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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Three Years Ago Today....

...Richard and I were watching the start of March Madness, from a third floor hospital room, on a rainy DFW day. I was happily drugged, oblivious to the intensifying contractions, awaiting the early arrival of our little girl. (Am I the only one whose mom started every birthday off with, "xx years ago today...." ? Good Lord, I AM MY MOM!!)

My sweet girl turns THREE today!

As I was lying in bed this morning, waiting for Ellie to wake up so that I could burst into her room, singing the Birthday Song, I realized that I *still* approach her birthday with a tinge of sadness. Her first birthday was obviously stained with grief, as we had only two days earlier received her cerebral palsy diagnosis. Last year's birthday was a reflection of how difficult those first twelve months post-diagnosis were.

This year, on Ellie's third birthday, I can truly rejoice and celebrate with my daughter, but there still remains an underlying sadness. And I wonder if every birthday will be like this. Because birthdays often bring me back to the original dream. Lying in that hospital bed three years ago, I had an image of what Ellie would be like in 2008. I imagined her running out of her room on her birthday morning, jumping into our bed, and screaming, "Mommy, it's my birfday!"

Of course, this morning didn't quite happen that way.

My heart gets teary when I think of the dreams that I've had to revise. It cries selfishly for me, but mostly for Ellie. Because I know she would LOVE to leap onto the bed. And she'd LOVE to be able to better verbally communicate with us.

BUT, this year's slight sadness is just that: slight. I know I have only two previous birthdays to compare, but it seems like every year gets easier and funner. Each year, I find myself more able to suppress the sadness and cover it with joy and celebration. I can only hope this is a growing trend.

Because today, I want to rejoice in the revised dreams. They are GOOD, GOOD dreams. They are BIG dreams. They are GRAND dreams that, without a doubt, Ellie can fulfill. Instead of grieving Ellie's inability to jump on our bed, I am going to rejoice in the fact that my girl will be opening her birthday presents while she sits independently on the floor. She will be able to point with one finger at the package she wants to open next, and she will be able to say Thank You. She is a living and breathing miracle.

Happy Birthday, Ellie Mae!


Peitricia Mae said...

Oh, happy birthday, sweet sweet Ellie!

I hope you all have a fabulous day enjoying her sunny smiles and giggles!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Ellie!! And Chrystie, you are definitely not the only mom who utters that sentence come birthday time. I give you my mother in law as a case in point.

Sunny said...

Give little Miss E a BIG hug from me! I am so blessed to have spent some time with her. She is beyond priceless. This post makes me smile!

Tish said...

Happy Birthday to our little sweetheart! Can't wait to see you all in a few weeks!!!!! Love ya bunchs!

Patyrish said...

I feel EVERY WORD. Birthdays are TOUGH for me and like you, it gets just a little easier each year. Makily's is April 1 and so I have felt that anxiety creeping up for the last couple of weeks.

Ellie is a living breathing miracle, I know you are so proud of all she has accomplished.

There is still that tiny piece of your heart though that will always mourn and wonder.....I know because I have that same piece of my heart.

God Bless and Happy Birthday Sweet Ellie.