Today was Abby's first day of Pre-K at our local elementary school! She did great! We walked to the door just as the bus was letting off. Abby said goodbye, joined the line, and walked right in!
A lot of people asked me if I cried. Yes, I did. But they were not tears of sadness that she is growing up. They were tears of pure joy and thankfulness that we have made it to this point.
When you cried because you couldn't get your colicky baby to stop crying, I was crying watching my infant daughter struggle just to breathe.
When you were frustrated trying to set up a pack-and-play, I was frustrated trying to complete a competency exam on home ventilator care.
When you cheered as you watched your baby take her first steps, I cried in disbelief because she was never supposed to walk.
When you fussed at your child for talking too much, I spent hours learning sign language, programming communication apps on the iPad, and repeating words over and over again in an attempt to get her to communicate in any way.
When you signed your kids up for day camps and summer activities, I cuddled next to my daughter and stroked her hair as she writhed in pain from yet another surgery.
So, when you cried over how quickly time flew as your child went to school for the first time, I cried happy, thankful tears in the hallway with a dear friend and coworker as we marveled at the miracles God has done in Abby's life.
I know full-well about the time we have had. It has been filled with tears, love, hope, and a whole lot of prayers. We have spent over 150 nights together in the hospital. She has had over 50 prescriptions for pain, breathing, and eating. She has had over 100 feeding therapy appointments, over 200 speech therapy sessions, close to 150 physical therapy sessions, and an average of one medical appointment a week since she was born. That is roughly 342 appointments in 4.5 years...and that is conservative.
Yes, I know how we have spent our time getting to this point.
Would I do it all again?
In a heartbeat.
Because though her young life has been spent enduring so much more than anyone should ever have to in a lifetime, much less just 4.5 years, it has also been filled with love.
So. Much. Love.
I am proud to call Abby my daughter, and I am SO very thankful to everyone who has gotten us to this point.
To my family, who has stood by us, cried with us, prayed for us, and cheered Abby on from the beginning
To our sweet NICU nurses and the many surgical nurses we have met who have cared so lovingly for my girl in her need
To our wonderful "A Team," Tracey and Carrie, who taught us SO much and gave us so many tools to help Abby develop
To Abby's first preschool/MMO teachers, who gave her a chance when we weren't sure how it would go...and helped her to flourish!!
To Abby's feeding team, who pushed her (and us!) to get her to where she is with her nutrition
To our amazing pediatrician, who has done SO much for our family and who has really watched out for Abby
To all of our awesome surgeons and specialists who have taken good care of my girl on the operating table and in the exam room
To Dr. C., who has given us a reason to have a hope for the future
To every other therapist and medical person we have encountered in this journey
To our RMH family, who has shown us so much love and support and who has given us our Baltimore home
To all of the friends who have supported and loved us along the way
Most importantly, to my God, who has created Abby for a purpose. We know she is fearfully and wonderfully made in Your image and are loving watching her story unfold in front of us.
To all of you...thank you for helping us get this far.
Today was a beautiful day. :)