How an unborn* child has taught us to give thanks a little deeper.
There are a thousand things I am thankful for. Literally. I’m sure I could write on and on about the good things in my life, the good things I see around me, and the good things I know to be true about life and humanity and the world.
But for my family this Thanksgiving is all about our little Judah.
Our Judah that the doctors said phrases like “chromosomal anomaly” and “down syndrome”… and then “dilated kidneys” and “potential bladder problems”… and even others more recently that I don’t even want to give “print” space to.
Each of those phrases caused concern and question and plenty of tears. But they also forced us to have faith and compelled us to be in hope.
And each of those phrases have fizzled in time as our son was born perfectly healthy.
We will never know whether some of those things actually existed while he was in the womb, or if they didn’t. We will never know if he was healed before birth or “healed” all along.
And that’s ok – we’ve made peace with not knowing.
For all of the “problems” and “abnormalities” and “threats” that turned out to be nothing, we are thankful. We’re thankful for the all the “nothings” but we’re also thankful for the so many “somethings” that have come out of the short few months during my pregnancy and now eight weeks in our arms:
Thankful for the opportunity to see the preciousness of life with more clarity.
Thankful for the peace that comes when God whispers in the storm.
Thankful for those that rally and pray and encourage and write and… bring zucchini bread.
Thankful to see that we are loved perhaps more than we realized.
Thankful to connect with people we never would have otherwise.
And thankful now for each little milestone that Judah makes – one more confirmation that he is in fact healthy and developing just as he should.
And there are other things he’s taught me to be thankful for too:
Thankful that I now see children with special needs with a deeper longing for them to experience love and acceptance and support in chasing their own dreams… because I’ve imagined my son in their shoes.
Thankful that I now see parents of children with special needs with more compassion and understanding and admiration… because I’ve imagined myself in their shoes.
Thankful that I now have a greater understanding of my own influence and role in championing and advocating their cause as I’m able.
There are a thousand things for me to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, but most of all I’m thankful for this year’s most special of gifts: the gift of our son Judah Matthew** and all that his life has meant to us so far.
Without words or actions or intention on his part he’s already taught us so much.
Thank you son. Thank you God.
We are beyond grateful.
*Our son is now of course born, but the lessons from this season began long before his birthday.
**Judah means “to call on the name of the Lord and to praise, confess, or give thanks”. Matthew means “gift of God”.