Wednesday, May 29, 2013

712 days...104 weeks... 24 months... 2 years

Happy Birthday Alicia!!

Baby Girl is 2 years old today.  Time sure flies! Hard to believe that two years ago, Linda and I were still recovering from one of the most eventful night of our lives, and our little girl was clinging to life by a thread. Now look at her. So full of life and most importantly she's thriving and improving each and every day.

I still remember clearly doctors telling us that they had no guarantees for us on how long Alicia would be alive. The odds were sorely against her, and if she survived to the end of the week, it would be quite amazing. Back then all we had to cling on to was our faith that Alicia was in God's hands. We kept praying for and proclaiming with all of you health, and life to our little one. Back then there were moments when it felt like we were maybe kidding ourselves. But we clung onto God and his promises. We knew that he would carry us through no matter what. And we believed that Alicia was going to be all right.

And as you can see, today, she's not only OK, she is blossoming into an adorable little girl.

Does she have challenges? Sure. She's a bit behind developmentally, but that's OK. We will continue to take her to therapy and get her the help that she needs. At the same time, we're going to continue what we've been doing since the beginning and continue to cling on to the hope that she is going to be able to live a 100% normal and healthy life with no disabilities or handicaps. We're going to continue to speak life over her and full health. And we ask you to continue to do that with us as well.

A year ago, on the eve of Alicia's first birthday, I wrote about how I look forward to the day when I'll hear her call me Daddy for the first time, and while we're not quite there yet, we're getting there! A couple of weeks ago, she started adding the syllable "ba" to her babbling. Now we just have to help her to associate "ba" with me! =D She is definitely understanding more and more. When we ask her "Where is baba?" she'll look at me. And if I say, "Give it to baba" She'll reach out and give me whatever's in her hand. So she's definitely more aware and interactive, which is an encouraging sign.

Now, on the day of Alicia's birthday, allow me to leave a little message for my baby girl, so that one day when she's older she can read and know what Daddy was thinking on her second birthday.

Dear Precious Baby Girl,

Happy birthday! You are 2 today. You probably have no idea right now what a special day we celebrate today, but in time, and as you get older, you will know. But for now, Mommy and Daddy will just celebrate for you.

Baby girl, you are growing and learning so much. You have your challenges and Mommy and Daddy need to give you some special help, but it is worth it. To see how much you are improving and growing makes Mommy and Daddy's heart smile.

Alicia, I hope you know how much Mommy and Daddy love you. Mommy pours out so much of herself to take care of you. And her heart is continuously wondering what else she can do to help you to grow physically, mentally, spiritually and in every other way. Mommy often exhausts all of her energy in trying to get you to eat, or nap, or just to finish your milk. You are an amazing girl. And overall, you are very well-behaved and cooperative. But little girl, you have to eat and sleep. That's how you'll get bigger, healthier and stronger. One day you'll understand and one day you'll have children of your own. I hope they eat better than you do, but if they don't, then maybe you'll understand the struggle Mommy goes through every day to feed you. Haha.

But Alicia, you are an amazing little girl. Your smile is like a splash of color on a dreary gray canvas, it brightens everything up. I love playing with you and making you laugh. And I love when I hold you and you hold me back, snuggle and bury your face in my chest. You make me feel like I am the biggest coolest superdad in the world.

There are times when I get frustrated and I yell or put you aside, and I am sorry. Daddy is learning, too. I am learning I need to cherish this time I have with you, because you won't be small forever. One day you are going to be all grown up and have a family of your own. And I'm going to have to compete for your time. But for now, your mine and Mommy's and we will continue to cherish the gift that is you.

Daddy and Mommy have a lot of hopes and dreams for you baby girl. But mostly our prayer is that we would train you up in the way that you should go. We want you to have an amazing relationship with God, and know that he has created you and that you have an exciting purpose here on Earth. You almost went back to Heaven early, but God sent here, and I know you have something important to do. And Mommy and Daddy promise that we'll do our best to help you find out what that is, and support you so that you can have every advantage, resource and tool you need to thrive and give God glory while you're alive here on Earth.

Precious girl, you are my treasure.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Missing Something?

Seriously, how do all of you do it? I mean those of you with 2, 3, 4 . . . 19 kids? How do you do it?

How do you do it, while still maintaining your smile, your energy, and most importantly your hair? Alicia is a great kid and all, but seriously, lately, I feel like we're coming apart at the seams.

Those of you who know me well, know I once had a lofty dream of having four, yes, FOUR, kids. I love kids, I reasoned, it'd be fun. MWUAHAHAHA. Lately, I've really started to reconsider. I mean, part of me still hangs onto the hope that by some miracle of God, we get this supernatural stamina, patience and energy to handle four little kiddies running around our house. But right now we're doing all that we can just to survive.

I sometimes wonder, is it us? Are we doing it wrong? I mean, how do some moms have the energy and capability to have three young boys under the age of five, be pregnant with her fourth child, bake amazing treats and still run 10 miles every day. (Yes, I'm talking about you Mrs. Sawatzky.)

And then others who find the time to sew, and bake, and keep their house clean and take their child out for modeling shoots, and still have time to make baby number two, or three.

I'm like... I really would like to have a second one. But really? Do we dare?

And I'm at odds, too. Because part of me is like... we want a second one, let's get it over with. If we're going to be tired, let's just be tired all at once. I don't want to get to a point where Alicia is a bit older, she can do more on her own, and we can take things a bit easier, and then BAM have to start all over for another 3 or 4 years with kiddo numero dos. At the same time, can we really handle adding another person into the mix, with everything that we have going on?

I mean, seriously, am I missing something? Other families seem all the ready to have more kids. Parents whose kids were born about the same time as Alicia, if they haven't already added to their pantry, are in the process of creating or baking their next sweetie pie. But in our little bakery shop, as the chief baker (my wife) so tactfully put it, "The store is closed."

And while, I would so like to contest and on occasion do try to persuade my wife to prepare for our second, part of me feels like, who am I kidding? We have four hands full with Alicia. How can I even think of having a second, or a third, or dare I say it? A fourth.

On a side note, in my naivete as a young single man, I thought, hey wouldn't it be fun to have twins? Now I think, WAS I CRAZY?! So you parents of multiples out there - hats off to you.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of joys that we experience. Like the sweet smiles that we get from Alicia each day. Or even her crawling up to me just now, putting her little hands on my knees and pulling herself up to be close to me. Those things are precious.

I mean, I honestly have no answers. I don't know what I can do to make things easier for Linda or myself. Or maybe there is nothing we can do. Maybe it's just a phase that we need to go through.

I guess part of me writes this to let those of you out there who are in the same boat as me know that you're not alone. Not all families are idyllic with well-disciplined children who sleep, eat, and poop on schedule, and moms and dads who keep a spotless home, while cooking dinner with one hand and changing a diaper in the other.

All I can say is I am clinging on to God for dear life, I tell you. =D