There was a moment in my life where I felt the need to run……
Stuck to a cold hospital bed, in a lonely room in Abu Dhabi, legs numb from the aftereffects of my C-section, and as my baby was wheeled down to ICU, I sat trembling in fear.
Wanting to run and hide from the news that was lingering in my room like fine smoke. Nurses huddled in corners, whispers and smiling glances passed my way as the statement “Down Syndrome” passed slowly from their lips as if caught in time.
Over these past seven years it has occurred to me that there are pivotal moments we ALL encounter where we feel we could just RUN…….run away from it all, hide in the hills and never look back. You hear people talk of fleeting moments, in a magical and mystical way.
“Don’t take for granted what you’ve got”……”These are fleeting moments, cherish them, they’ll be gone before you know it…”.
In my case in this instant, it was more of a fleeing moment I was thinking about!
How can I rewind the clock? Maybe I should have had those prenatal tests and then I wouldn’t be in this situation? Please, oh please God, take me away……
Of course this was not the veneer I decided to display to those who came in contact with me, but rather that of a seasoned warrior.
“We are blessed, she is a gift, there’s a reason we were chosen as her parents….” were the words that seamlessly slipped from my mouth as though I had rehearsed them for the biggest performance I was to play in my life.
In reality, I felt isolated, alone, and scared as hell for what was to come….
Now, before I go any further, I want to make one thing perfectly clear. Despite all these feelings, there was NO doubt whatsoever that I had an intense and DEEP love for this beautiful child. That is the part that was so confusing and put me through such a deep internal struggle.
I felt LOVE…….and yet I wanted to RUN…….
I just recently participated in a 72km relay (with 4 other very competent runners!) through the wadi’s and mountains in Oman (a race called Wadi Bih). I can honestly say that this was probably the scene I envisioned for myself when having that moment of wanting to run and hide. Off in the mountains, where no one could find me….somewhere that I could find the strength to want to to run BACK and meet things head on.
My philosophy in life has always been this..
“Things happen for a reason. We are always where we need to be in any given time. Life takes us where we are meant to go.”
The same rings true for the birth of my beautiful daughter Ruby. She came into our lives for a reason, and that reason is so utterly simple, yet beautiful.
She came to show me how to LOVE both myself, others, and the things I cannot control around me. I could write this post floundering on and on about how amazing and wonderful and beautiful every moment I have experienced with her in seven years has been.
And it HAS been a beautiful road, full of twists and turns, bumps, flat tires, super adrenaline filled racing, and smooth sailing. It has been the road I was meant to travel, with Ruby as my copilot, steering me back on the track when I venture off it.
But it has also been a time of internal struggle, frustration, and pain. The realization that she rarely gets invited to play dates (I can count them on one hand in seven years), the fact that upon our return to Dubai that most schools here don’t see my daughter as an “equal” or as someone who can contribute to their establishment despite the fact that she has achieved “Outstanding Reading” just recently (to the school that decided to take a chance on her, thank you!), or the fact that we live in an Alcatraz like state with bolts, locks, and boundary walls around us for Ruby’s safety (she’s a runner!).
Through every hurdle, and every struggle, I have felt the need to run. I would much rather bury my head in the sand and pass the baton on to someone else at times. And the reason I share this so candidly with you is because I know that YOU TOO also have times where life hands you a challenge, and you feel it is all too much to carry. I want to connect with you and let you know that you’re not alone, and that your struggle is not less, not more, nor insignificant.
We all process things in different ways. What we have done for years is shoved everything under the carpet, hidden things behind closet doors, and for this we have suffered. It’s time to be able to air your closets, release the dust that clings to the corners and set yourself free.
I love my daughter more than words can describe. She is ALL heart and soul and carries an intense energy of LOVE unparalleled by no one I’ve ever met.
She is the love magnet, and clings lovingly to everyone who comes into contact with her. She gives freely, openly and unselfishly of herself, and for seven years I have been privileged to be her mother.
I have always maintained that raising Ruby will be the same as raising any of my other girls. The rules will be the same, there is no special treatment, and that the achievements will overshadow the difficulties.
I believe we have achieved the balance for the most part, but there is that consideration that things with Ruby are slightly different, but it’s where we choose to focus our attention that matters.
Ruby is Ruby and thank God for that! Looking back over these seven years I am just so proud of how far she has come. To achieve outstanding reading (the top level) in a mainstream school is one thing, but to personally witness the amount of love she has projected onto others is the pinnacle of her success.
There isn’t a moment where she’s not giving freely of her beautiful spirit and never-ending fountain of LOVE…..
Please join me a for a celebration of my favorite recent images of Ruby. Happy Birthday to the most beautiful spirit….my teacher, daughter, spark of life, and LOVE.
Happy Seventh Birthday Ruby!!!
And on a final note….
“The mirror within the mirror reveals it’s reflection in all it’s truth, and with that I never go hungry again…..”-Nektarism
(An excerpt from the book I recently wrote that was a gift from Ruby. A realization that we are all mirrors of truth to one another and upon knowing this, we are free to express who we really are. Thank you Ruby for yet another beautiful gift of awakening.)