I am blessed. So are our daughters. Andrea is hands down the best mama for these two girls. I've never met anyone more comfortable in their own skin as a mama than her. The desire to be a mama had been a part of who she was since childhood. All along, it's all she wanted to do. That seems incredibly noble to me. We might be able to get away with fewer astronauts, doctors, engineers, teachers, etc. We will not be able to get away with fewer mothers. We can never have the former without the latter.
I don't remember much about preparing for Abigail's arrival (or what I did during the long wait), but I do remember the amount of time Andrea poured over our modest nursery, the clothes, diapers, books, etc. I remember her just sitting in that room, praying and singing and crying...sometimes for hours. She didn't feel complete. By the time Abigail came along, she had read numerous books and articles and had several conversations with friends about parenting. I didn't do much of that. So when Abigail arrived, she hit the ground running with complete confidence. It made it easier for me to come alongside and feel like I knew what I was doing when I largely did not. Andrea makes me a better papa.
Then all the medical issues started mounting for Abigail. Andrea could have thrown her hands up and asked, "why me, why us, why Abigail, why now?" Instead, she immersed herself in medical journals and forums and became Abigail's strongest advocate for care. I'm still highly ignorant when it comes to all the intricacies of NF (and now Down Syndrome with Shilo). Andrea is not. Far from it. As with Abigail, Andrea has jumped head first into the medical realm for Shilo. She knows more about the heart, lungs, sedation meds, and diuretics than most early med students probably do. She can talk the talk with the doctors and help plan out Shilo's course of care because she knows Shilo better than ANYONE (and the same goes for Abigail and her unique issues and countless doctors). Even being apart from her for almost three months now, Andrea still knows Abigail better than I do in all areas. She doesn't learn all of the medical stuff because she has to, but because she wants to know that they are getting the best care possible.
She weeps for our girls because of the fallen nature of the world, and the brokeness of their bodies. She weeps for the two women who selflessly chose us to be parents. Her love overflows for each of our daughters in an inspiring way. When we decided we were ready to add to our family this past year, things progressed very quickly and Shilo was born within three weeks of our homestudy...in another state. We shuffled things so we could go be with her, knowing she had a heart condition that is fairly common in Down Syndrome, and would need surgery within days. Things were a little tricky with the interstate adoption timeline, so Andrea stayed in Kentucky with Shilo until the courts cleared it. The last 5 days of their stay, she had both girls at a friend's family's house while they were on vacation. She was exhausted and lonely, but amazing, and created to do it. Now, the last 11 1/2 weeks have been spent here in the ICU for Shilo, and Andrea has been here the whole time...and the only other place she'd rather be is home, with all four of us together. Even being away from Abigail during the week, she is still a better-than-great mama for her. She skypes some, talks on the phone often, gives 'kissing hands' when departing each Sunday, and spends LOTS of time having fun together on weekends. She is so good at affirmation and encouragement. She's great at being patient and teaching Abigail (and soon Shilo) all sorts of skills they will need their whole life. Andrea's amazing at enjoying all the little moments of joy and just having fun in the moment. She makes their lives better.
The more I think about how thankful I am Andrea is their mama, I am realizing just how different she is from me. I guess I am most thankful for that.
Happy Mama's Day Andrea!