At first, I was going to wait until tomorrow to write, but then I realized that today is actually the day to be celebrating. Today is the anniversary of one of the most dramatic days of my life. Today is the day when we made some of the biggest decisions in our lives.
A year ago today, Alicia was still inside Linda's womb, and we had yet to meet or know our baby girl. To me, all I knew of my baby girl were some blurry gray sonograms and what I imagined in my mind. I had no idea what she would look like, what she was capable of, how strong she was, or even the fact that she was indeed a she.
How far we have come.
I still remember those first weary, draining hours waiting outside the OR, for news of Alicia's safe delivery. Then seeing a bundle of pink inside an incubator whizzing past me as she was rushed to the NICU. The memory of waiting outside the then unfamiliar stainless steel door of the NICU with my sister-in-law, her husband, and my cousin-in-law, bleary-eyed and dazed, yet unable to sleep because I was excited and yet anxious to hear the status of my newborn baby girl.
Of course, those first few moments when I saw Alicia will forever be etched in my memory. Walking into the NICU, seeing and being introduced to my micro-preemie palm-sized fairy for the first time, all skin and bones, splayed out with tubes and wires sticking out every which way like some sort of crude biology experiment. It's not an image that I will quickly forget.
Also Alicia's doctor, who at that time was a stranger, now a dear friend, pulling me aside and explaining to me in a strange "foreign language" about everything that was "wrong" with my baby and signing papers giving the her and her team permission to begin treatment. It was at that moment that I really felt like I was no longer a kid. In the past my signature carried the authority to impact my life and maybe Linda's life at times. But for the first time, my signature carried the power over someone who was completely dependent on me. The very act of signing or not signing could mean life or death to this new human being who was only hours old.
Man. Amazing how far we've come.
The three of us- Linda, Alicia and I - have really grown into a family since those early days in the hospital. Alicia is a delight to us and everyone who she comes in contact with. Her smile can brighten up any dull or dreary day and her laughter can raise any sunken spirit. She loves rice cereal made with beef broth. She loves music. She loves paper and other things that crinkle. She LOVES to jump. She can roll over like a pro. She has four teeth and a fifth one that is due to make it's debut any day now. She has started to recognize people and will smile when she sees people she knows. And yet she's not afraid of strangers. She is fascinated by people, and when she meets someone new she will look intently at them as if she is studying their face and trying to memorize or figure out who they are. She loves her hands and you can always tell when she's nervous, because she will just stare mesmerized at her hands and refuse to look up. She sleeps through the night with the best of them, and usually wakes up with a smile. She rarely cries except for when she's extremely hungry or tired.
As for her weight, some of you will remember my daily reports of her weight during her stay in the hospital. Well, it's been over a month since her last hospital visit, so I have no idea of her real weight at this point, but for sure she has grown to more than 11X her birth weight. Amazing, eh? She's outgrown countless outfits and is even starting to outgrow small-sized diapers. In fact, Linda and I just purchased a box of medium-sized diapers for her. We sure have come a long way since her diaper dress days.
These days, when I look back at photos from the early days, I marvel at just how faithful God is. How he has truly been our rock and our provider. How he has kept us steady and been our refuge in the midst of the storm.
Not that I wish you calamity, but I do wish that you would experience just once how amazing it is to have Jehovah-Shammah - the ever present God and Emmanuel with you through any and all circumstances, and how amazing it is to have him as a shelter while things are whirling about you like a tornado. I wish that you could experience this peace that surpasses all understanding and the confidence of knowing that no matter what happens, things will work out for the good of those who are called according to his purpose.
Our journey with Alicia has only begun, I look forward to the days of teaching her how to walk, and dance and sing. I look forward to hearing her calling me Daddy for the first time. I look forward to seeing her learn new things and participating in the wonder of discovery with her.
I must take the time right now to thank all of the different angels that have come along side us over this past year to bless us, guide us, pray for us and cheer us on. We cherish each one of you.
Campbell a.k.a Alicia's Dad
HEY ALICIA! HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TURNING 1?
I SUPER LIKE!