Marjorie Mims Dempsey took the world and our hearts by storm two weeks ago. In just fourteen days she has taught me countless life lessons. She has inspired so many of us with her feisty spirit and small but mighty attitude. So on her fourteenth day of life, I think it is fitting to jot down fourteen of my favorite lessons from Miraculous Marjorie:
- Your Weight Does Not Define You. Obviously, this is a motto I’m very familiar and fond of as the chief smasher of Southern Smash. But Marjorie has taken this to a whole new level. We celebrate every gram she gains as she continually proves to all of us that she is capable of so much more than we could ever imagine.
- Make Every Day Count. While on bed rest and in the NICU, every day is HUGE. Every day is one day stronger and one day healthier. Why don’t more of us live like this? I know I am certainly guilty of going through the motions of life: carpool, texting, grocery store, work, dinner…lather, rinse, repeat. We need to stop and rejoice simply because it is Tuesday and you made Tuesday amazing, the best Tuesday ever.
- Live in the NOW. In the world of preemies, the present is all you have. The possibilities of complications are endless and if you get too far ahead of yourself you can drive yourself mad (trust me, I’ve done it). The past is the past. It has happened, she is here and all we can do is be in the moment and be grateful for it. I am writing this out as a reminder to myself because it is something I am struggling with. The momma in me wants to know ‘why,’ but there is no why and there never will be. Baby girl and God had a different plan. Living in the moment and practicing mindfulness is difficult, but so worth it. It brings such a sense of peace and calmness to our hectic lives.
- Just Breathe. We all have one simple job that starts when we are born: breathing. In and out. Inhale. Exhale. Breathing is the root of our spirit and can ground us in the most troubling of places. When the doctor confirmed that I ruptured and that would be transported, I was hysterical. When the doctor said Marjorie had to come out ASAP, I was hysterical. When I laid on the operating table getting my epidural holding Dr. Glas’ hand, I was hysterical. Every time I did the only thing I knew that would calm me: I breathed. I went back to Recovery 101 and grounded myself with my breath. Now I sit here watching my beautiful baby girl grow and become stronger breath by breath. Yes, inhale…exhale. When you’re in that tough spot, go back to the basics and just breathe.
- Smile So Big Your Eyes Close. Okay so this lesson comes from my other miracle, my Manning. He has been a constant source of joy and love during this difficult time. His light hearted spirit and carefree attitude brighten even the darkest days. Manning grins with his whole heart and he smiles so big that his eyes squint up to nothing. When is the last time you smiled THAT big?
- Love is Infinite. I am so amazed at how much love my heart can hold. My heart expanded ten fold when I first laid eyes on my precious baby girl. Just when you think you can’t love something anymore, your heart opens up and lets love in. It is an indescribable feeling that I know every parent out there can understand.
- Nurses are Angels from Above. This is a lesson Marjorie and I have learned together. Every nurse that has entered our door has also entered our hearts. From the antepartum floor to labor and delivery to the NICU, we have been abundantly blessed with extraordinary nurses. They have cried with us, made us laugh and taken away our worry. We thank God every day for sending them down to us.
- Crying is good for the lungs and for the soul. Marjorie was nearly a week old before I heard her cry and it was like music to my ears. Crying is a sign of good lungs. Her tiny, but fierce cry proves she is strong and resilient. Newborn exhaustion makes most new parents cringe at the sound of crying, but for me I love every squirrel size squeal that Marjorie lets out. Crying, for me, (as I learned through the gifts of my recovery) is one of the greatest coping skills. Holding it in and putting on a brave face does not serve me nor my situation well. I cry every day. I cry for my baby girl. I cry for the time we lost to the rupture. I cry for my son that his momma can’t be there as much. I cry for my husband and family for all they have done the last few weeks. I cry because I miss my family. I cry for me. I cry tears of gratitude for every minute and milestone Marjorie makes. Yes, big girls DO cry and damn it feels good.
- There’s no such thing as strangers, just friends we haven’t met. Amen. I have never experienced such an outpouring love, support and prayers than I have in the last three weeks. It is simply overwhelming. I can’t count how many messages I have received that start with, “You don’t know me, but…” Yes, I do know you. We are all connecting in this beautiful thing we call life.
- You’ve got to have FAITH. I typically keep my faith to myself especially when sharing my story of eating disorder recovery. Faith is a personal journey and we all have to find our own footing on our unique path. I never judge when a someone tells me they don’t believe in God. I’ve certainly been there and can understand where they are coming from. Whether we believe in God or just a greater power, we have to have faith. Faith in God, faith in ourselves. Faith that something greater is with us and will guide us through the rough times in our life. And most of all, faith that we can make it through whatever God (or the universe) has in store for us.
- You can’t do it all. I am so guilty of trying to do it all. I think most women can relate to this notion and own the “I try to do it all” shirt. We exhaust ourselves taking care of everyone and everything around us. From children to careers to the cats and dogs, it is all a bit much. Well leave it to my precious baby girl to knock me on to bed rest to remind me that it is okay to ask for help – and that people genuinely want to help. From accepting meals to carpool pick ups, I have had no choice but to accept help in every form. I must admit, it is a wonderful feeling to know just how many people love and care for you and that they will be there when you need them most.
- Prayers work. Can I get an Amen? Never before have I had so many people pray for me and never before have I seen God’s healing hands at work. It is evident as I watch Marjorie grow before my eyes and as I watch her nurses lovingly care for her. It is truly miraculous. The feeling is simply too overwhelming to describe.
- Celebrate EVERY Milestone. This is one I often talk about when sharing my recovery journey and Marjorie reminded me of just how important it is to stop and CELEBRATE. Rejoice in every gram and in every sunrise. There is so much to celebrate, we just have to stop and soak it in.
- Family matters. At the end of the day, family is all we have. Whether it is family by blood or family by choice, it is the people we surround ourselves with that really count in our lives. People tell me I’m amazing for doing what I’m doing. I am doing the exact same thing any other mother would do. Loving her children with all her might and leaning on her family to support her during this time.I am blessed to say that my family tree is very large and that it includes every one of Marjorie’s prayer warriors.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the love, prayers, texts, meals, calls and so much more. I hope our Marjorie has inspired you all as much as she has inspired me.
Cheers to fourteen amazing days baby girl and here is to a million more!
Mary McCarthyOctober 22, 2014 at 7:56 pm
You and your family are in my prayers every day. Here’s to more breathing, healing and growing.
Eddie ColeOctober 22, 2014 at 8:17 pm
This has been an experience that has tugged at everyone’s heart strings and strengthened all of our faith! We’re still praying!
Day SmithOctober 22, 2014 at 9:36 pm
I am so thrilled that Elizabeth led me to your blog! I had two nephews horn at 28 and 32 weeks and they have grown to be fabulous men. There is so much more known to help preemies. You are such a beautiful writer and I know all will go well. Praying for your sweet family. KKG love to you.
DebbyOctober 23, 2014 at 1:12 am
You are an amazing young woman. Your sweet Marjorie inherits her Mom’s strength and determination. I hope she inherits your gift of writing from her heart.
Jamie EthridgeOctober 23, 2014 at 9:50 am
AMAZING McCall!! What a wonderful spirit and faith you have. God is good all the time!Thank you for making me stop in ththe moment, breathe in and have a good cry. That felt great this morning 🙂 keeping your amazing Miracle and family in our prayers.
Christy WilleyOctober 24, 2014 at 5:53 pm
McCall… you have always been such an inspiration to me… From calling me out during group, to giving me encouraging words… I’m praying for you and your family… I know Marjorie will keep fighting because her Mom is a fighter… and God will carry you and yours through this, as He has carried me through life… I was a preemie… I’m finally in recovery… I’m in remission… and it’s all because of God and fighters like you… helping fighters like me to keep fighting too… just as your daughter will continue to fight, as she can feel you fighting for her as well… <3 🙂
Carrie WillardOctober 24, 2014 at 11:43 pm
You and I are traveling on a parallel path, and I relate to every word 🙂 blessings to you
sarahJuly 14, 2015 at 7:40 pm
i love your blogs i found you through looking through google for some blogs about recovery. im 16 and just two months ago was in the hospital with a feeding tube, extremely malnourished… your blog is so helpful. thank you so much! please keep writing!