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Of Thanksgiving & Hope

I am up early this Thanksgiving morning, reminiscing with prayers of blessings for all those who have impacted our lives. For it was on this day 18 years ago I, unexpectedly became a mother. Fighting for my own life, it was the day before Thanksgiving, and it was a day of HELLP & Hope.

Thankful for all of the doctors and nurses who sprung to action, who continued to care for both of us for the coming weeks and months. For friends, family, our faith and local community who came together to help us in a time of need. But, this Thanksgiving, more than ever, I am thankful, for Hope.

When you become a parent, you are consumed with all that you must teach your children, to care for them and help them grow into thoughtful and productive members of society. This morning, it isn't about what we have taught her, but what she has taught us throughout the past 18 years that I am thankful.

Believing in God, means believing in His timing. In the past 18 years, I have come to know and trust in Gods greater plan in my life. I have stubbornly pushed, trying to force things into my timeline, my schedule. In those times when I have trusted in the greater plan, trusted that the people in my life are there for a reason, that obstacles are there to teach me, it is in those times when I experienced the greatest growth. Growth that has made me who I am today. Your feet know the path, trust them and you will not fall.

Patience & presence. Growth happens over time, learning happens over time, have patience and be present in those times. Having a 15.6 ounce baby in the hospital for months on end gives you an ample amount of one thing, time. Savor every day, every breath, celebrate every accomplishment of growth. The outside world will distract you, but never lose sight that this is your life, show up for it.

Love & Compassion. Throughout the years, we have experienced plenty of ups and downs. Hope has a wonderful way of believing the best in people. She truly wants the best for others, secretly cheers them on in their successes. Remaining optimistic when I might have become cynical, freely granting forgiveness when I struggle to find it in my own heart. She is truly resilient, loving and compassionate and that perhaps has been the greatest lesson. Above all things, love.

Work hard & never give up. Things haven't always come easy, but the one thing we have heard repeatedly, Hope works hard. She works hard, but never really makes it seem like work. She is the one quietly grabbing the garbage and taking it out when it needs, picking something up, reminding me of groceries or just stopping to grab them on her way home without being asked. Quietly studying for hours on end, shooting baskets, or mastering a new word puzzle, she wants to do things better each day when many would roll into coast mode. Never, ever, ever give up.

Be You. When Hope was still just a baby, doctors told us she would never run and play like other kids, never go to a regular school, never a lot of things. At each turn, proving them wrong. At one point I asked her pediatrician if she would be able to do something and his response was, "Every time I try to make a prediction, she proves me wrong. When the books tell me she can't, she does. There is not a book that gets it right, that girl writes her own book." People will tell you that you can't, but remember YOU write your own book.

Trust in your own knowing. Hope has always had a strong knowing of what is right and wrong. A desire to understand the rules, to follow them and encourage others to do the same. A stubborness for equality, a knowing of her own path, and a trust of her intuition. A strong internal compass guides her, reminding us to, do what is in your heart and all else will follow.

Smile. I came a cross a quote that reminds me of Hope, "Don't let someone dim your light, simply because it is shining in their eyes." In the face so many ups and downs, one thing has been constant, her smile. She keeps a positive attitude, and when so many are cynical, finds reason to smile. Be happy, truly happy.

Thank you, my dear Hope, for letting me walk this path with you, and for all you have taught me along the way! Here is to the many adventures that are yet to come. Happy Birthday!