I have been looking forward to this day with a mix of relief and sadness and fear and joy. It is Aerin's first birthday. One year ago, my longest and hardest labor ended as a tiny bundle pushed out into the world. She came out with big, searching eyes. She was so small and still and silent. I loved her with a fierceness from the very beginning. She did not just need love and nurturing, as my other two children needed, she needed protection and fight—for she had none of her own. Nothing about her coming was like anything I had previously known. We were lost together, she and I. She in this world she wasn't made for and me in those big, gray-blue eyes that pierced my heart.
And today, one year later, I know that we are slowly being found again. We are working out this cautious dance of hope and trust and fear and love. The Lord is making something beautiful of the mess and I am thankful to be under His careful hand.
And so yes, I meet today with relief. We made it. We survived her first year. 3 weeks in the NICU, 3 surgeries, countless doctor's appointments and unending therapy. This on top of the grief that rolled in from time to time as we settled into the reality of what life with a child with PWS means.
I meet today with sadness. A whole year of her life has passed by in a mere matter of moments. Her lazy baby days are numbered now and how much time did I lose, running to and from appointments or sitting at that infernal pump? I have learned to count the days precious with her coming and yet they slip through my fingers and fly off into the wind.
Which leads to the fear that comes with each sunrise. I know our days are numbered before the hunger sets in and life takes on a very different tone. Perhaps this is the wrong way to see things, but that is the color of my glasses for now. Each day that passes is one day closer to the day when enough is not enough and never will be again.
And, still, I choose to meet the day joy. Have you seen her sweet face? How dare I not feel joy for each day that I get to be her mother? Each cuddle, each smile and each victory are enough to send me over the moon with joy for this wondrous child that the Lord has entrusted me with. My prayers are those heart-pleas that, in the Lord, I may always revel in the joy of it all.
It is a sweet day, this day of relief, sadness, fear and joy. One with the other, they combine to make a day made for heaven. A day of smiles and sighs, laughter and tears. Happy First Birthday, my dearest Aerin. I love you so very much.