At first, we were anxious and unaware but in time we began to find the little gifts that you brought with the person you were created to be. We learned to advocate and speak up. We chose to see the goodness in each small step because we had no idea if big leaps would ever be taken again.
In five years, I went from being the mom unsure of how to act around children with disabilities to be the parent first to say "hello" even if it seems to be the awkward thing to do because I know what that "hello" could mean to the child or the family. I have watched as my children embrace differences, challenge others to accept differences and support those who feel different.
In five years, we have seen friends come and go, our lives change significantly and our love truly grow. We have finally found "home" after searching for years and swearing that this place, this home was just a temporary stopping ground and now, because of you, I see family in friends.
Five years ago tonight, I was sitting in a hospital room only to be sent home to labor at home knowing within hours you would join our family. As I laid awake counting kicks and contractions, I wondered who you would be and how you would impact the family. The wonder I felt would never compare to the answer you were to give.
Five years ago, as we drove, in hard labor to the hospital, I begged you to hold on until we arrived safely in a place where you could arrive and instead, five years later, I continue to beg, to allow me to hold on as you teach me that I have to trust, have faith and let go.
Five years ago, I feared losing you and now, I fear losing you more because of who you are what you have become and who you have taught us all to be. I watch as your oldest sister has become more of a second mother, your brother your protector and your middles sisters still relish in childish moments because of you and your loves in life.
Five years ago, I thought you were not the completion to the puzzle, I imagined our family growing, my back aching carrying child after child but you see, child you are the completion to the puzzle. You filled our hearts and completed our love.
Tomorrow my love, I will hold you. I want to wake up and breathe in you. I want to look in your eyes and count your eyelashes. They are perfect. I want to remember. I want to stare at all of your beauty and realize that your outward beauty is nothing in comparison to who you are inside and who you have called those around you to be.
I will hold my breath as you go off to kindergarten tomorrow and hope that you will wear the outfit I picked especially for you and if you don't, for the first time, I will understand. You have a strong mind and will and you are your own person. Sometimes we have to carefully peel the layers of the person you are to see the unique beauty you possess.
Tomorrow, as you go off and I sit with a big cup of coffee, I will think about who I was before you rushed into my arms on that sweltering September night. I will think about the stupid stuff that bugged me...matching bows, even ponytails and a perfect outward appearance and I will realize that all that outward perfection, broken away, chiseled and broken allowed me to begin to grow into a better person because of you.
Child. You were not planned and how your dad struggled with your presence but your presence has brought so much more than anything we could have imagined. You have made me a better person and you do each day. You have touched others who I thought were untouchable and you have changed hearts of those who would never have understood.
In five years, you have brought us to our knees, you have made us stand up. You have held a marriage together because together we have you and you complete our circle.
Tomorrow, we celebrate the little person you are but in that little body, that little soul, there is so much I can never put into words. The days are hard. They are so hard but when I look at where we were and who we were and where we have come I can only be hopeful for where we are going.
Sweet Seraphina, Happiest Birthday to the child God knew we all needed to be better people. I pray tomorrow you feel the love that surrounds you and in the coming year you find happiness, health and of course hope for your future.
Love you to the moon and back, to heaven and beyond.