Nine years ago, Baby Sprout made an early entrance into this world on the morning after Mother’s Day. We knew a lot about you that morning–that you’d be rushed to Children’s Memorial Hospital and that have open heart surgery. There was so much more that we didn’t know, starting with whether Sprout was a boy or a girl. Mostly, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. We’re quick studies, however, and we still refer to ourselves as The PITS (Parents-in-Training) to acknowledge how much we have to learn.
While what we still don’t know about parenting may be legion, what we know about you could fill reams of paper (and has, virtually speaking). You survived that first surgery and has had best-case health outcomes for nine years. As you complete your first decade we know that you are a smart, funny, sensitive (in good and bad ways), generous, kind child. You are quick to laugh, though also quick to cry. You have a lovely disposition, though you can also have a terrible temper. You love to read, play piano, horseback ride, color, and play with your friends. You are imaginative and creative.
Your deep grief at the death of our beloved cat Esther has touched me–to know that you love and grieve with such ardor is at the same time difficult (because I cannot help you through the pain) and heart-warming (because you are such a passionate soul).
You have become increasingly self-conscious of you scar and yet, at the same time, quite proud of it. This somehow seems to me an indication of the fine, thoughtful young woman I am sure you will become–conscious of the world around you, aware of your own strengths, and concerned about your limitations.
And what, above all else, have you done to make us proud lately? You asked that in lieu of birthday gifts, anyone attending your party make a donation to the 2014 Move for the Kids in honor of “her hospital,” the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. [No, folks, I don’t make this stuff up. (Okay, she also wanted “fairy stuff or Monster High stuff” and “can cousin Brandi come to my party?’]
My poetry muse seems to have gone fishing this birthday and I’ve only gotten as far as “nine is fine.” And I’m sure it will be. Darling Sprout, my sweet princess–may you grow from strength to strength.
And to Team Charlotte and my dear readers, As I feel I must do each year at this time, I thank you all for being with us on this journey, and for reading along whether I write daily or sporadically. Charlotte’s journey has been incredible so far, and we are privileged to be along for her ride. We’re even more privileged to know that her story has helped and inspired others, and connected us with families and parents who have similar paths to walk.
Thank you for sharing it all with us.