I had been working on a blog post for over a month now, spending most of my writing time staring at the screen and crying then deleting anything that I was actually able to type.
I still can't figure out why this birthday is hitting me so hard. It has taken me by surprise.
On Paige's first birthday I was an emotional wreck. I was fine through all of the planning. I was fine that morning while I was setting up the large room we had rented that would be holding the 56 attending guests. I was fine during the time we greeted each and every person who came to celebrate Paige's first year of life. Then, stupidly, I decided to give a speech. (people who know me well can attest to the fact that public speaking is not difficult for me). Even as I write this today, I begin to cry when I think back to that day. I opened my mouth, prepared to thank everyone for their emotional support, when out of my mouth came this squeaky voice. Then the tears started. Really started. It wasn't a pretty cry. It really wasn't a pretty cry. All of the hell we had been through was hitting me. It picked that time to attack me and I couldn't function. I turned to my husband (anyone who knows him very well can attest to the fact that he HATES public speaking) for help. He stared back at me with this look of "what the heck happened to my wife?" and did not say a word. Looking at him made me cry harder. We had been through so much in one year and here we were, still together, holding our beautiful child. I managed to squeak out some lame, very short, speech and then ducked out of the room to cry. It was an ugly cry. Primal tears. Anger. Fear. Joy. It was all there. It was painful. Still is. I had never allowed myself to cry much before that moment. There I was, outside of a room filled with 56 people, in the midst of an ugly cry that I couldn't stop.
Each year Paige's birthdays were emotionally easier for all of us. Each year the NICU experience consumed less of my thoughts on her special day and ended up as only a late night mini conversation with hubby. I am so thankful that the NICU memories can take a backseat now.
Back on that day of her first birthday, I never could have imagined a birthday without the main focus being the pain of the NICU time.
As Paige's birthday approached this year I was taken aback by the flood of emotions. It had been easier each year. Why was I going backwards now? I am still not sure why but it has upset me because I couldn't even get a blog post written. Geesh! I'm never at a loss for words. lol
Then along came an email from Chris. Oh Chris, you have no idea how much your words helped me (thank you! thank you! thank you!). You are right, "we have come a loooooooooong way baby!"
Paige is doing wonderful. Homeschooling was the right choice. She has gained about 6 pounds and looks healthy. Her meds are working and her skin is healing. She is an avid store rock wall climber and would do it every day if she could. She is surrounded by family (who moved here to be near her) who loves her very much. She has a strong spirit-one that drives her to many new areas. She is in tune to her surroundings and the people she encounters. She feels strongly about many issues that, once given the opportunity, will talk your ear off about. She is a beautiful person. We are all so lucky to have her in our life.
Double didgits! 10 years old!! Woo Hoo!!
We decided to take a family birthday vacation to a large indoor waterpark. We all had lots of fun. On her birthday we had a party with her local grandparents. I caught myself staring at her, in awe of her. She really has come a long way. I know the future does not guarantee that her path will always be this good. But, for now, we are enjoying these good days.
My dearest Paige... Happy Birthday!!!
(Correction... Hubby just read my blog post and has a bit of a different memory from Paige's 1st birthday. First he wasn't happy that I said that he hates public speaking. Correction... he only is comfortable speaking in public if he has written the speech ahead of time. 2nd correction... Hubby is sure he did say something when I was at a loss for words. Jokingly he told me that he said something about the blubbering person next to him but all joking aside, he is sure he said something. lol Gotta love hubby's memory!)