On one of our days off this summer, Kyle and I walked Grace uptown to see the latest Disney movie, "Finding Dory."
I can't say that Grace got a whole lot out of it, but she loves being with us, and we try to do as many regular things with her as we can. Kyle was a little worried we would be lost since neither of us had ever seen "Finding Nemo," but we managed to keep up with the storyline.
Soon after, Grace ended up with a small stuffed Dory, as a reminder of the fun day that we had at the movies. And then, my mom and dad brought her a new book from one of their trips about Dory, called "Three Little Words," written by Amy Novesky.
The cover of the book features a photo of Dory and Nemo, as well as Nemo's dad, Marlin, on their journey to find Dory's parents.
As the story begins, Dory is off on a new adventure, and the author reminds her "Wherever you go, whatever you do, don't forget these three little words . . . "
Just keep swimming.
That's kind of become a motto in our house. No matter what the day brings, good or bad, you have to find a way to keep swimming.
There are days the journey is hard, and I don't want to keep swimming. But instead of giving up, I look to Grace, who is the very picture of the phrase, "just keep swimming." It doesn't seem to matter what life throws at her, she always has a smile for everyone she meets. She never gives up in physical therapy, even when it's hard.
Grace always finds a way to "just keep swimming," and that's become a huge inspiration to me.
Some people may know that Grace is going to be a big sister in the coming year, and that's definitely a roller coaster of a ride for her mom and dad.
After she was diagnosed with INAD, we knew the odds of having another child on our own weren't necessarily in our favor. If I were to get pregnant, there would be a 25 percent chance that child would have INAD just like Grace.
And those aren't odds we were willing to face. Instead, we looked to technology and in vitro fertilization, where we had the chance to have the embryo tested ahead of time.
I'll admit I knew very little about IVF before we started this journey, but it sounded easy enough. Boy, was I wrong. It's by far the hardest thing I have ever done, and at the end of the day, there's still no guarantees that you'll end up pregnant.
But taking a page from Grace's book, we "just kept swimming." When our first try didn't work, we regrouped, and decided to try again.
This time it was successful, although it's been a bumpy journey so far with several months left to go. In the end, though, we know it will all be worth it.
Dory's book talks about remembering to "just keep swimming" when you're alone, when you don't know where you're headed or when you're scared. Because in the end "You'll soon discover . . . that dreams come true."
None of us are promised an easy journey. We all face different struggles, but what makes us strong is remembering to always "just keep swimming."