Happy birthday, Colette!

One year old. I can hardly believe those words as I type them. Colette Mara is one today. This sweet, determined, and silly girl has had quite the first year of life. It has been a wild, emotional, and beautiful ride. As I look back on where we were one year ago, I can’t help but think of the trip to the hospital for Colette’s delivery. There were so many unknowns, and I was so scared. I am reminded of the anxiety and fear we felt as we handed Colette over to the team of doctors and nurses who would perform her spinal surgery just a few hours after she was born, and the relief we felt once we were able to see her after the surgery had been completed. I am also reminded of some beautiful moments from that day, too. The instant pride and love that filled Cade and Cambrie’s faces as they saw their new sister for the first time, the beautiful baptism that our priest performed while our family surrounded us in the NICU, the amazing team of nurses who provided the most compassionate and skilled care for Colette and I, and all of the texts, calls, and messages of love, support, and congratulations that we received from our friends and family.

All of the doctor appointments, therapy sessions, and home visits have kept our calendars full this past year. We have learned more about different areas of the medical field than we ever cared to. We have realized that we are not alone in this journey by connecting with other spina bifida families across the country via Facebook parent groups. Most importantly, we have realized we are very blessed. Our parents, siblings, and friends have been in our corner every step of the way. To no surprise there have been some scary moments over the past year, but the sound of our three children laughing and playing together have made it all worth it and have made us appreciate the little things so much more.

This little girl has us all wrapped around her finger. The way she looks up at her big brother with such adoration and love, the belly laughs Cambrie can get out of her, the one-handed waves she always has for Papa, the chubby cheeked smiles she has for anyone who looks her way, her nightly naps curled up and sweetly cradled in Spencer’s arms, and her silly dance moves have all made the last year more special and amazing than I could have ever imagined.

God truly knew what he was doing when he placed Colette in our family. On a daily basis I am humbled, moved to tears, and truly in awe of the lessons Colette teaches me. Her physical therapist has made the comment on several occasions that Colette is motivated. She wants to do things, she pushes her limits, responds when she gets out of her comfort zone, and you can tell she is going to do her best to keep up with her brother and sister. She is only one year old and already has that kind of determination. Colette has never once let the fact that she has spina bifida stop her from doing what she wants to do, and I hope that it never does stop her from dreaming big or from accomplishing anything she sets her mind to. I am so honored to be this baby girl’s mom and am so blessed to have a front row seat to see the amazing things she does over the years. Happy birthday, baby girl. You are oh, so loved!

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