As I've been thinking through all of this, I've realized that this is OUR journey and no one elses. Like snowflakes, each person's journey is unique and beautiful in it's own way. It doesn't have to fit into a mold or follow a specific path to be "good enough" or worthy of being called a blessing. God leads us down a path allowing us to choose whether to take the fork to the left or the fork to the right. We may choose differently from others around us, but that's ok. Differences are part of the beauty in life.
I think of Caysen's journey too and how unique and amazing it has been. He was born 3 MONTHS too early and many expected him to die. Today, he is a happy little boy who charms everyone he meets. He can throw a toddler tantrum with the best of them when he doesn't get his way, sometimes I think he can work my phone better than I can, he loves his dogs "Wee" (Zoey) and "Ka" (Max), he knows that cows say moo and horses say neigh, as far as he's concerned, life wouldn't be complete without his "kee" (blankey), and he makes the cutest scrunchy face on the planet. Some specialists want him to have all of the traits and abilities of a typical 2 1/2 year old (whatever that is), but we love him exactly the way he is right now. When we realized he was meant to be a part of our family, we knew there were many uncertainties about his future. But, we accepted those uncertainties and decided right then and there that we would love him through it all. Maybe he's a little peanut, and maybe he's not walking or doing other "normal" 2-year-old things, but we think he is perfect just the way he is. How could we possibly wish anything away when he brings us so much joy every. single. day.
With all of that being said, I'm thankful for the painful memories just as I am thankful for the happy memories. I am thankful for every piece of the puzzle that has led us to where we are and will lead us where we are going. I am finding peace and gratitude in knowing that our journey may not look like someone else's, but that doesn't make it any less beautiful.