Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Happy Birthday, Hannah
Today, my little sister Hannah turns twelve.
Speaking for myself, every November 28th since the year 2000 has been a big moment. Even though, today, I'm not exactly sure how I should feel.
I just don't know.
You see, part of me is reminded that I can now celebrate exactly twelve years with the most precious gift God has given to me. I can celebrate that she survived her first four months with her severe heart problems, her first year, and the at-least-a-dozen surgeries she's had since then (I haven't had one surgery - emergency room once, and that was it.) She's made it this far. And again, speaking for myself, for someone with all of Hannah's conditions to reach the age of twelve is a big feat in of itself. After all she's been through...twelve years? My goodness. What a wonderful twelve years it has been.
The other part of me feels a growing apprehension with each 11/28 that goes by. Sometimes I'd even go so far as to use the word fear. Each year, it is a dark cloud on the horizon that seems to grow a bit more and more, blocking out the sunlight I had when I was younger and didn't understand what words like handicapped and medical procedure meant.
The other part of me wonders...what if? What if this is my last year with Hannah? What if this is the last birthday gift I give to her? What if come next November 28th...she's gone?
I mean, it's not as if we know she's not going to make it to her sweet sixteen or anything. The doctors at Mayo have never given us a clear life expectancy for her. But you never know. Hannah has had so many of those quick-rush emergencies in the past. One of them was even a brain tumor (I'll tell you that story at another time). One morning something inside Hannah could go wrong or stop working altogether...rush to the emergency room...drive down to Mayo Clinic with not a minute to spare...operations, procedures...and then she leaves us. Like a leaf dropping from a tree branch.
I just don't know.
So today, I'm going to give her the Dora the Explorer movie I bought from Best Buy, and I'm going to buy her a balloon, and I'm going to tell her over and over that it's her birthday. I'll wear something pink because that is her favorite color. And I'll try not to think about whether or not this could be Hannah's last birthday on Planet Earth. I'll just celebrate today for what it is.
Twelve years with Hannah. Definitely worth celebrating.
Not my will but yours be done, Lord. Let the rest of Your plan for Hannah's life not interfere with my and my family's selfish tendencies and apprehensions. Thank you for giving me these twelve years - whether or not You intend for more to come.