It has taken me two days to write this post, two days to work my way through the complex emotions surrounding everything at the moment, especially the emotions surrounding your birthday, which was two days ago.
Two days ago, you woke up, and I held you in my arms. I snuggled into you, grateful for your warmth, your presence, your comfort... I was even grateful for the way you fought against me holding you so closely... because that fight meant that I still had you, here, in my arms, where you belong.
It is so very very hard to believe that we have now been on this roller coaster for four years. For four long years we have fought long and hard to keep you here with us. Even before your birth... we didn't know there was anything wrong, we didn't know there was anything different, we just knew that you were going to be unique.
When the Obstetrician told us at 34 weeks that you would be induced the next day, I knew we were in for an interesting ride, but I had no idea how interesting it would be.
You have, in your four short years, taught me the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I have seen you through so much... I have sat by your bedside holding your hand, listening to the incessant alarm of the ventilator... I have stared down ICU doctors who told me you wouldn't survive the night, and I knew you would prove them wrong.
I have had faith in you, faith that your strength, your determination, your willpower, and my love could see us through absolutely anything.
Now, in the face of your fourth birthday, I find that strength and determination wavering, and as much as my love is still standing firm, I know that our time is limited... which is why this birthday has been so particularly hard.
There are so many birthdays that you still have to come, so many birthdays that I want to share with you. I want to be there when you reach double figures (10). I want to be there when you become a teenager (13). I want to be holding your hand as you reach sweet sixteen and then pass into adulthood at 18.
Looking back, I can't believe how much you have changed me. You have taught me patience that I would never have known, you taught me tolerance and acceptance. You have taught me to believe in myself and to trust my instincts. You have taught me how to fight, you have taught me unconditional love, a love that surpasses that of a mother for her child and transcends into something that is completely primal.
You are so very, very precious, and there is not a day that passes that I am not incredibly grateful to have been chosen to be your mother, to have been part of your life, to have been blessed with the specialness that is you... but mostly just to have been on this journey.
This is a journey that has made me cry, brought me so much pain and given me so much hurt... yet looking back, I would not change a single thing.
I am grateful every moment for the perfect blessing that you are.
So, my sweet, perfect Princess...
Now, in celebration of your fourth birthday, I want to tell you this.
I love you. You are my heart, my soul and my light. You bring me joy, you bring me happiness, and you bring me tears. You have changed my life so spectacularly, yet I am continually blessed by you.
I will cherish every moment we have left together. I will love you all the more fiercely because I know our time is limited. I will make you laugh, I will shower you with love, and I will do everything in my power to keep you happy, to see you laugh, to see you smile, to see you enjoying life.
But mostly, I really just promise that I will love you. You are my baby. You are my precious one, you are my little Princess, and I will love you all the more for it.
I hope you enjoyed our shopping trip... I hope you love your new Dora pretties... I hope you loved our lunch together... I hope you loved your crown and your earrings and your cake...
And I promise you this... I promise that there is a lot more love, and happiness to come!