For a girl who’s life is spent using her words, I’m left unable to find any that could truly describe the emotions I feel about your first birthday. Remembering this day one year ago I am overcome, so overwhelmed am I with gratitude at the difference between then and now.
When I came to after surgery, tears escaped my eyes and the first words that left my lips were “Is my baby still alive?”
I would ask it again as I called the NICU at 2am and 4 am and 6am and anytime we had to be parted in those early weeks.
I would scream it as I stood at the glass doors with strangers holding me back, watching them frantically work on you after you coded. You were nearly three months old and we thought the danger of losing you had passed until you suddenly missed one heart beat and then the next.
Look at you now. Look at you, so full of life.
As I peek in on your sleeping form for reassurance it does not escape me that the question lingering in the corners of my mind is borne out of those memories. And as I watch your chest rise and fall, my hands tremble at the miracle of life I am witness to every single day.
I have both raged at God and fallen before Him in thanksgiving in the midst of this journey and my love for you has taught me that faith is undefinable, that love is the cornerstone in all the great mysteries of this life. I do not have any more answers than when we began, I do not know why other parents must walk in the sorrow that we escaped but I am humbled and grateful that I get to continue being your mother here on this earth. That today I am handing you a balloon in celebration rather than releasing one in remembrance. I am ever changed by this, by you.
You, my Scarlette, have made me pause, have made countless people pause, and whisper words of hope that strung together created a banner of believing that today is raised high in joyous celebration.
Memories of fear and the depth of my desperation tint the recollection of your birth but my introduction to you remains the most vibrant portrait of that day, vivid against the bleak odds we were facing. Your fingers met mine and you fulfilled my hearts desire to be your mother. It is that which will be with me always, the memory of looking at you and finding no words but oh my love.
Today is the most beautiful day. This has been the most beautiful year. You are the most beautiful part of my story.
Above all else, Scarlette, know that I love you unending,
To our family and friends, those of you who read these words that I write and have held my daughter in your hearts and prayers: thank you. If ever I have known the love of my fellow man, it has been through this past year. My greatest hope is that in our lifetime we are able to bless others the way you have blessed us. Truly “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you” – Philippians 1:3