There is something about living your life every single day with the question of 'what if' in the back of your mind, or the not so back of your mind depending on the circumstance, that changes you.
There's something about quieting the fears, over and over again, every single day, that makes you look at life differently.
And there's something about the heaviness of an unknown future, more unknown than just the unknown that is part of existence, that makes you weary.
There are a lot of tears, there is a lot of grief that hits you when you least expect it, there is a lot of telling yourself over and over again that it's okay to let go of what society tells you is the norm, there are quiet moments when you wonder if you are always, for the rest of this life, going to feel the heartbreak that came the day you were told there is something wrong with your baby.
But here's the other thing.
There are moments of clarity, glimpses of the bigger picture, of the eternal picture, that can only be defined as divine ... and in those moments of clarity you know that all of it - the good and the bad, the bitter and sweet - it's a gift.
It's a gift bigger than you can comprehend, and because you know it's a gift ... because you know she's a gift, you live your life differently than you might have otherwise.
You play in the water more, even if it means changing her clothes three times a day.
You laugh at the puzzle pieces that are thrown across the room, because you know she does it to hear the sound once they land.
You sing the alphabet song 27 times a day.
You let her sit on your lap while you're working, and patiently delete what she manages to type.
You stop at every single little thing that has a number and you wait while she points to each one.
You snuggle her to sleep every single night because it's what she needs.
You willingly share your space in the bed when she wakes up and comes into your room every morning between 2:00 and 3:00 because it's also what she needs.
And in those moments when your patience is stretched as thin as you think it can be stretched - you find a little bit more, and you remind yourself that she didn't ask for any of the hard parts of her life.
And when you finally drift off to sleep at the end of each day you hope to one day have even a portion of the courage and strength that this little girl has - and you thank God that you have the blessing of being her mommy.