There’s a quote I am reminded of whenever I think of my daughter, Sammi. I can’t remember where I heard it but it goes like this, “God doesn’t make mistakes”. For sure he made no mistake in honoring me with only one daughter – no way could I have handled more than one of her! Girls in general are way too much work if you ask me and yet, after all these years I know I simply got the best of the best.
This daughter of mine turns 30 today. In honor of such an auspicious occasion, I want to tell you a little about her. As I wrote in my post, A House Becomes A Home When…, Sammi began a life-long love for the movie, The Wizard of Oz at the wee age of two. Every single morning the first thing she would ask to do was to go to the basement and watch “Ya Ha Ha” as that’s what she called the movie. Thumb in her mouth and snuggled with her silk night-night blanket around her that my mother made her; she would sit mesmerized through the entire movie. Honestly, I felt guilty allowing her to watch this every single morning sure it was a sign of being a bad mother or something, but it was as much a part of her as anything I’ve ever seen in someone. Looking back on those precious times I marvel at the synchronicity of this movie coming into her life at such a young age. It’s as if Sammi intuitively knew as a wee little one that there were life lessons to learn from this movie that would carry her along her own yellow brick road. And, indeed it’s true.
I won’t bore you with too many details, but suffice it to say that Sammi has faced many challenges in her thirty years. From an early age she had health issues. I should’ve know from the start she would be this way- right after arriving into the world she stubbornly refused to breathe on her own and so she was swept away to an incubator that did the work for her even before I could hold her. Each time the nurses would try to take her out of the incubator she would make it clear she just flat wasn’t ready! Her growing up years were full of constant trips to doctors with unexplained aches and pains, fevers and other symptoms that quite frankly worried me that the doctors saw signs of Munchausen by Proxy. Yearly visits to specialists at Chapel Hill in NC put her through painful testing and as she got older much of it was truly embarrassing for a young girl. I cannot emphasize enough the heartache I felt for my daughter to endure this endless testing, poking and prodding year after year only to be followed with other issues that further complicated her life. Then, on top of it all Sammi was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at the ripe old age of nineteen. Though a blessing to finally connect the dots of some of her ailments she had experienced through the years, the diagnosis brought with it tremendous life changes for her.
Dorothy, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man and The Cowardly Lion
Part of Sammi’s diagnosis with Fibromyalgia included an eight-week hospital program for learning to live with chronic pain. And part of that program included counseling for the families to learn more about this condition I could hardly pronounce. I’m so glad I attended these sessions as I learned firsthand from the experts all about the complexities a condition like this presents for not just the patient but for the family as well. For example, I learned that because Fibromyalgia involves tremendous pain on a daily basis, depression is a real problem. Knowing there is no cure for it or why it occurs adds to the depressiveness of it all, too. Even worse, there are no visible signs of the condition so people tend to discount it unfairly. Her team of doctors told me that Sammi was by far the worst case they had ever had in the program. Wonder of wonders, at the end of the eight-week program, she was rated the highest in improvement. Absolutely, positively I know why she did so well – The Wizard of Oz. Faced with all these medical challenges, Sammi brought forth from her stored long-term memory the lessons she learned from Dorothy, The Scarecrow, The Lion and The Tin Man. Like Dorothy, Sammi traveled The Yellow Brick Road to find her way home. Like The Scarecrow, Sammi realized she had the ability to use her brain to think through and make personal choices of what she would do with the rest of her life in spite of her medical issues. Like The Tin Man, she realized she had a beautiful heart to love herself enough to handle not just these medical issues, but also the other challenges of life that would come further down the road. And finally, like The Cowardly Lion, Sammi realized that she had the courage and unwavering faith in herself to persevere through it all.
There’s no place like HOME
The Wizard of Oz is a story of finding home and is a story we can all learn from. I am deeply grateful that my darling daughter was enamored with this movie as a child to the extent that she was able to pull from it all that she needed when she took her own walk down The Yellow Brick Road during her troubling time. Through the movie’s life lessons so well portrayed by the characters, she learned a valuable truth – HOME is within us so we need not look any further. All we have to do is realize it and open our hearts, minds and souls to the wonder.
Sammi, like all of us continues to have challenges. She has had numerous surgeries and twice has been in life-threatening health situations. Even when giving birth to “God’s Littlest Angel” she became gravely ill. Months later Sammi told me that through that first night she consciously willed herself to stay alive for her precious baby. I have no doubt that the lessons she learned from The Wizard of Oz echoed through her sub-conscious that night and gave her the skills she needed to make it. Yep, with each new challenge she pulls from within and in doing so she broadcasts to the world that there’s no place like HOME. Happy birthday dear daughter and please know, God sure was right to send you to me. I marvel at your wisdom, your heart and your courage.
To knowing all roads lead HOME…