Jada Renee Bates was born 17 years ago a year after I graduated high school. She showed up 12 weeks early which made her very premature. She weighed only 2 lb 3 1/2 oz at birth and along with the low birth weight she had a wide range of health issues. Those include:grade IV hydrocephalus with a shut, a intercrainal cyst with a shunt, cerebral palsy, cortical blindness, 3 seizure disorders and a lung disease. Sound like a lot? Well it was. She functioned on a a 3 month old level, couldn't hold up her head, talk, walk etc nor could she eat by mouth, everything went in by feeding tube. She had 25 surgeries in 4 1/2 yrs.
All this being said she was the light of my life. She was very happy, very spoiled and I couldn't have asked for more. I look back now and realize that I'm the mom of a 17 year old daughter and I can't help but wonder what might have been. What would it be like now if she hadn't had all those problems and would have been born a healthy child? What would she be like now? I guess I'll never know but that was not the way things were meant to be.
Jada taught me many things during the years she was here. I became a state licensed advocate for people with disabilities and I always told people "Its what she has not who she is." "She has a disability she is not disabled." Way back then I thought that the reason I was put on this earth was to take care of her and when she passed away I felt lost. I didn't know my place anymore.
Now that I have been diagnosed with MS I came to a stark realization. Jada was sent here by God to teach me. She was the teacher and I was the student. Now here I am with the disability and I always used to preach PMA- Positive Mental Attitude when Jada was alive. I always had a way of staying positive because after all those lengthy stays in the hospital I would see someone out there who had it worse off than we did. Jada had a long list of problems and we had more medical equipment at home than most hospitals. We spent more time in hospitals than most people could imagine but I always kept positive because even though we knew her time on earth was limited there was always someone else out there who had it worse off than we did.
So now I realize she was here to teach me so that when I got diagnosed with MS I had to remember that there is always someone out there who has it worse off than I do. She also taught me to keep a positive mental attitude and that its what I have not who I am.
So even though I feel very old today to think my precious baby girl is 17 today I am very happy for those years I got to have her.
Happy Birthday Jada. I love you always!