You have been with us, a part of us, for one year as of today. I can’t quite believe it, but when I think back at all we’ve been through together, sure enough, it’s at least a year’s worth.
When you came to us, you were so sick, I can’t even recognize you in the pictures of those first few months. You were lost in there somewhere in the haze of trauma and cancer.
And now, after what seems like hundreds of hours at the hospital,
fever scares and E.R. trips,
heartbreaks of visits come and gone,
long nights, and sad days,
hard work at attachment,
patience tried, and sometimes failed,
love built slowly and cautiously,
hair and health and growth,
back and forths, ups and downs,
lots and lots and lots of puke,
times when you liked me,
times when you hated me,
and finally times when you really trust me,
We have changed so much. Both of us. Forever. No matter what happens, after this year, we are forever a part of each others hearts.
A year ago you were sleeping on a toddler bed in our room because you were so scared. I was waking up three times a night to make sure, really sure, that your little forehead didn’t feel the slightest bit warm. You wouldn’t let Brian get anywhere near you, and you never left my side. Never. You cried for hours at night. You cried for hours during the day. You slept a lot. I’m pretty sure you didn’t like Sylvia, and Naomi was only a couple of months old.
We were not your family.
Now you are so full of joy. We are by no means in the clear. We are still working through trauma and hurt and food – and we will be as long as you are here with us. But I see joy in your eyes. Joy and life and health. Now you sleep in your own room and trust is displayed in how our bedtime routine (usually) happens without hours and hours of meltdown. You are so healthy, most days I only think about your disease while I’m giving you your 593 medicines each morning and night. (Maybe an exaggeration, but I’m sure it seems like 593 to you.) Now you love Brian. You always ask him to hold you and dance with you – and I only get to put you to bed every other night now. You, Sylvia, and Naomi are sisters through and through. You tell other people they are your sisters, Sylvia loves you so much, and Naomi lights up when you walk in the room. We still have a lot of tears and hurt, but we share them now. You trust us, we love each other.
We are your family. Not your only family. Not your first family. But we are your family now.
Most days I can only see where we are right now and the struggles we still have day in and out. But when I step back and look at where we have been?
Wow, girl, we have been through it. And even if we are still in the thick of it, we are here for it all, forever. Because you are my daughter.
God has used you in my life in ways that I’m not even able to articulate. I love you Bella. I’m not sure what this journey is headed to, but we’ll work through it. Whether it’s forever or only for a few more months – we are in this together. Here is to the next week, and the next month, and maybe even the next year or ten.
I love you sweet girl.
Love you, love you, love you,