Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just a Glimpse...

I have dreamed a handful of times that Elise is different. Different in a good way. Once, I dreamed that she was sitting in a high chair in some unknown house. Right before waking up, she looked me in the eyes and said, “Mama”. Another time, I dreamed that she took a few precarious steps, and we were so proud of her. In every one of these dreams, it feels like reality. I’m not thinking to myself, “Wow, Elise is doing crazy things we never thought she would do!” It just feels right.

Each time I have experienced these alternate realities thought up by my subconscious, I wake up with that feeling of-- “did that really happen?” We have all had to question ourselves after arousing from a deep sleep as to whether or not what we dreamed about actually happened. It usually only takes me a few seconds to realize that, no, it didn’t. The disappointment can be overwhelming. I have a survival skill that many moms of special needs kids develop. Don’t dwell. If I do, it hurts. So I don’t and it works. I move on.

I love to lay next to Elise in her bed. She will put her fingers up to my face and feel my nose, mouth, and eyes. She sees me with her hands. We will just lay there together, face to face. She likes it when I hum or sing to her as she places her hand on my jaw, feeling the vibrations of my voice. I treasure these moments.

About a year ago, I started doing something that is out of character for me. I found myself begging God to give me just a glimpse of Elise as a little girl that recognizes her mom. To give me a short moment where she sees me. Where she knows me. Where she looks at me and there is a deeper recognition of us as mother and daughter. Just a moment.

I pray “God, please. Just a glimpse. Please.”

It never happens. She just continues to lay there, looking off into empty space, using her hand to explore my face. When I don’t receive what I so desperately beg for from God, it surprises me that I don’t feel disappointed. I guess I know that what I’m asking for is just a fantasy.

Sometimes disappointment and the pain that tags along can build our trust and confidence in Jesus. My faith isn’t challenged by whether or not I see a miracle performed on Elise. I recently started a kid’s bible study with my older son, Lane. The entire first chapter focuses on James 1:2-4. It says,

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect (mature) and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Like it or not, I have come to realize that we are to use our grief and our overall situation with Elise as an incentive to grow. It helps to keep repeating to myself, “God knows what is best and you would be smart to trust Him!”

The next time I feel compelled to plead with God for a moment between Elise and me that I know can’t happen, I pray that I can instead look forward to my dreams. It’s in those dreams, real or not, that I get a peek. Just a glimpse of my baby girl. I get to hear her voice, see her take steps, and feel her as she puts her arms around me. I know that I’ll have to wait until we see each other in heaven to truly meet her face to face, laugh with her and see that understanding in her eyes that she knows me. For now though, I am learning to be thankful for my dreams.

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