How is it possible that our sweet Elena Catherine is ONE?!
It literally seems like yesterday we were checking into the hospital so anxious to meet our little one. She entered this world as a surprise (we didn’t find out the sex…and were positive she was a boy!!) and has continued to surprise us with her fight and determination throughout this first year. It has certainly not been the year we were expecting.
A dear friend of mine has a great way with words. I always seem to have these profound, “aha” moments with her. We were talking one day and she said, “Emmalee, you’re grieving the loss of your expectations.” Exactly. I had fully expected this first year of Elena’s life to be full of crawling, first steps, mama and dadas, Cheerios and happiness. And when God had other plans, our world crashed. I have mourned. I do grieve. I long for normalcy. I wish I could be like other first time Moms, taking baby to the zoo, the park, for play dates and more. But all of those are SO much more difficult with a special needs child. Our days are filled with doctor appointments, therapy, stretching, and practice eating. My job (full time therapist, part time Mom) is more demanding than I ever could have imagined. Our goals are different. Our lives are different. My Mom who cared for Elena while we were on vacation, called me crying, apologizing that she had no idea what we went through each day and how overwhelming it can be. It is what it is. It’s not what we expected, but it’s our normal.
While I do have days where we grieve missing out on the “normalcy”, most days are filled with toothless smiles, kisses, raspberries on tummies and endless joy. I know you hear parents say it all the time, but you never really know love until you have a child. Even more so, you never REALLY know love, until you’ve almost lost it. God has used this last year to teach me that nothing is certain. Our expectations, are just that…ours. Nothing in life is guaranteed. Patience really IS a virtue. It’s not our timing, it’s His. And there is no hope without Him. Elena brings Chad and I joy that we never knew. Knowing how close we were to losing her precious life, serves as a reminder to us every. single. day. that each moment counts and we are never to take them for granted.
One thing I’m certain, we have no idea what this next year of life will hold for our little family. But I do know that we will continue to take each day at a time, celebrate each inch of progress and cherish every smile. Our Elena has set forth on a path that, though it was most definitely unexpected, we know will be a blessed one, shining a light for all.
Happy Birthday our sweet darling. We love you more than words can say.