Dear Ellie,Princess Ellie

Happy 6th Birthday! Six years ago today, in a heartbeat, my life changed dramatically. The years since have been the hardest of my life, but I truly believe you have made me stronger and better. I have learned so many things from you. Here are just a few:

  1. You Get What You Get and You Don’t Get Upset. After your birth, when we were struggling with all of your issues and wondering what your future would be, I remember answering Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop when they asked if I was okay, “I’m fine. Like I tell the older kids, you get what you get and you don’t get upset.” Thank you for teaching me to accept you from the beginning. It has made my journey with you so much easier. I love you unconditionally just the way you are.
  2. We can communicate without words. Of course, I wish we could talk with words, but I know you love me lots and you know I love you lots. Isn’t that what it’s really all about? It hurts me beyond words when you are sick, or hurt, or scared and you can’t tell me what’s wrong. Believe me when I tell you I’m working on finding a way for us to figure these things out. But until then just know I don’t want you to be in pain or afraid. I’m trying my best.
  3. You taught me how to really pray. I went to Catholic school for 16 years but I never really learned to rely on my Faith and the power of prayer until I had you. Your good Mom-Mom taught me that I have to be really specific and ask for what I want. We still pray daily for you—as do so many wonderful others—and I’m still waiting for that miracle. Until it occurs, though, we are grateful for the many answered prayers we have received along the way.
  4. You taught me that sleep is overrated. We joke that your extra genetic material contains the “no-sleep"To The World you are one but to one, you are the world." gene”. You’ve taught me to cope pretty well with very little sleep, but man those first five years were really hard. Thank you for cooperating with me lately as I’m learning I actually do better with sleep. We won’t talk about last night though.  I also love my coffee cup I got because of you for two reasons: the coffee I put in it and the fuel it provides, but more so the message which keeps me going after a rough night: “To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world.”
  5. You taught me to laugh rather than cry. In many situations we’re dealt, we feel like crying but we usually laugh. So we laugh a lot in our family. A nurse once remarked to me about you, “You know, she’s not that odd.” Now, you and I look at each other and I say, “Hey, El, you’re not that odd.” What was she thinking? Sometimes you just have to laugh.
  6. You are here for a reason. You are my miracle baby. You survived against the odds and joined us here on Earth for a reason. You’ve taught so many people so much in your six years; more than most of us can teach in a lifetime. You’ve taught the power of unconditional love, the power of prayer, the ability to make others smile by making them feel like a million bucks. You are patient. You would clap hands all day with anyone. I bet you wonder why we are all rushing around all day with our heads in the computer or griping about people when we could really just love each other and all be as happy as you. You are right, again.

Thank you, Ellie. You continue to teach me and bless me and everyone that has the opportunity to really get to know you. You are a pretty special kid. Yes, you are a lot of work, and sometimes you test my patience. Your physical and mental disabilities are a daily challenge for me, but your goodness and your wholesomeness are worth all of it and then some.

Thanks for being my kid. I love you!