Today my baby girl is six. I fill with joy, completely bust at the seams with happiness, with every one she has. The day I brought her home was the day before Thanksgiving and I couldn't have been more thankful to be counting those sweet little toes and swaddling that tiny body. Then two short years later, there was bad news, a vicious fight for her life, and I was praying for more days... and more birthdays... and more years. Please God, please. She has taught me almost everything I need to know about life... Treasure it. Appreciate every slice of it. Love without condition. Believe. It's because of her that every time I hug my children (I have three), that I squeeze them tighter, breathe them in, stockpile the memory for safekeeping. It's because of her that my insides go completely warm whenever I have a conversation with any one of my grandparents. (Treasure it, appreciate it.) And when she crawls into bed with me, I wrap my arms all the way around her and I thank God... and I ask for more days... and more birthdays. So whenever there is a birthday in this house, it's an outright celebration of life... a cue to count our blessings and tuck every memory somewhere safe and sound.
It would appear here she can't fill my shoes (and by the way, did you see those legs?), but really it's quite the opposite ... I am striving to fill hers. When I was strong, it was because she was stronger.
Natalia, for every ounce of happiness and courage and strength you have given to me and to the people around you, thank you forever sweet angel. Happy Birthday to you. Here's to more birthdays. I love you.