The Day I Knew She Wasn’t Normal

You would think that I’ve always known. But it wasn’t until just exactly yesterday that I finally realized Annie isn’t normal.

You would think that this day: when she left my side as a 2-hour-old neonate to travel across town without me while I lay confined to a delivery room bed recovering from her birth would have informed me.

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Or this day: when I prayed she’d take another breath and the swarm of nurses could subside.

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Or this day: when they told us our 10-week-old would die from the common cold.

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Or this day: when I consoled my 3-month-old hours after her second open heart surgery, patch still covering a tautly-stitched chest. IMG_2916

Or even this day: when Annie smiled proudly, recognized as the cutest little survivor of heart disease.

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But it wasn’t until just exactly yesterday that I finally realized Annie isn’t normal.

Her cardiologist cleared her for Tumbling Twos. “Go for it,” he said. “But educate her teacher that she may–or may not–get more tired than others. Let her rest–but don’t make her.She might turn blue. It’s okay. Let her rest and return when she is ready.”

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Her gymnastics coach set up the obstacle course yesterday. She lined up 1 mini tramp, 2 mini tramps, 3 mini tramps, 4 mini tramps, 5 mini tramps, that ended with a super stretch and forward roll.

Annie bunny hopped bravely, giggling the whole way…1 mini tramp, 2 mini tramps, 3 mini tramps, 4 mini tramps, 5 mini tramps.

Stretching. Rolling. Smiling. Beaming.

Panting. Purpling. Huffing. Puffing.

Coughing. Smiling. Jumping. Giggling.

Gasping.

She ran to me for a gulp of water and whispered, “Momma, I can’t keep up.” But once her sip was swallowed, she ran back to her place in line. And again…1 mini tramp, 2 mini tramps, 3 mini tramps, 4 mini tramps, 5 mini tramps.

Stretching. Rolling. Smiling. Beaming.

Panting. Purpling. Huffing. Puffing.

Coughing. Smiling. Jumping. Giggling.

Gasping.

For 45 minutes, it went on. A purple-lipped Annie heaving for air. But she wouldn’t quit her routine.

From the side seats, I struggled to remind myself of the last comment of her doctor’s approval note, “She won’t hurt herself with overexercising.” I struggled to remember why I thought I should enroll my heart failure child in gymnastics.

I expected that I’d be embarrassed the day I realized her physical limitations. I expected I’d be sad the day I saw her struggle to keep up with kids her age. I expected to be angry that it was my child who was different.

I was wrong.

It was the proudest I’ve ever been to be Annie’s mom. I was thankful that half-hearted girl disguised as a normal kid bunny hopped and rolled. I was thrilled that she never gave up. I was in awe of her courage to fight fiercely to finish her set. I was inspired by a little girl who huffed and puffed but kicked and smiled through every short breath.

And so, just exactly yesterday I realized that Annie isn’t normal. Not even close. Her determination, her will, her fight, her spirit, her tenacity, her heart are not like any other child’s I have ever seen.

Instead of embarrassed, I am beyond proud of my little girl who continues to show us that there’s something better than normal.

 

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5 thoughts on “The Day I Knew She Wasn’t Normal

  1. Mary Bennett says:

    Because you know me so well my first thought was..”who wants to be normal when you can be Annie?” She enjoys every moment to the fullest…and she is teaching all off her people to do the same!! She is precious and she knows no limits to what she is capable of!! God shines brightly in that smile of hers!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Leslie J. Moore says:

    Beautiful story of life and living it to the fullest! One mini tramp at a time, pausing for sips of water and then getting back out there! WE LOVE THE LANE Family. Thanks for sharing Tracy.

    Like

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