it was a really long month. april is usually one of my favorite months. it is autism awareness month, national child abuse prevention month, and sexual assault awareness month. it is my littlest loves birthday month. it was easter this year. i had so many things planned, so many reasons to celebrate, and then life showed up and reminded me that I am not in charge of the plan, that sometimes the plans don't make any sense and the plans are hard and sad and not fair. and that's how april was for me.
april was a month to celebrate both life and mourn loss, to navigate through the messy and hard and unimaginable at the same time i was celebrating life and love and miracles. april, you were a long month. a tricky month. a month that was so hard and so good and so sad and so happy all at once.
april is always one of my favorite months because of its awareness days. it's an honor to stand up and celebrate the kids i work with who have autism. it's an honor to walk alongside their families as they navigate through what the diagnosis means and how it changes the path they are going to walk. it's messy and hard and can be heartbreaking, but at the same time, it's exciting and beautiful and so much fun. autism doesn't define a person. autism doesn't make you less of a person. different is beautiful. and autism should be celebrated, not mourned. it will be messy and challenging and mean things may be different than you dreamed about, but it doesn't mean it is the end. celebrate your child being different, celebrate their milestones, the successes no matter how big or small, celebrate their LIFE. because it means something. it is worth something. and it matters.
child abuse prevention awareness is also something near and dear to my heart; partly because of the line of work I'm in, and partly because I have so many littles in my personal life. nothing wrecks me to my core like having to make a child abuse hotline call. nothing makes my heart ache and my stomach turn like calling child protective services after a child tells me what is going on at home. i will never understand this side of heaven why children are abused, and that is something that I just have to come to terms with. but you know what God is showing me through these circumstances? he is showing me that I can be a constant, stable, loving person for that child. he is teaching me to be a strong positive adult in their lives. he is teaching me to turn to him when my heart is broken because of yet another case. he reminds me that he is holding that child in his hands and that he will use this part of the story for his glory. and that is beautiful and sacred and it is so incredibly hard to trust in. but no matter how sad the story, how horrible the abuse, how broken the home... god is still good. and i have to tell myself that over and over and over some days, and that's okay.
sexual assault awareness month hits me straight in the heart. the statistics of sexual assault are staggering, heartbreaking, unbelievable. as a victim/survivor myself, i know first hand how heartbreaking and unbelievable sexual assault is. its been almost 12 years, and sometimes it feels like it was that long ago, and some days it feels like it was yesterday. sometimes i wake up and can't breathe because i had a nightmare, and sometimes weeks go by without me thinking about it. living with a trauma is such a strange phenomenon. on one hand the guilt and shame, the negative self talk, the denial, those things are unbearable. but on the other hand, the pride of surviving, the strength to face another day, the courage to talk about it and not bury it anymore, thats the good stuff. that's what it's all about. also- can we talk about rape culture for a second? because this shit sucks. the fact that i sometimes still have the thought "maybe i did deserve it, i was really drunk, i had a not so classy outfit on, i kissed him earlier in the night" is flat out bullshit. all of those things don't matter, because at the end of all that, at the end of the night, i did not ask for what happened. so f rape culture and rape shaming people, making us feel like it is our fault or maybe we deserved it, f that. that needs to stop. no one asks to be assaulted.
so, besides awareness month- april is one of my favorite months because it's Finn's birthday. and ya'll, that is a freaking miracle to be able to celebrate his birthday. when he was born at 27 weeks, i was fairly sure that we wouldn't celebrate his first birthday. i will praise god forever for what he did with Finn in the NICU because it is really nothing short of a miracle. but you know what? celebrating his birthday was hard. because at the same time I was getting amped up to go visit for a long weekend, i was grieving the loss of a dear friends perfectly healthy baby. how do you celebrate the life of a baby who shouldn't be alive at the same time you mourn the loss of a perfectly healthy baby who should be? that beauty from ashes, broken and beautiful stuff is so hard. it caused my heart so much turmoil that i didn't really even know what to do. i couldn't process either one because they were both so unreal. this is one of those things i will never understand this side of heaven, just have to trust that god knows what he is doing. grieving and celebrating at the same time is something my heart can't process, and that's okay. i still praise god for Finn's life, and yell at him for taking Ezra. i praise him for the miracle of Finn's life and curse him for the loss of Ezra's. and i'm learning that both are okay.
also, i ran my first 5k. and i didn't die. and i did it in less than an hour. which i know is ridiculously slow, but whatever. i'm ridiculously overweight and can't breath so i'm proud of myself.
april, you were crazy. crazy beautiful, crazy hard, crazy tragic, and crazy magical. crazy, april.