Today Jillian turned 8.
Every birthday is a milestone. 365 more days. 1 more year.
8 years old. Hard to believe.
Her being in my life has been one of the greatest pleasures and joys I have no words for. All the lows and all the highs. All of the hurt, heartache and unknowns. All of the anxiety, worry and fear.
All of that is overshadowed by her. Her personality, her charm, her humor, her stubborness, her sassiness.
All that she is and will be.
I have a little area upstairs between my room and hers. In this area I have photos that are all special to me and have some meaning to them.
One of the most special ones is this one:
This photo was taken on probably one of the lowest days while Jillian was in the hospital. As if you can't tell she is probably the sickest here. Her heart was failing. We were in a holding pattern. There was not much that could be done. We were waiting for her to be old enough to perform the second surgery. She was very, very sick. And I was very, very heartbroken. This photo was also taken right after she came back to UCSF from another hospital where I was told to walk away from her. That her life wouldn't amount to much.
This photo is a visual reminder to me of where we have been. That when we were at our darkest there was hope. That after all she went through, after all the tears, worry, frustrations, despair....she came out on the other side.
We were living minute to minute in those early days. I measured her life at that time by each minute she lived. If we made it through another hour that was a victory.
As she became healthier and came home I measured her life day to day. Each day I woke up to her beautiful self was a fabulous day.
To this day my mantra for my girls is each day you wake up is a glorious day. I believe this. I live this.
On days when Jillian is a little more challenging than usual and I find myself being impatient this picture will catch my eye and remind me of how very lucky I am.
After 8 years I finally feel that I am measuring Jillian's life by years.
8 fantabulous years of this crazy little girl who adds sparkle to our lives every single day of every single year we have been honored by this miracle.
And her life is fabulous and has amounted to extraordinary and priceless amounts of awesome.