Since our first moment meeting Stephanie of the NieNie Dialogues, we knew she was a treasure to behold. Her story of survival along with her capacity for love and dedication to her family make her a true inspiration to us. Stephanie's motivation and desire to share her story via talks, conferences, and her book make her an unstoppable force of positivity and grace. Continue below to read her incredible story of strength and determination.
One of my greatest fears as I laid in the hospital for all those months, and even after I came home, was what affect this all would have on my beautiful children. I marvel at how resilient they have been, considering the upheaval of their little lives. I was especially worried about Nicholas's adjustment and, of course, concerned and heartbroken when Jane had such a struggle looking at me. Time, and lots of prayer, healed those wounds. My children now see me as their mother. Though much has changed, much is the same in our lives. It's amazing what a pair of jeans and earrings can do - sometimes that's all it takes to make them feel like I'm the same mom I've always been. I am so grateful they can see me through my scars, and love me even though I'm not as strong as I used to be.
Just a year after the accident, Claire, my oldest, brought me an ornate silver hair clip with little red jewels. "I took this from our house when everyone was packing up to move us to Utah," she told me. "Everyone was so busy, and I ran into your bathroom and grabbed this. I wanted something to remind me of you." I imagined her little legs standing on tip toe as she eyed my jewelry box. I imagined me laying in a coma at a burn center just miles away.
Hearing this broke my heart all over again for my strong little six-year-old who'd had to grow up very quickly. And it makes me feel even more grateful that I could hold her in my arms now. I told her that I thought the clip should belong to her now, as a reminder of how far we'd come. I was thankful for Claire's wisdom and maturity as she approached our new life, but my heart understands Jane's, too, and I am thankful for her bravery. Oliver and Nicholas continue to be bright and vibrant boys, and I am a lucky mother, that I will get to watch them grow up and become men.
I will never know all that my children went through or all the ways they have changed, but what I do know is, today, their future is just as bright as it was before the accident.
My story has another happy twist; in April 2012 I delivered a healthy baby girl. I could hardly believe my eyes when I looked at the pregnancy test, but after I took four more, I believed it - my dream of having another baby - more children - came true.
The accident took so much, in just an instant, but over these last few years I feel like I have, slowly but surely, reclaimed everything that truly matters from the wreckage. Being a mother is at the top of my list.
Happy Mother’s Day to the mothers of the world.
-- Stephanie Nielson, NieNie Dialogues
Through both her uniquely feminine style and gracious nature, Stephanie exemplifies what it means to live beautifully. We are continuously inspired by her integrity as both a mother and a wife! Visit us again tomorrow for more maternal wisdom in celebration of Mother's Day! And a big thank you to Justin Hackworth for all the beautiful photos!
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