Don’t Let The Moments of Grace Pass You By

As I sit here looking at a newborn photo of Bella as an angel, I ask myself “if I could go back to that day and do it all over, would I?” The obvious answer would be “of course!” But that decision would not be an easy one as many thoughts come to the surface.
The day this photo was taken was day 1 of colic. For the first 3.5 months of Bella’s life, she cried! She would breastfeed, sleep in my arms, and scream the rest of the day. Every day was the same. We would wake up, her in my arms, and she would be calm for a half hour or so, then the crying would begin. 
I was heavily criticized for allowing her to soothe herself on me all day. No one seemed to understand how difficult it was to cope. I admit it was easier to hold her, but it was also what she wanted. I now have no regrets.
I have always said that colic could be used as a form of torture. I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone. I paced all day and bounced on a yoga ball, skipped meals and ate when I could, showered when I had someone to help, and slept when Bella did since she only slept in my arms. 
Once the screaming subsided, it was replaced with a cranky child who either wanted to be held or wanted to explore. And by “explore” I mean got into everything she could. I couldn’t take my eyes off her for a moment because I feared for her safety. My home felt like a circus.
The sleep difficulties continued. She slept in my arms her entire life. I was exhausted and underweight, battling depression and severe anxiety. My kids always came first, but that depleted me to the point where there was nothing left of me.
Yet as challenging as it was to simply survive, we found moments to celebrate every single day. We loved! We laughed. And we LIVED! 
These were the hardest days of my life. But if I could go back, I wouldn’t change a single thing.
Bella taught me how to be selfless; her needs always came first. She taught me patience. She taught me the importance of self care. Most importantly, she taught me about gratitude. I learned to appreciate the happy moments because they were rare. But those moments are the most precious memories I have and I will hold on to them for all of eternity.
I would relive those difficult days all over again for even just one more moment with Bella. But since that’s not possible, I am grateful that I can go back to those moments in my mind and relive those memories over and over again. These memories bring me pain, but behind every tear is a sparkle of joy. 
This life is not the one I imagined, but it’s my reality. No one ever expects to live without their child. But Bella changed me, and I am so thankful for that.
One of the most difficult lessons I have learned is that sometimes our most cherished memories are created during the most difficult times in life. No matter how bad things seem or what you are forced to deal with, don’t ever let the moments of grace pass you by. You won’t get these moments back so enjoy them and cherish them for the rest of your life. 

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