Growing up, my mom always told me a sweet story of my dad. I had two sisters and my mom was pregnant with their fourth. People would frequently remark that they must be “trying for a boy.” When my parents responded that they would be pleased to welcome a baby boy or girl, people would then say, “Well of course. As long as the baby’s healthy.” For most people that would be satisfactory, but my dad then replied that they would be delighted to have another baby even if it wasn’t healthy. Children were a blessing, however they came. I remember having the exact same conversation with someone before we had Grant. Little did I know how hard it would be to accept an “unhealthy” child and the implications it would have on our lives.
I had a healthy pregnancy and normal ultrasounds with Grant. It wasn’t long after he was born that concerns were raised about him. Grant did not open his eyes, would only slightly fuss to eat, and always seemed to be asleep. The doctors felt he had a very “syndromic” appearance and, though his eyes remained closed, we were assured that “he has eyeballs.” Something we thought was a given. He had a few other peculiarities including a small hole in his heart. We felt a roller coaster of emotions as doctors tested him for fatal genetic problems and brain disorders. Everything came back normal and he was eating and gaining weight appropriately.
As we started ruling things out we found ourselves in a position of needing to wait to see how he developed, seeing as we were unlikely to get a diagnosis. Grant slowly started to open his eyes in the coming months but did not seem engaged in the world. It wasn’t until he was about 6 months old that he really started to make eye contact and began engaging with our family.
Through it all we knew that Grant was a gift, but our feelings of grief and heartache at times seemed to overshadow our gift. We questioned if we were being ungrateful. We had a hard time reconciling the truth that Grant was wonderfully made by God, yet there was something very wrong with his mind and body. We wondered how it would affect our family’s future. While we attribute all Grant’s improvements to the healing hand of the Great Physician, the true miracle has happened in our hearts. What we knew in our heads we have learned in our hearts and that is, God is in control. We can either resent His plan for our lives or surrender to it, thus finding the joy He has intended for us. Grant truly is a gift and a wonderful gift at that! We have learned to be thankful for every day since we don’t know what the future holds. We rejoice at the small things such as a smile or him rolling over. We’ve realized we will never fit the “perfect family” and are freed to live as God desires, with our eyes fixed on Jesus. While we have no idea what God has in store for us and Grant, we know it is in God’s perfect will, wisdom, and goodness.