Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Tonight we went to church(who would have thought 2 years ago I'd be going to any sort of church service ever in my life!).  The subject was hope and joy.  I got up and briefly talked a bit about my experience with hope and joy.  It went something like this(and I'm putting in in purple for Kendall).

Hope And Joy

Kendall was born and my life went dark really really dark.  I cried for a year, for an entire year.  That’s a lot of tears.  I couldn’t breathe, I didn’t want to move but I forced myself to.  Forced myself to take a shower, to take a walk, to just breathe, to get dressed…it all felt like a HUGE chore to say the least.  2 weeks after Kendall was born Dan went back to work.  I still couldn’t breathe, I wanted to run away and never have to experience the pain I felt.  This was not how my life was suppose to be.  I was not suppose to have a child with special needs.  Why me?  I was mad at life and at God.  I couldn’t understand why this happened to me.  I had no hope, no light, no joy just pure sadness.  I also had postpartum depression that went undiagnosed because people expected me to be sad about everything.  I had horrible visions of bad things happening to Kendall and I was just so so so so so very sad.

Then when Kendall was somewhere between 8-12 weeks old she smiled at me.  Hope creeped in and a second of joy and happiness came over me while I snapped 8 million pictures of her(it’s what you do with your first child).  

More days passed and I cried and cried, I would call Dan in a panic at 7am saying I couldn’t do this, I didn’t want to do this, I didn’t know how to do this, I was terrified.  The type of terrified that makes you just freeze up and again be unable to move.  Hardly any of my friends had kids so I couldn’t call them and even if I did what would I say?  Please help me get out of here, this is not the life I hoped for?  What kind of mom would say that?

Kendall turned 7 months old and Kendall sat up.  Hope creeped in through the darkness, more pictures ensued.  

She turned a year and the day before surgery on her head we threw a HUGE 1st birthday party for her and probably 50+ people showed up.  People had hope and they were joyful.  I looked hopeful but was scared out of my mind for the surgery.  I went through the motions of the party and felt hope and joy from others but didn’t feel it myself.  Surgery came and went and Kendall recovered.  I felt relief and a touch of hope and joy.


She turns 15 months and crawls.  Hope sneaks in again and I feel JOY.  For many many days and likely for the first time in 15 months I felt joy.

I no longer cried every day but I still worried all.the.time about what she would do in life.  Would she ever walk or talk or live a happy life?  2.5 years pass and she wears braces on her little ankles and she starts walking…more hope leads to more joy and HUGE RELIEF.  

Then one day we are in line for Starbucks, just her and I, and she says what sounds like “Mommy look at that big truck”.  I think I’m losing my mind in hearing what she said and I slowly look over and sure enough there is a huge Mac truck and I say to myself “holy crap, no one is here to witness this but she just said a 5 word sentence and I understood it”.  Hope prevails and JOY PURE JOY enters.  

Fast forward many more years and she’s opinionated, adorable and at times quite difficult.  She yells at me, she spits at me and she laughs at me when I don’t want her to and I hold on to hope, HOPING that I make it through her pre-teen and teenage years without completely losing my mind.  Then today, on a day when I want to just get away from it all, I leave the house and she yells “MOMMY” and I turn around and she blows me kisses and tells me she loves me and JOY WINS.  

There are still dark days at times but they are much less often.  Certain things trigger dark days, IEP’s, her birthday, the end of the school year, friends announcing pregnancies or births that went right.  And on those days I lay in my bed and sulk but know that throughout it all those little glimpses of hope turned into joy and all will be ok.  Hope peeks through no matter how much you think it won’t and joy is on the other side.  You just sometimes have to go through pure hell to get to the joy.

About Me

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Married mom of 3 not so little ones anymore but they still keep me grinning and giggling(most of the time). Kendall, age 12, Brady age 8 almost 9 and "baby" Chase who is 7. I have been married for 14.5 years to Dan Graff, who I think is the best dad ever to our kids. He certainly makes me grin and giggle to this very day. I have spent my non mom career working in recruiting on and off over the years recruiting Software Engineers. Other than my kids my most favorite thing to do in the entire word is ride horses followed by Kung Fu, where I earned my purple belt last year. I have been riding since I was 8 years old, with some time off here and there but I always go back to it. As Winston Churchill said, "There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man"(or woman in this case)!