To My Daughter on Her 1st Birthday

Dear Hudsyn Ann, A year ago tomorrow, God blessed us with helping you come into the world and gave a lot of people the experience of witnessing a Miracle.

You were far from a typical birth and ever since, you've followed your own path. None of their "averages" or what they call "normal" have applied. You are special. Because of this, I recognize now that it was because I needed to learn to live in the present moment as much as possible. This lesson you taught me when you were only 8 days old. I remember telling Tina how I had asked for this before you were even a thought in our heads. And here you were...a perfect, amazing, baby girl...an infant, teaching me this lesson more than anyone else could.

You came into our lives and have changed everything about how we Live, Think and Love. We are softer, more patient and absolutely more open. These are gifts that we'll always be grateful for. We know your choice to stay here in this life was a difficult one. You knew it would be a challenge and yet you did it anyway. I admire your courage and strength everyday.

Your smile melts my heart every single time you choose to put it on. Each morning when I come in to wake you up for breakfast, it's there. Your gorgeous blue eyes and those chubby cheeks glow with happiness when you hear my voice. I would run for a thousand miles just to see it. Grandpa D. says it's getting more ornery. I think he's right and I love it. Imagine that...a child of mine being mischievous. ;)

The three teeth you've cut this year were amazing. I remember on our way out to Boulder when we caught a glimpse of the first one. Your dad took a photo and sent it to everyone...so excited that we were reaching a new "first." As you get older, you'll learn just how much he's in your corner. He's never once left your side and I know he never will.

Your love of music is infectious. Some of your first favorites were Jonsi and Pavarotti. Now you seem to like Lady Gaga and Adele. Every time these artists play, your face lights up as if you were seeing the music in your head. You may not be able to see like others do, but I know you connect through these complex sounds and harmonies.

Solid food has become a regular part of your routine. You love to eat peas, sweet potatoes and squash. They're your favorites. Anything else usually comes with a fight. Meltdowns usually happen during meal times. The rest of the day you're pretty easy going. In fact, most people tend to think you're an angel because you rarely cry when we run errands, visit family or have people over.

If you're upset or extremely tired, all we have to do is put you in the car and drive around for an hour. It's still your favorite way to fall asleep. And although you've had a rough year of sleeping and getting on a consistent schedule, you're comfortable in your own bed now.

It sounds cliche, but I have no idea where this first year went. With all the therapy appointments, sleepless nights, leaps and 'inchstones' the time has really flown by. But, I'm excited about what's in our future. In two days we'll be going back to Children's Mercy to help you start on a new diet that will hopefully give you some relief of the seizures we've become accustomed to in the last 9 months.

We've come a long way. I think back to that fourth day in the NICU when everyone had left the room to let you and I have some time to connect. They had just given us the news that you may not wake from a coma you had been in for a few days. That time would tell and we'd "just have to wait and see." I pulled you close and let a few tears fall on your cheek. I whispered to you that no matter what you decided...if you wanted to stay in this life...or go...that we'd love you unconditionally. I trusted that you and God had already made plans anyway.

I hugged you, kissed your face and let that fear leave my body. All that I had left at that point was blind faith. After 10 months of being directly connected to you, protecting you and providing the best environment for you to thrive, I honestly didn't know how I was going to get through one day without you. But I had given my faith to God, knowing it was what I had to do for you to be free to choose.

Two days later, you woke up. And from that moment on, I vowed I would do everything I could to stay soft, to stay open...but most of all, remain present. And of course that I would be grateful every day, no matter how hard they would be. Some days are more trying than others, but I feel I've kept that promise.

Thank you. Thank you for your unconditional love and choice to be here with us. We love you with all our hearts, Miss Hudsyn Ann. Happy First Birthday, my Miracle girl. You are amazing.

All My Love,

~Your Mom