David turns ten tomorrow. TEN years old. That means he has been in our lives for a decade. Ten is a milestone. Ten means double digits. Ten is a big, big birthday.

When David was a baby I referred to ‘ten’ as somewhere far out in the distant future. I would say things like, “When David is ten, I don’t want to be feeding him with a tube. I want him to eat by mouth.” or “When David is ten he should be able to walk on his own and follow directions.”  Ten was so far away that it seemed it would never come.

And now ten is here. Somehow a decade has passed since we held that teeny tiny baby in our arms for the first time and felt like our lives had just crumbled around us. Ten years have gone by since everything came to a screeching halt and then time started over again. Ten years have passed since we slowly began to look at life through a new lens and find a new kind of beautiful.

There are so many things I would love to tell that new mama ten years ago. Of course, she had to walk through the pain to find hope. She had to live day in and day out to get to where she is today. A lot happens in a decade and a heart can heal and grow and discover many new things in ten years.

Here are ten things I would like to tell that brand new mama with tears running down her face and a broken heart she thought would never heal.

1. You will be happy again. In fact, you’ll be happier than you had imagined you’d be. There is pure joy waiting for you.

2. You are stronger than you know. This seems so hard now, but the pain will fade and you’ll discover a bravery you didn’t know you had.

3. You are not in control, and that’s a good thing. Let go, let it be what it is–even if it’s dark and ugly and lonely. There is comfort in letting go.

4. You are not the only one who has experience life-altering soul-breaking pain. There are people hurting all around you. Now that you know pain, you’ll be able to care for them better, share your heart more honestly and love more deeply.

5. Soon you will see David as David, and not as a kid with special needs. He’ll just be him and he’ll just be awesome.

6. Your family and friends will stand by you. They will love and support you. They will pray for you when you are feeling crushed, bring you dinners when you are overwhelmed and most of all, they will love David just the way he is.

7. If you look in the right places, you will find there is more good in the world than evil. There are more people who are open-minded than those who judge. There is more kindness than self-centeredness.

8. You will have another son who will help to heal your heart. God has another little person that will round out your family and help make your heart whole again.

9. You will learn to see beauty in the little things and find grace in unexpected places. You will celebrate the every day and find that the smallest victories make your heart soar.

10. Ultimately, It’s not about you. It doesn’t matter what you want. It doesn’t matter what people think about you. When all is said and done, it isn’t about you. When you can let go of what you want or what you think you ‘need’ to be happy, you will find peace.

The last ten years have been imperfect but so beautiful, I wonder where the next ten years will take us?