Today you are 10 years old, my darling Lola. I can barely wrap my mind around the fact that you have graced this earth with your sassy presence for a decade now. How can that be? Is it that whole time warp thing I have discussed many times before? Is it true what people say about time passing so slowly when you're young and then as you grow up, it flies by in the blink of an eye? Not even gonna admit that time has flown by because I am old, because I'm still super young and spry, right? (Dadgummit, who uses the word "spry" anymore?! If you answered "the elderly," imma fixin' to tar & feather ya'. Hell's bells!)
Ten fingers and ten toes that I didn't even count the day you were born. Somehow, it seemed so unimportant. All that mattered was that you were here and breathing and alive. I cannot tell you how frightened I was the day my water broke, one month before your due date. All I'd heard your entire pregnancy was that no one knew what the future held. They weren't sure if you'd be similar to Claire or different. They weren't sure if you would survive the birth or have major complications. I was asked to answer questions that I was not ready to have to answer about resuscitating you, intubating you, and saving your life. The answer was always YES, Lola. Please do all you can, just as you would if she were "typical," I told the doctors. I hated that word -- "typical" -- because you and your sister were anything BUT typical, and the opposite felt so negative, harsh and unknown. I prayed every single night for you, sweet girl. I cried and bargained with all Higher Powers to shave years off of my own life if they'd spare yours.
Ten sonograms. Ten chances to see you before your birth. Ten reassurances that you were still alive and stable. Ten opportunities to fall in love with you even more. Ten times I prayed that somehow, miraculously, you'd be healed.
Ten sonograms = The number of sonograms necessary for me to realize that you didn't need healing.
You were already everything I had hoped and prayed for. Your tiny, malformed brain would not define your life or determine your worth. You were here to experience life just as you were. The only person who needed to change was ME.
Ten perfect birthdays that we celebrated on your behalf. Ten special days I wasn't sure I'd get with you just ten years ago. It is mindblowing all we have been through over the course of the last decade. Choosing the pictures below really took me back. It allowed me to remember and sit for awhile with each passing year. Oh, we have come SO FAR, baby girl. You have proven time and again that you want to be here. Thank you so very much for choosing to stay.
|Unicorn crown from Nova Sky's Co.|
A huge thank you to Fatima Lee for sending this beautiful crown to our sweet, magical Unicorn Princess.
(And one to Claire, also!)
A peek back through the past ten years...
|The day of your birth... You were -- and still are -- so perfect, Lola.|
|This picture reduced me to tears immediately upon seeing it. I am 100% convinced that the siblings of individuals with special needs are some of the most incredible, considerate, compassionate, loving people on the planet. Cal has always been everything his little sisters needed. From the day both of them were born, he loved them unconditionally as only their big brother could. His ability to see past differences, accept people for who they are, and love with his whole heart has inspired me more than he could ever know. I could never have survived Lola's diagnosis without his wisdom. I am so honored to be called "Mom" by these three children of mine.|
|Possibly my favorite baby picture of Lola EVER! This is what she thought of therapy toys back in '07!|
|Notice Cal trying to help Lola blow out her candles?|
|All the cousins!|
|Drop that knife, |
|Lola, Kerby, Cal & Claire ~ Prom 2016|