Monday, December 26, 2011

What Aubrie's Angels has given me

So, in my blogging hiatus we have completed another successful year of our Aubrie’s Angels toy drive. What a blast! Our church picked up the cause locally this year, as did the church I grew up with in Mississippi. Before Christmas, 23 total families were chosen as recipients this year, as well as three separate classrooms. Then after Christmas the blessings just kept rolling in, and we’ve had even more toys purchased and more donations made to give to special needs families who need a little help this year… A donation was even made to an early intervention preschool in North Pole, Alaska, which is so fun and exciting to me!

I get a lot of back-pats and kudos for what we’ve started, and there’s something I want to say. I am ridiculously proud of what we’re doing. Ridiculously. Wow, we’ve been more successful in what we’re doing than I even expected. I always knew this project would mean a lot to me, but I never expected it to mean so much to everyone else. When we came up with the idea behind Aubrie’s Angels, it was simply meant to give back in a way that would make me feel that Aubrie mattered in the world, that her life had significance to someone other than us. It was actually a selfish motive, I suppose, but that was my intent. I am grateful for helping others, but the greatest source of my joy comes from knowing that my daughter’s life will make the world a better place, hopefully for many, many years to come.

As a special needs parent myself, I understand how bogged down one can get. I understand not being able to afford every little thing that might help. I understand the unbridled happiness a parent experiences when a child who has difficulty interacting with his environment is given a toy that changes his life. I understand the hope, and I understand the sadness. I am so incredibly thankful that we have been able to support families that walk in these same worn-out shoes. It’s been such a blessing for me to be able to help, and helping these families have joy each December has become what Christmas is about for me.

But here’s what you don’t know. Here’s what Aubrie’s Angels has given me…

I’m not sad anymore.

I’ve often looked back with regret at our pregnancy four years ago… Should I have pushed harder for the doctor to pay attention? Was there something I should have seen or noticed? Would I have been able to change the future if I had just spoken up a little louder, or pushed for one more extra doctor’s visit?

It hit me when Tyler was about eight months old when we were grieving what would have been Aubrie’s second birthday, that, had she lived, there would be no Tyler. We wanted two children, not three, and we had planned to be done after the twins were born. Following that line of thought, to wish Aubrie alive would be to wish Tyler away, and I just couldn’t wish that my baby had never existed. On that day I accepted the past.

But still I felt sadness. My poor baby girl… and all that she could have been…

But now, I am not sad anymore.

Aubrie has become a household name locally. She is no longer a forgotten child that no one thinks about, or even knows about. She is a person who existed, and she is making a difference in the world. Just recently a stranger approached me and said, “Oh, are you Aubrie’s mom?” Why, yes. Yes I am. And I am very proud of what she’s set into motion.

Because, you know what? If she’d never existed, there would be no Aubrie’s Angels. I would be perfectly content each Christmas and I would not know that life could be any sweeter. Thank God for her and her perfect little life and for the beautiful changes brought about by the flutter of her butterfly wings…

Because of her I feel no sadness, only joy.

I am not sad anymore.

And that, my friends, is what Aubrie’s Angels has given me, and that is the greatest gift of all.


Jane said...

Beautifully said! I'm glad I got to participate in Aubrie's Angels this year and plan to continue in the years to come.

Karla Bull said...

I am blessed to know you, your boys, AND your little angel with wings, Aubrie. How sweet and touching your message was....

Only the Sheppards said...

Y'all are too kind. I think you're both amazing! Thanks so much for all your help this year!

Anonymous said...

Mollie, You have me boohooing! You are such an amazing person and Mother! I love you dearly, and couldnt imagine life without you!