My sweet Claire-bug, on July 25th of 2001, you graced the world with your birth, and you changed my life forever. And for that, I THANK YOU. I remember so clearly saying the same words over & over again that day... "Things will NEVER, EVER be the same again..." I remember being haunted by that feeling then. These horrible prognoses were being tossed around, and I think fear was the overriding emotion for all of us. How could we have waited SO long for you and then lose you within the year? Now though, those words remind me of how lucky and blessed I am to be your Mommy, how your very life has changed me, and how I am so glad I am not the same person I was ten years ago.
It's mindblowing how back then every sniffle, seizure, reflux incident scared the shit out of me. Was this the "beginning of the end?" I so desperately wanted to find that one thing which would save you and give me MORE TIME with you. I wish I knew then what I know now (thanks to you & your sister). And that is, NONE OF US are promised tomorrow... we just are under a false assumption that we are stronger or less likely to die. Life is fragile for ALL of us. The amount of time I get with you, Buggy, well... it matters HUGELY to me (and I will continue bargaining every single night that I will trade years off my own life if you can just stay here with me for a loooooooong time. I NEED YOU!!!!!). What matters most is that we make the best of the time we do have, no matter how long that might be.
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." ~Abraham Lincoln
You are my heart, Claire. My sweet Mini-me (AKA Mimi!)!!! I have loved watching you grow up, celebrate each new year, and leave your mark on all who have the joy of meeting you. These pictures fill me with many smiles and much emotion... elation, intense love, fear, sadness, determination, bonding, strength, and most of all HOPE and belief in all that you were then and are now. I love you more than you will ever know.
|July 25, 2001 ~ with our beloved Dr. Feuille ~ You were so beautiful and perfect, Claire!|
|In the Special Care Unit with puffy eyes from crying. We held you 'round the clock, Angel. And when we did, your O2 sats went to near 100, and you were HAPPY. And so were we. We are so connected, Buggy. Soul level, baby. xo|
|Cal was SO in love with you... he waited so long for you, too! Even at 2 years, 7 months old, he was so worried about you.|
|Oh, how he loved you!!!!! Your crying made him giggle!|
|7 months old ~ You are our sweet angel!|
|Since I was told you might not live to be 1 year old, I wanted to remember you this way always... so we had these pictures taken. I still love them SO MUCH. Those eyes... they see straight to my soul.|
|We had a Princess party for you! You were so radiant in your tiara... though it barely fit!|
|Our Birthday Princess with Aunt Jill|
Your 2nd birthday...
|We had the most amazing Hawaiian Luau for you, Mimi! I may or may not have gone ape-shit on the decorations... ummmm, yeah, I did.|
Your 3rd birthday...
|A Ladybug party for our Bugga-Boo!|
|You are so beautiful, Claire Elise.|
Your 4th birthday...
|Thumbs tucked into fists = the PERFECT year for you to tell us you are 4!!!!! Apparently you'd rather tell us to SUCK IT! HA!|
|You partied hardy!!!|
Your 6th birthday...
Your 7th birthday...
|Every year, we'd invite a ton of people to your party, rent a huge water slide, and spend all day celebrating YOU. And yes, we always made you go down the slide, and everyone cheered!|
Your 8th birthday...
Last year's 9th birthday... a little quieter, family-only celebration at home!
|Since Daddy's & my birthdays are just days on either side of your birthday, we celebrated all three together. What an honor!|
|July 25, 2011|
"With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson