(I have had this written for a while, for some reason, it was hard to part with)
If I knew then what I know now...
Celebrating and reflecting on our year of growth, both hers physically and ours mentally, has been emotional. We are the same people we always were, but the lens we see through now create a vision much different than what has been seen in the past.
We see hope, joy and endless possibilities for us all.
We have been active agents in observing how one little baby can conquer so much. We have redefined beauty in our lives and embraced difference in all that it offers. We have accepted our challenge as parents and have never felt more fulfilled to have been given the opportunity to truly abandon all that was familiar. Both in terms of becoming new parents (cause that's hard enough) and also in recognizing that Down Syndrome is just that, an extra chromosome that happens to be part of our baby's genes.
Whatever...we got this!!!
(rock our world indeed)
We have made it a priority to steer clear of Baby Center milestones and just celebrate what IS. We find solace in the fact that Hazel will do all the things she is supposed to, in her own time. Just as all children do, when they are ready.
That is not to say that we don't work with our girl, support her and provide her with every opportunity there is for her to succeed. It's just that we do it with ease and at her pace. Just as any other parent, we have a deep desire and a vested interest in helping her to grow and be happy.
We will do almost anything to see this smiling face...
The pictures of this time around her heart surgery are difficult to see, but they are a perfect reminder that our girl is a fighter. She makes us so proud everyday.
She comes out on top.
She surprises everyone with her will and determination to meet milestones with grace and contentment.
There is NOTHING more beautiful than these almond shaped eyes. All the time - everyday - they put butterflies in my stomach.
She is silly, fun, stubborn, ambitious, expressive, happy and sometimes mad (if you can believe it - she yells a lot...seriously it can be rather offensive).
She has grown so much in 1 year. WE have grown so much in 1 year. I was excited about the future the moment we stepped foot into our home with a new baby girl. She has delivered in every category. At this point, I have no words for what the future might bring. I am almost giddy about it.
Waiting so long for her to join us is not lost on us. We still have a hard time believing that she is ours. We still appreciate every moment of her life. I look in on her every night before I sleep. I am so overjoyed that she will be there in the morning when I wake, and every morning, with a smile on her face ready for a new day.
It has been quite a year. So many challenges, so many battles. Yet at the same time, I have never experienced such strength, love, pride, joy and PEACE. Most importantly - PEACE.
My wish for all of you....to find PEACE. I find it here, with her.
I can't wait to see what is in store over the next year. I know our learning and growing as people, as a family, has just begun.
If I knew then what I know now...
I would have been beside myself with excitement about the future. I would not have been as scared and worried about the challenges that may have awaited us (although part of me still is). I would have started to compartmentalize the overwhelming amount of pride that I have for my girl (sometimes I feel like I am going to explode with it). I would have prepared myself to receive love in a way that is unconditional and pure. And I would have been ready to surrender to the all-consuming LOVE that I have for my girl.
You know what they say about hindsight...
Love & Peace