday. Deepened my faith and trust in God with the realization that I need Him to be the dad you need me to be. Proven to me that with God, we can overcome any adversity. Guided me through uncertain times with the knowledge that He has it all in his hands. Shown me how He truly can heal the broke-hearted and use the weak in powerful ways to humble the strong. And reminds me every now and again that having fun keeps us young… that we’re never too old for butterfly, Eskimo, and frog kisses, or that we have water-skiing alligators in our ears that do amazing and creative things – right before they poke us in the eye for peeking in on them.

Happy Adoption Day baby girl! I love you!

Love,

Dad

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” – Romans 8:14-16

A Christmas to Remember…I’m Gonna Miss This Some Day

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It’s been a good Christmas Day. Every Christmas Day is good, because we get to celebrate the birth of our Savior. But today was remarkably cooler than recent ones of memory.

It was a day of traditions. Early morning rising to read the Christmas Story.

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Opening presents and being silly.

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Cinnamon rolls for breakfast and baking sweets.

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Two hours of assembling your presents.

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Followed by a full day of watching you playing together.

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Making our own pizzas for lunch.

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Mom says she had fun teaching you how to play your new DS.

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I think she just used it as an excuse to have a little fun herself. 🙂

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We even had time to add a new tradition…that promises to become an annual one. You liked the first course of vegetables and bread with cheese fondue…but not as much as the fruits and “mallemows” with chocolate.

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It was definitely fun watching you try something new.

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And there’s nothing better than a belly full of chocolate to cuddle up and watch our favorite Christmas movies together before bedtime.

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It was indeed a Christmas to remember. I’m thankful for the miracle of the birth of Christ, and I’m thankful for days like today. I’m gonna miss this some day.

Love,

Dad

Forever Your Daddy

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Thirteen years ago today, God sent an angel to earth…handpicked with a purpose. I couldn’t be there the day you were born, but I was there four months later when you came home to us. I was there in the PICU after your open heart surgery a month before your first birthday…and I was there when we finalized your adoption, making me your forever daddy. I loved you the moment I first saw you, and I haven’t stopped loving you since. I will love you to the end of time. You are beautiful in every way…and you bring a smile to the lives of everyone you touch. You are more like Jesus than any person I know. You know no stranger, and are a friend to all…regardless of how someone treats you, you love them for who they are. From that very first day, you have stirred within me a desire to be a better man…and even now thirteen years later, my dear SD, you make me want to be a better daddy.

My wish for you is a long life filled with, love, joy and peace. I pray you will one day understand what it means to have a heavenly Father, and choose to follow Him. Because as awesome as it is that God chose me to be your forever daddy here in this life…it’s even more awesome that He is your Forever Daddy…forever.

Love,

Dad

P.S. I love this picture, taken just a couple months ago. This was a fun day…and it reminds me how much fun you are. 🙂

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