There has been a story I have been following the past few months. A story of heartache and beauty, joy and sorrow. It has been the story of country gospel singer Joey Feek and I've been reading the blog posts of her husband Rory. In case you aren't familiar with her story (though I'm sure many of you are to some degree), Joey was diagnosed with cervical cancer and when treatments were no longer working, she decided to discontinue them and live out the rest of her days with the ones she loved.
Immediately I felt deeply connected to their story because like me, Joey was a "rockin' mom". Her baby girl, Indiana, is only 1-2 months old than my boys and she also has Down syndrome. You don't even need to meet another mom of a child with Down syndrome in person to feel that instant bond. But to have Indiana so close in age to my sweet Asher, just makes this story that much harder for me to read without shedding tears.
Joey passed away recently, or as her husband says, "her dream came true" as she is now with Jesus. I've grieved this story more than I probably should have considering I never knew Joey, but it sounds like she was a beautiful person with a beautiful heart. Much of the reason I have grieved though, isn't really the loss of Joey, but instead the pain the comes with putting myself in her shoes and thinking about leaving my little boys.
Motherhood is so incredibly beautiful and while we all "know" somewhere deep down that heaven is far more beautiful than any earthly thing, even when it's hard to imagine, we also know that there are a lot of really really beautiful things here on earth that we are incredibly privileged to experience. Motherhood just happens to be one of them. The opportunity to raise sweet children and watch them grow and change and learn and then transform into adults, there is nothing like it. And I am learning that the age my boys are at, while at times trying, is absolutely incredible. All they learn, and how quick they pick everything up, while wanting to become helpful and do everything we do, mixed in with the joy and innocence and creativity of toddlerhood. It's amazing.
There is this other thing though. When you have a child with special needs, raising them takes on a different meaning because they will never be completely independent like a typical child. As moms, we want to be there to be our child's advocate and make sure they get all they deserve. We want to make sure that they are cared for and becoming the very best they can be, accomplishing all that they can. Helping them to accomplish things that others might not have helped them to accomplish because they didn't think that they could. We want to be there to be part of it all and even Joey uttered the words that they all had been thinking at one point. She wanted to be there to raise their sweet daughter. It's not that we don't trust our husbands to do this, we just want to be there for it as well.
Now Joey is where there is no more pain and she will no longer grieve not being able to raise her daughter and Rory and Indiana will continue on living out their days on their farm, I'm sure taking walks out to where Joey is buried to visit. And now, I will go and hug and kiss the sweet boy quietly playing on the floor, while his brother sleeps in the other room with his daddy, praising God that he chose me to be a "rockin' mom".