Reflecting on a Miracle...

The 2009-10 homeschool year started with a bang today in the Harris House. I'm looking forward to posting more about that (later today, I hope!), but had to stop for just a second on my way to clean the kitchen and expand on my current Facebook status a bit. :) (Those pesky character limits...they get me every time!! ;-))

Today was one of those extra-special first days of school...Ammah Grace's first day of kindergarten. We made a big deal out of it this morning, although in reality, it won't be a huge change...she's been sitting in on school with the "big kids" since infancy. But this morning as we sat on the sofa together working during her individual school time, I was marveling at her bright, intuitive mind, and suddenly had a flashback. I was back in the NICU at UAMS, and Billy and I were having the first of many conferences with our tiny daughter's neonatologists. After they listed all the possible and probable defects for which we needed to be prepared, they added, "We may not know the full extent of her brain damage until she starts school." At that point, although the prognosis was quite frightening as far as disabilities and health problems, we were still just praying she would make it long enough to worry about all of those things. But those words still stuck in my head. The message was clear...we were in for a long, hard ride.

I sat today watching her write "school" in her careful lettering on her quiet time sheet (for what she was thankful for today, after she asked me how to spell it :)), and was blown away, again, by the immensity of the miracle beside me. Not only are we not worrying on this first day of school about what new disabilities may surface, but from the day she left UAMS at 6 weeks old, we have never had one ounce of an indication of brain damage or defect of any kind. (The closest we come to noticing *any* lasting effects of her prematurity are the blue lips and goosebumps she gets when she sits beside the swimming pool wrapped in a towel because the water was "freezing". :))

We were told she might be blind...today she called me to see the almost invisible stripes on the back of a grasshopper on the back porch. We were told she might be deaf...this morning I listened to her sing a melody in perfect pitch after hearing a song once. We were told she might not be able to talk...she chatters like a magpie...constantly...and amazes me often with her vocabulary. We were told to expect motor skill problems...she begs for worksheets to practice her handwriting, and never walks if she can hop, skip, or jump instead. We were told to be prepared for frequent illnesses and even hospitalizations in her preschool years...she's never been to the doctor for anything more than a well-child check-up since she was released from NICU (other than Trip 1 to the ER for a broken arm when her sister fell on her, and Trip 2 to the ER for stitches when she decided if her older brother could jump off the coffee table she could, too. :))

I've shared often the verses from Psalm 40 that my friend Kathy shared with me the night I went into labor ten weeks early. I remember often during those uncertain weeks praying them back to the Lord and asking Him to give us wonders too many to declare, and committing to share those wonders...whatever they were...every time I had an opportunity. He did that, quite literally. So today, again, I share...

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.
~ Psalm 40:1-5


Life at the Lake said...

First of all - I just can't believe Ammah Grace is old enough for kindergarten. In my mind she's still the baby or toddler being pushed in a stroller at co-op! Wow, what an amazing God we serve. She really is such a miracle and a reminder of God's goodness. Glad you had a great day of school and reflection today.

Kecia said...

That is so awesome, Jennifer. God is great.

Anonymous said...

Awwww, such a beautiful story and a beautiful girl.

And a wonderful reminder to be thankful for the energy and chatter of childhood. It can be exhausting, but is truly one of the things that make life worth living.