Excerpt from Preemie
“Whenever I questioned my ability to raise Andie, I would repeat back to myself what I’d heard. “You’re so strong.” But, I didn’t really understand what it meant to be strong. Or perhaps, I misunderstood. I thought being strong meant being stoic, standing proud to receive whatever news came my way, with my back straight and my shoulders squared, unwavering in my beliefs, like the great skyscrapers that stand confidently over city skylines.
But I learned that architects intentionally design flexibility into those tall buildings. Without the ability to move with changing wind patterns and volatile ground shifts, the buildings would come crashing down—like me. I had only been able to stand for so long. Without flexibility and an ability to sway, I’d come crumbling down. I was at my weakest, most powerless, and I was pretty sure I couldn’t be rebuilt. And like a fallen building that crowds gather around, I was wreckage for all to see.
Yet it wound up being there, in that heap, that I would discover the true meaning of strength; not in picking myself up, but in staying down and letting go. Surrendering to the fact that I couldn’t go on, I would eventually realize that strength and vulnerability share the same gene. They coil around one another like basic strands of human DNA. To be vulnerable became my biggest strength.”