Last Sunday, I was distracted the entire Mass. It was hot in church and I had a hard time concentrating on the Gospel or the Homily for that matter. After Communion, I bowed my head and closed my eyes to aid my focus in silent prayer. Suddenly, I felt a prompting to open my eyes and look over at my daughter.
Her right hand was on her knee. My husband had placed his hand over it, interlacing their long fingers. I smiled at the sight. The trust this beautiful young lady has in her Daddy is so evident in those hands. The very fact that she sits beside us is a miracle.
As many of you know, my Courtney suffers from a seizure disorder that has left her blind, non-verbal as well as severely physically and mentally disabled, functioning at a developmental level of seven to twelve months in age. The doctors told us she would not survive her first birthday but God had a different plan. She fought bravely as the seizures battered her mind and body.
They said she would not survive her third birthday, but once again God had a different plan. She stood at deaths door that summer but refused to enter. She has continued to face the frightening barrage of seizures, hospital stays, illnesses, and surgeries not once giving up. My little girl is now a young woman and the doctors say nothing anymore.
As the memories of holding those beautiful hands through every single crisis is replaying like a black and white movie in my mind, Courtney surprises me. She picks up her left hand and puts it on top of my husband’s hand grasping it and squeezing, then leans over in her wheelchair gently placing her head on his shoulder.
I hold my breathe.
Tears come quickly, clouding my vision but I refuse to take my eyes from the miracle occurring next to me. My daughter is telling her Daddy she loves him the only way she knows how. It is an extremely rare gesture that fills my heart to overflowing. I stare trying to take in every detail so I won't forget this precious moment because I do not know if it will come again.
I used to dream of Courtney speaking. Oh how I have prayed to hear her say “Mamma” or “I love you.” I railed at God lamenting the fact that my daughter could not communicate with me. Then when she was three I began to notice how she would tilt her head or reach for a hand. She would smile when you read her books with silly voices and giggle when you sang very bad country songs in a low voice. She had her own love language and I was the one who needed to learn it.
I know now that “I love you” comes without a spoken word. She says it with a giggle as we swing her at the park or a crooked little smile sweetly given after macaroni and cheese for lunch. She says it with a soft hum during nighttime prayers or a head gently placed upon her fathers shoulder.
It is the most beautiful love language I have ever heard. It is one I hope to keep hearing for many more years.
This week the lovely Miss Courtney has a birthday. By a miracle of God she turns 18 on Wednesday, August 18. It has been a particularly challenging year for my girl as many of you know. She was hospitalized with the swine flu back in November and has been battling a difficult weight issue since March. Through all of this she has continued to fight daily seizures with incredible tenacity and grace. She continues to speak her very own love language for the world to hear loud and clear.
So on this Monday I am incredibly grateful for:
#25 - blond curls leaning on Daddy's shoulder
#26 - long fingers intertwined in prayer
#27 - tears of clarity
#28 - 18 years of love and sweet giggles
#29 - quiet moments contemplating the wonder of life
#30 - daughters
I have a job for you my dear readers to help us celebrate the BIG day . I want you to leave a comment on this post and tell Miss Courtney "Happy Birthday". Leave your favorite bible verse that gets you through a tough time or a word of encouragement. Let her know what your thinking.
I will read your messages to her on Wednesday when we go to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. It has become our yearly pilgrimage to the chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes to pray for her intercession for Courtney. For my non-catholic blog readers this is just like asking your friends to pray for you. We call upon Our Lords Mother to pray for Courtney and intercede with her Son on Courtney's behalf.
Last year we had about 50 comments. I know we can supersede that this year.
Let's show Miss Courtney the LOVE shall we!!
I can't wait to see what God has in store for my girl this year!
Labels: Courtney's World, My Crazy Life