Happy Birthday to Our Five Year Old!

July 9, 2016

What a fifth birthday.  While obviously not ideal, she had a really decent day.  We had some major vomiting issues over the night that we can pretty much chalk up to the anesthesia.  That curtailed this morning and we actually had an above-average-expectation day.  

Elena seemed comfortable and pain-free, except when we had to move her and the four needle sticks that it took this morning to get a blood draw.  Other than that, she napped on and off (as did we).  We read her some books, watched a couple shows and listened to her usual tunes.  Medication has been minimal and she even braved a brief PT session today.  

All of this reminds me of her incredible strength and resiliency.  This girl has endured far more than any five year old should.  She presses on through every challenge with her brave face and even a smile.  My heart aches that we have to put her through this but to see how she gets by is incredibly inspiring.  If only you could see her incision today or hear us describe what the doctor did to her and know that she was giggling today when we would flush the toilet, squeal when I read her Dr. Seuss or smile when Daddy was kissing on her; the trauma her body has taken is no match for her happy spirit.  And today, of all days.  It’s supposed to be a day where you have a Pinterest-worthy party, celebrate with her little girlfriends, eat cake, open presents, blow out candles.  But for me, it’s a bittersweet day, one where I remember how perfectly healthy she was.  Where I dreamt of all that her life would hold, as all new parents do.  It certainly wasn’t this.  Yes, today we always celebrate the blessing that she is in our lives, but I also grieve for what it was supposed to be and for what she has endured the last five years.  And what a reminder as here I sit, in another hospital room, comforting my birthday girl as she winces in pain with every movement.  
But my Elena, my precious five-year-old, Elena.  You my girl, are our light.  And even though we grieve for you, we thank God for the constant blessing that is your every breath.  You are brave, resilient, beautiful and exude joy.  From the moment I laid eyes on you, I was changed for the better.  I love you more than words can say and am so proud of you.  My sweet girl, happy birthday love.

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This is Elena. Our Light. You can see all the goodness and joy that shines from those deep blue eyes. She loves sneezes, yawns, industrial toilet flushes, automatic paper towel dispensers and The Star Spangled Banner. Music is her everything, specifically Moana, Frozen (really all Disney), Queen & Taylor Swift. Nothing makes her squeal quite like swimming, fast boat rides and her two brothers in trouble. In addition to her megawatt smile, Elena reminds us to cherish the smallest of victories, to live in the present, and to daily dwell in a posture of gratitude for every breath and every blessing.  

More About Our Story

I’m Emmalee, an ordinary gal born and raised in the Heartland. Wife to Chad, and Mom to Elena, Calvin & Turner, I spend most my days ridin’ dirty (literally so much trash) in my minivan carting kids to and fro. When I’m not being a Momager, I excel at self-care, cooking gourmet meals my kids won’t eat and deep-diving all the feelings. Most days, my attitude is gratitude, just taking life one step at a time.

Emmalee & Elena

Meet The Gals