Holidays and anniversaries are wonderful times for us, full of tradition and memories, fun and time together. For him, it's more reminders of the pain of the past and the unknown of the future. Will this family really care for me? What does love mean? Will they keep me?
Last year, anticipating celebrating one year as a family was not a time of fun and excitement, though we celebrated. It was a hard time for everyone. Though, one year is a very short time to have been a family. This year, things are different. They're better. It's been a hard year, but, things are improving. It was a hard summer with a lot of extended family that caused a lot of heartache for Jian and for us. Being together seems so joyful to us, and yet it's a constant reminder of what he never had, and he feels left out and uncertain.
He anticipates trips and doing something new, but, being with family does not stir up feelings in a positive way for him. He doesn't necessarily know what he feels, but, it's a mixture of pain, anxiety, sadness, anger, happiness and more. We're always hoping and praying that by continuing to spend time with family and friends it will help him improve and see what family truly means.
I thought about writing this post at the end of summer when we were struggling and getting ready for school to start. I never got around to it.
Then, four weeks ago, Jian broke his arm in his first high school football game. He needed emergency surgery to repair the broken bones with plates and screws. He then developed compartment syndrome that required 4 days in the hospital and 2 additional surgeries including a skin graft from his thigh. The road back to health is going to be a long one, but, the benefits to our relationship are immeasurable! We both stayed with him in the hospital almost non-stop, we had many friends and family come to visit, send cards and food and gifts. He began to realize THIS is family. We cried and hurt with him, we took care of him, washing his hands and feet, literally and figuratively. He was able to see what love really meant. Despite his pain and not being able to sign with his dominant hand, he was full of thankfulness to everyone who helped him, from the trainers on the field, to those who brought his food and cleaned his room. It was amazing to see this is who he really is, with uncontrollable pain, he was gracious and kind. Through this time of struggle, he is recognizing this is what it means to be loved. The first two weeks after his injury were the best we've had in the last two years. What seems like it may have been the worst thing to happen to him, has been one of the best things in our relationship. What an amazing blessing, hidden in what was once one of my greatest fears (I've always been afraid that one of my boys would break an arm and due to their deafness, would be unable to communicate). We know that we will still struggle and have difficulties, but, we are so thankful for God's grace and provision through this time.
Even in the midst of hardship and pain, family is becoming so much sweeter! We're so thankful that we'll have a special and memorable time of celebrating two years together tonight!