One year, one girl.

A MRI, two surgeries, three EEGs, three hospital stays (not including the birth), three procedures requiring anesthesia, a lumbar puncture, eight months of weekly physical therapy, feeding tube, leg braces, six doctors, 28 doctor appointments, one year, one girl. This has been the longest year of our lives and it has only been Cara’s first.

I finally have a few moments to sit and reflect on the past year.   This has been a long year full of every single emotion from joy to heartbreak, relief to fear, determination to defeat. Heaven and hell.  We have felt it all in a matter of months. I have learned more about myself and have grown as a person more in this one year than the previous 30. I have seen how beautiful the human spirit is.  My patience and tolerance has been tested to the breaking point. Most importantly, I have learned that I am with the perfect man in the perfect family.  Good, great, wonderful, exceptional, etc…    don’t even begin to describe the husband and father that Dan is.  The same words don’t do the type of sister Natalie is justice.  They are perfect for me, for Cara and for this family. I am blessed to have Dan, Natalie and Cara.  The world is blessed.

August 25, 2010 at 11:56 PM our lives and the world was graced with an incredible little girl. Cara has made her home in the hearts of many with a simple gaze and smile.  There is something about her face that just draws you in and you fall instantly in love. She will tell you her whole story with her eyes. Her spirit will bring you to your knees. Cara may not ever walk and she wouldn’t need to because she already has an army of people that would carry her to the ends of the earth.

I treasure the memories of the first three months of Cara’s life.  Those three months were only joy and filled with images of a “normal” life with two daughters.  The reason why the memory of those three months are so important to me is probably only understood by a few and it’s hard for me to explain.  At this moment Dan and I feel stuck.  We don’t have a diagnosis yet and acceptance and moving on is on hold until we know.  We are hoping it is a matter of weeks and not months. We have been waiting 6 months and it feels like years.  It’s frustrating but there is nothing we can do.  It is so important the testing is done carefully and correctly.  I suspect some will pass judgment but until you have experienced a year like we just had and understand the love that we have for Cara than that is all it is, a judgment. Dan and I have not developed the calluses we need to completely let the unwelcome judgments, comments, advice and questions be what they are, unimportant, and swallow with a smile.  We have good days where we laugh it off and bad days where we snap back.  We’ll get there.

Cara has made huge steps in her development. She makes sounds, is social, grabs at toys, sucks on her hands, tries to correct herself when she falls over and is getting closer to sitting up with a steady head on her own everyday. We don’t know what Cara will end up being able to do or where life will take her but, even with the bumps, we are enjoying this journey with her.

We had a small celebration of cake and gifts on Cara’s actual birthday.  I couldn’t help but let a few tears fall as we sang happy birthday.  Natalie helped make Cara’s birthday cake, blow out her candles and assisted Cara in digging into a slice of her cake.  She didn’t eat any but she had a good time squishing it. We had the official birthday party two days later on Saturday, Aug 27th, Natalie’s actual birthday.  The weather was perfect and it was a great time with family and friends. It doesn’t get much better than 11 kids armed with water balloons and water guns on a summer day.  Natalie is still talking about it.

My dearest Cara, the first year was hard, painful and sometimes sad but it’s behind us. We’ll take everything we learned and the happy moments with us to the next year. Mommy and daddy will take every step with you, hold your hand through the scary parts, sing and hold you through the pain and cheer you on through the work.  Natalie will show you all that there is to being a kid.  Playing with toys, making friends, coloring and being cute to get what you want.  The only things you have to remember to do is imagine, dream, wish and laugh. We will carry you through the rest.  Thank you for being you.  Thank you for being perfect.  We love you.

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2 thoughts on “One year, one girl.

  1. I think of you often. I pray for you to have all the strength you need to raise those beautiful little girls. I pray you have and take the time you need to take care of yourself. (It is something I need to do more of myself) You describe a beautiful family and you should be so proud. What a special mommy and daddy they are blessed with. You have built a home of love and strength. I admire you so much.

  2. Happy Birthday Cara,

    I want you to know that you are my hero. I will think of the endurance and strength you have shown in your first year of life as an inspiration that what life gives me, I too, can handle. Just reading what mommy says you have been through is so overwhelming but still you amaze us and I was so pleased to see your growth and make you smile. Let’s face it, I cracked you up!

    You are a strong little girl with determination and although it was not the first year for most babies, you made it your own. You are so special and you are such a light and a blessing to Catherine and Dan, to Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Godparents, neighbors… I know you have won so many with that sweet smell, chunky legs, chubby cheeks, and wide-beautiful smile. I am so happy to have seen you celebrate your first year and be a part of your life. Can’t wait to celebrate year 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and on, on, on…

    God Bless you and I Love you lots…G-mom

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