I think about this post every day. Each time I look at either of my boys and their smiles I’m awwed. Not by what they have overcome, but HOW they have overcome it. I know they aren’t alone. Between Facebook and ANRC connections, I’ve seen so many pictures of preemies. There is something magical about these babies. It’s as if they already know that life is to be cherished and enjoyed no matter how hard it’s been.
For me, the most difficult thing I have been through is watching my children struggle. With Kellen it was waiting … for what felt like an eternity… to hear him cry after he was born. For Owen, it was the entire first year of backward step after backward step – constantly fighting to live. For many readers of ANRC, watching your child struggle with prematurity and/or special needs have also been your biggest challenges. However, even if prematurity hasn’t directly affected you, I’m sure you’ve had your own life struggles; maybe you’ve lost a loved one, had a car accident, filed for bankruptcy, got divorced, were abused, lost a job, fought a life threatening illness or on and on and on. We have ALL struggled in life.
It doesn’t matter what the struggle, we can learn so much from these tiny warriors who were born fighting for their lives. For each, there is a story of hope, perseverance, over coming all odds and unconditional love. And then, there are the smiles. There is no better reminder to smile than to look at the pictures of former preemies growing up and being their amazing selves.
Whatever your struggle is today, here are several reminders that there is hope, so don’t stop smiling.
Special thanks to all the families who shared their child’s picture.