New meanings

A couple of months ago, I had a quick minute when the kids were occupied in the late afternoon and I took advantage of that time with a frantic, end-of-the-day cleaning session.

As I put away laundry in Brenna’s room, my eyes settled on her big pink picture frame that hung above her changing table. Aquaphor smudges almost completely covered the bottom part of the frame and even extended up onto the picture itself, from where Brenna had reached up and grabbed at the frame.

I smiled so knowingly, so lovingly, that in that second, I recognized a new feeling in my personal journey since Brenna’s birth. I am still grappling with how to describe it, but it was a feeling of not just acceptance and trust in God, but an all-encompassing love…a love where I can see clearly each of my kids’ unique characteristic, physical attributes, little quirks and personalities, and love those things, all of those things, exactly as God has created them.

I realized I have passed over into a new phase of Brenna’s health diagnosis.

I don’t just accept her condition… I find every little part of her so endearing and so love-able.

I see the piles of skin she leaves behind and I smile.

(And I had to laugh the other day when Connor pointed to a spot on his bed, where Brenna had been sitting, and exclaimed, “Uh oh! Crumbs!”)

Aquaphor smudges no longer bring tears, but instead they carry a new meaning. If there is Aquaphor on my shirt, that means I have been snuggling with my baby girl. If there is Aquaphor on the couch, that means that Brenna has insisted on sitting up there next to her brother like a big girl. If there is Aquaphor stained all over our board books, it is simply because our sweet girl is enamored by the words and pictures inside, insisting “buh! buh!” for book at every spare moment.

I am discovering that all of the things I originally saw as something that made our family different – the extra laundry and Aquaphor stains, the skin shedding, the therapy, the cooling vest, the syringes and medicine spread out on our kitchen counter – these pieces of our life have new meaning to me now.

These pieces of our life mean that our little girl is alive and thriving. They mean that our house is filled with joy and love and more concern for our children than our clothes and furniture and opinions from anyone else.

These pieces of our life are more endearing to me than I ever thought they’d be, more beautiful that I ever imagined, and truly much less “different” than the world thinks they are.


  1. Cassie says

    This post made me cry, happy tears of course. I can’t pretend I know exactly what you are going through but when you said ” our house is filled with joy and love and more concern for our children than our clothes and furniture and opinions from anyone else” it hit home for me on a personal level. I think so many of us try to be supermom or are made to feel by someone that we should be (a parent, a spouse, friends etc). The presence of toys in the living room or kitchen means my kids want to be near me when they play. A mess in their bathroom sink of toothpaste means that they feel independent enough to give brushing and washing a go themselves. My makeup gotten into and my shoes out of place in the room means my little girls were pretending to be grown ups, mimicking me. I can’t even get mad at that even though it leaves me a mess to clean lol. Brenna is growing and mobile and just like any kid, getting into stuff, engaging with the family and leaving her “fingerprints” in what she loves and what interests her just like all kids do, even if hers are smudged with aquaphor. :) Oh, and the “crumbs” part made me giggle lol! Too cute!

  2. Anonymous says

    This is so lovely x very true too. ..we treasure every crumb and smudge Daniel leaves behind. Beautiful Brenna is an inspiration!

  3. says

    I can understand the messes and I am so glad you are at that place to find beauty in them..

    We had a dog that used to smudge up the big window and my mom would constantly be annoyed and wipe them off weekly or even daily. I looked at them and told her hey mom, they look like Chinese writing. And the last smudges after he passed away were there for months.

    My new dog is a big dog, German Shephard and it seems like he is constantly stretched out, laying in the way. When that happens, I call him speed bump. 😀

  4. Brenda says

    This is so incredibly well written. I am sitting here (at work!) with tears in my eyes as it just hits so close to home for me. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and life with us – I recently found your blog and can’t get enough!

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