One. Already. How did so much love fit inside a single year?
She has come so far, and yet, it is the very beginning.
One. The bullets:
Love. Like a freight train.
NICU. Missing her. Always.
Feeding tube out. Her beautiful face.
Sleeplessness. Like the apocalypse.
Feeding her. The struggle.
Sister cuddles. Epic.
Her smile. Like a sunrise.
Hospitalization for RSV. My new grey hairs.
The first surgery. Her pain.
Her healing. Our settled life.
Her new smile. The sun rises again.
Spring. She's mobile!
Summer. Like a dream.
Fall. Her coming out: she's a person!
And she is her very own little person - as she lets us know many times a day. Lucy is sunshine. As in, a great big ball of fire. If you need a warm up all you have to do is get near her. She is as fierce as she is sweet. As clever as she is intense. She is determined and feisty, and she loves to make us laugh, or clap our hands. It doesn't take much to get her to cheer for herself, she's always at the ready.
Lucy understands far more than she can express. This is a point of great frustration for her. In nanoseconds she pixilates from sweet baby girl to CAVE BABY. Cave baby has two speeds. CAVE BABY MAD and CAVE BABY MADDER! Our eardrums quiver before CAVE BABY as we gently encourage some signs or simple words, but the only sign CAVE BABY uses is a furiously exasperated wave of her angry hand to signify ALL DONE/MORE/NOT THAT/SOMETHING ELSE/STOP IT/I DON'T WANT TO SEE YOUR FACE EVER AGAIN!
We are working on it.
At one, Lucy toddles around like nobody's business. Often with her arms raised in a giant "V" for victory as her happy baby hands tell a story high above her silken head. That's my favourite. She knows just what a cow says and has a very authentic "moo!" Her first word, after Mama! was her sister's name. Making Soleil's heart soar and Daddy's heart drop just a little. Her favourite subject by far is Grandpa. She often decides it is high time for a visit from Grandpa and shakes the gate at the top of the stairs and calls his name expectantly. It takes a rather lot to distract her from her post.
Oh, Lucy. My little big girl. So big when she is making her big demands with her big voice. So little with her tiny arm wrapped around my neck, cooing into my shoulder.
I have to remind myself of how strong she is because I do not want to hand her over on Monday. Again. Our last surgery date was taken away, clearing space for a lovely summer. And the new date is speeding toward us.
Early Monday morning I will have to wake her and she will be insistent for her bottle and I won't be able to give it to her. We will take her to the strange hospital with the strange people and the new smells and she will be so hungry. Then soon I will be in the scrubs. And from there I can't picture it. She was so wee last time. A bundle in the wrap on my chest. I rocked and bounced her to sleep. I held her as they gave her the gas. I didn't have to hear her cry as I walked away. I just held my breath and listened to the blood pounding in my head.
This time they will close the cleft in her palate. She will wake up to the disorientation of an anesthetic haze, to pain and distress and her new mouth. The bone in her mouth will be exposed before new tissue regenerates. She will be swollen and sore. She will not know how to use this new mouth without practice. And practice will be painful and confusing. Poor Lulu.
I am scared. Ridiculously scared. Unnecessarily scared. Embarrassingly scared. Somehow, I am more scared than last time. She's my baby girl. I'm scared. Really, really scared.
She is strong. I am grateful we can do this for her. But I am full of grief that we have to. Thoughts of risk and complication... of pain and her distress sprout like weeds in my mind until any calm and positive perspective I have cultivated is strangled.
She is so fresh from One. Her big milestone. I just want to put it off a little longer. I just want it already behind us. I just don't want to do it.
But just as she won't do this alone, neither will we. We will be soaking up the love and support of our friends and family as we take these reluctant steps on this path we happened upon. We are bracing ourselves for the big day, the dreaded empty ache in my arms as we wait the long wait. And we are hopeful for a quick and uncomplicated recovery. I am braced for 10 horrible days. We can do that, right?
Yes. We can. We can do whatever it will take.
She makes it so worth it.
Monday is coming quickly. Please think of our girl this Monday morning. Please fly your love straight to her so we can cradle her in it.
If you would like to help me wait again, I would love that. This time I will have access to more than the blog while we wait. You can comment here or email or FB message us.