When I was pregnant with our first son, Bennett, I read many parenting books and prepared a plan for how I would parent. I planned our baby would sleep in his crib. I planned to follow a strict schedule. I planned to wake early and exercise on maternity leave. And clearly I planned to lose the baby weight before returning back to work. It took me 2 minutes after becoming a Mom to start adjusting my plans to reality.
My water broke unexpectedly and Bennett join the world early. My plan was to have Bennett latch and enjoy skin to skin after delivery. However, after birth he experienced respiratory distress and was rushed to the NICU leaving me alone in the delivery room. The 10 days we spent in the NICU with a “whimpy white boy” diagnosis, were not part of my plan. Neither were the 9 months of severe colic, 13 months of night time waking. This was all NOT in my plan!! But I adjusted my plans and I found a new plan that I enjoyed. I learned I loved co-sleeping and it helped me breast feed for a year. I learned you can’t spoil a baby, just hold him and enjoy it!
While Bennett was in the NICU my brother in law, Mike Herold, told us, “Parenting is not your personal journey. Parenting is the process of walking with your child on their personal journey.” Seems obvious, right? However, I continue to learn this lesson over and over.
Harry’s had his own journey. We found out at 20 weeks Harrison would be born with club feet. This was devastating news. But we quickly researched and learned with proper treatment he would walk normally. So we prepared for Harrison’s journey with club feet treatment.
We handled it in stride. We took him to Iowa every 5 days (a 5 hour drive each way) to have his little feet stretched and casted. He was fussy for a bit but remained pretty tough through the entire ordeal.
Over time, I adjusted my plans to include Harrison’s club foot treatment. Clearly the devastating, abrupt end to his life was not in my plan. I’m still struggling to adjust my plan to include this piece.
I received a comment from a fellow Mommy of a baby angel stating, “You are stronger than I.” I am not offended by this comment. But I don’t feel strong. I am sad. I am angry! And I WANT MY HARRISON BACK!!!! There… There it is… This is my reality.
The reason I am sharing all of this to explain that the idea of “Harry’s Joy” is simply a Mom that has adjusted her plan to continue to walk Harrison’s journey. I am still Harrison’s mommy.
My personal contribution to “Harry’s Joy” has been minor. I only helped my toddler to complete one act of kindness and then shared our story. But the army of people who also completed acts of kindness in Harrison’s honor is AMAZING!!!! And that is not my work! That is the impressive part of this journey! And it is NOT my doing, it is not my strength. Quite the opposite, these acts of kindness are what has helped us during our time of weakness to fine strength. “Harry’s Joy” has become a gift to our family to help us heal and remember our sweet baby boy. Thank you all for loving us, remembering Harrison, and being kind to one another.