Although that day and the weeks and months that followed were the worst days of my entire life…I felt pain I never knew existed. That pain has helped me to realize and appreciate what PURE joy really is! As I cried tears of pain remembering how dark and hurtful that time was in my life I also smiled and cried tears of joy as I see how far not only Dakota but WE have come as a family. I remember still clear as day after months of enduring the pain and hardships of our new life…wanting to fast forward. I knew one day I would see and feel light and happiness again I just didn’t know when that would ever be. I didn’t want to endure and suffer one more day…I would have fast forwarded 3, 5, 10 years…however long it took to feel happiness and joy again.
Life obviously hasn’t fast forwarded for me, I have worked hard and endured every day for the last 3 years but today I smile because I made it!! I feel joy again in my life and I appreciate it more then EVER before because I know how quickly things can change and I know what REAL pain is. Life is obviously still not easy or perfect and we still have our struggles but we smile, we laugh, and we enjoy being together and that is truly ALL that matters.
The fact that we even feel ready to take on another child is a miracle. I honestly didn't know when or if that day would ever come but here we are!
Zach has been a little stressed lately with lots of things and I texted him that day and just said, “Remember what you felt 3 years ago. ALL of your stress and worries today didn't matter. We got through that …we can get through this. We got this! ;)
So…as I reflect on Dakota’s 3 year anniversary mark of gaining his angel wings, I smile at amazement at how far he has come. As I look back at all the pictures it is SO clear! As I remember those days, weeks, months, and even years following the accident and how little he could do or even respond, I am SO grateful today for where we are at. When we came home from the hospital his head was stuck to the left. He couldn’t move his body or arms and legs at all. His tongue was out all the time. He was overweight from the formula. His face was always red and sweaty because his body couldn’t regulate his temperature. His eyes could barely track and if they did it was just for a few seconds. His eyes were often focused just up. He had no response or even acknowledgement to things or people.
Today I see a 5 year old cowboy full of personality. His eyes sparkle with happiness and excitement again and he tracks anything especially his mom and dad when they come in the room or a succor. He smiles again and that is the BEST! I tell him all the time he has a magic smile. It is magic because it lights up the room and it makes everyone who sees it smile too!
He moves his whole body and has become quite the roller. Just Thanksgiving morning I laid him on this blanket facing his tool box to eat his breakfast and this is where I found him several minutes later when I came back in.
I’m stuck mom!
He communicates with us in his own simple ways and we understand each other. He is the same little boy inside a body that he still can’t quite control completely but he is happy and healthy!!
I still miss that funny, active, cowboy I once had running around and making lots of noise but I adore my quiet, gentle, and sweet cowboy just as much. He is the same but different and I love him now just as much as I loved him then. He has sacrificed so much to teach me EVERYTHING I know. He is my light!!
So Dakota…Happy 3rd anniversary of gaining your angel wings. Keep letting your light shine to others and share that magic smile that mom and dad love so much!! WE LOVE YOU!!
Just because I LOVE to remember him before…here is a video of my cute little muscle man when he was 22 months! (I know it's nothing out of the ordinary of other kids videos but to me it is so so special! Just seeing him walk, move, and talk is amazing! ;))