Eleven years ago, God decided to send me a little gift and it came in the form of a baby girl. The moment I found out my due date falls on Easter, I immediately felt that it’s a sign from God, a sign of renewal, rebirth and resurrection into a new life.
I expected motherhood to be a life-altering experience but never knew just how life-altering it would be. If you’ve been reading my motherhood stories, you know that raising Elle was not an easy road. She is a special needs child who needs extra time and nurturing to grow; smart like any average child but learns at a difference pace in different ways.
Eleven years later, I can honestly say that being a mother of a special needs child is the greatest blessing God has bestowed upon me. And I’m not just saying this to pacify myself or hide emotions from others, it really IS a huge blessing that can not have come any other way. It’s the most humbling, self-discovering, life-changing and life-strengthening journey.
You can read more about the things I’ve learned along the way in a previous post Ten Things I Learned From My Special Needs Child.
Because her birthday falls right around Easter, a joyous day of Lord’s resurrection, her special day is a gentle reminder to me and my family of the Lord’s promise of eternal salvation and abundant, unconditional love. Not only that, her birthday reminds me every year what Elle symbolizes in my life as a mother.
She is my source of rebirth, renewal and resurrection from a selfish, egocentric and worldly soul into a spiritual and sacrificial being. It broke down all my trivial human defenses and built me back up from a selfish to a much more selfless giving and loving person.
Looking back, I’m embarrassed at how childish I was, as evident in some of my previous posts, how I failed to see the joy and gratitude in my daily life as a mother and was instead filled with complaints about what is the most beautiful vocation of all- motherhood.
If you’re a mother who’s reading this, a mother who is struggling to balance motherhood and work, between chasing personal dreams and changing diapers to picking up crumbled gold fish off the floor, please remember that those first precious years really do fly by fast. And we call them “precious” because they really are just that- priceless, precious, much like Grace, which is a free gift from God.
Yes some days are crazy and yes some days you wish you can run away from the screaming and misbehaved kids…but even those manic and sleep deprived days and nights fly by and the next thing you know, you’ll be missing those tiny smiles and cries as your child turns 11 years old.
This past weekend, we celebrated Elle’s 11th birthday with an intimate gathering of close school friends and their siblings. I chose the colors pink and yellow- which suits the birthday girl’s sweet and girly demeanor perfectly.
We kept the food simple, mixing store bought pizza and pasta with homemade mini sandwiches and japchae (Korean noodles). We hosted an Easter egg hunt for the kids and arranged everyone to play at the park on the playground. Elle is really starting to come out of her shell and socialize better with her girlfriends. It was such a wonderful time and it made me so proud of how far she’s come in the eleven years, and how far I’ve come as her mother.
She is my eternal life teacher and I wouldn’t trade my life as her mother with any riches in the world. I once thought I gave up so much for her– my job, my ambitions and dreams– but now I see that she gifted me with things that are much more meaningful, things like authentic joy, gratitude and ability to recognize God in every little moment of our daily lives.
Happy birthday my sweet baby girl. Thanks to you, I’m growing closer to the person God designed me to be.