“No mommy. Dinosaur skin is green not purple.”
That was the reaction that Piper gave me as I tried to hand her a violet crayon. The green crayon was missing. I figured that purple would be a suitable substitute. However, Piper wasn’t your average four-year-old little girl. She was very bright, and she noticed the smallest of details, including the true tone of a prehistoric creature’s skin. Needless to say, I was very proud of how she was developing. She was going to be a very intelligent woman someday. I was sure of it.
However, there was a time in my life when I wasn’t sure about anything, especially parenthood. I remember the day I found out I was pregnant. I was in the doctor’s office with my husband Jack. The doctor walked into the room.
“Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, I have some good news. The vomiting that Deborah has been experiencing is morning sickness.”
The doctor paused and looked at us with a smile. Jack and I looked at each other. It took us a moment to figure out what the doctor was telling us. Jack and I both seemed to figure it out at about the same time. We quickly turned our heads in excitement towards the doctor.
“We’re having a baby? Deborah is pregnant?” Jack excitedly inquired.
“Yes Deborah is pregnant. Congratulations guys” the doctor cheerfully said.
We rushed home. Jack picked up the phone and called friends and family to share the big news. I was exhausted from lack of sleep the night before, and so I decided to take a nap. I had only slept a short time, when I jumped up startled out of bed. My flailing arms knocked a lamp off the nightstand causing a big crash. The noise alerted Jack who ran into the bedroom. I was sitting hunched over on the side of the bed breathing heavily.
“Honey, are you alright?” Jack asked in a concerned tone.
I shook my head yes and grabbed his hand.
“You’re hands are shaking dear. Is something wrong?”
Flashbacks occurred in my mind as I pondered the thought of becoming a mom. As a little girl, I had dreamt of getting married and having children of my own. That dream still existed within me, but unfortunately an event had taken place that caused me to doubt my ability to raise a child.
Two years ago, I was driving home from work late at night. A drunk driver hit me. The wreck totaled my car and left me with severe injuries. I had several cracked ribs along with a broken leg and a long gash along my left arm. The injuries to my neck and throat proved to be the worst of all. I had sustained significant vocal cord damage that left me unable to speak. Thankfully, I was blessed to have a loving husband who refused to leave my side as I endured a long recovery.
“Deborah. Are you alright?”
Jack’s voice snapped me out of my daydream and brought me back to reality. I began to cry on his shoulder as he wrapped his arms tightly around me. We had begun taking sign language classes together about 3 months ago, and I was able to briefly express to him what was wrong. I told him that I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to express my love to our child. I wasn’t very good at sign language yet, and I knew how important it was for me growing up to hear the words “I love you” from my mother and father.
“Do you really think that it was just words that your parent’s spoke that showed you they loved you Deborah?” Jack asked me.
It was that question that prompted me to begin thinking about what it truly meant to love someone. I thought about my mother, and how she would wake up early to make me chocolate chip pancakes before school. My father worked hard at the office to ensure that I always had warm clothes and a roof over my head. Sure it was nice to hear the words “I love you”, but without those acts of kindness to accompany them, the words would have been meaningless.
I picked up a red marker and began to draw on Piper’s whiteboard. I drew a big red heart. Piper looked at it, and then turned to me with a smile.
“I know you love me mommy. I love you too!”
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