I got to watch one of the greatest things today.
It was the finale of Vacation Bible School at our church. This was the first time Ann Catherine had ever attended. I knew she was having a good time this week, but what I saw today just backed that up.
When they started singing their VBS songs, Ann Catherine started jumping up and down and was singing at the top of her lungs. At first, Chris and I couldn't stop smiling and laughing. To see our little girl so happy and just praising the Lord was amazing. It was something we had never experienced and my heart was so full of joy, I thought I was going to pop. The worship of children is just so pure and real and it just touched me to see my daughter being part of this.
Then, I began to cry. As I watched her singing, I began to remember: three years ago on this very day, I was sitting next to her bedside in an intensive care unit. She was hooked up to wires and was so tiny I could see her ribs as she took each breath. Whether or not she would sing or dance one day wasn't important. I just wanted her to live.
Fast forward three years later. This little miracle is singing and dancing and jumping around. She's taking part in Vacation Bible School with a host of other three-year-olds. And at first glance, you would never know the struggle she went through just to be a part of this world.
As I wiped my eyes, I looked over at Chris. Big, crocodile tears were streaming down his face as well. I just held onto his arm as we watched Ann Catherine.
Later I asked him what he was thinking of while he was crying. "I was thinking that three years ago I could slide my wedding band up her arm and over her shoulder," he said. Turns out, we were thinking the very same thing.
I don't think Chris and I will ever watch Ann Catherine pass a milestone when he don't flash back to that time in the NICU. During times of joy, we'll also remember that two pound baby fighting to live. And, that's okay. It's a reminder of where we were, and how far we've come. More importantly, how far Ann Catherine has come.