My emotions have been all over the board with Mila's upcoming 3rd birthday. Technically she's already 3 since Ukraine is 7 hours ahead of us...but I have one more hour to pretend my sleeping baby is still 2. Tonight we began her birthday celebration. I let her stay up until almost 10 pm (2 hours past her normal bedtime) because I couldn't stand the thought of putting this sweet 2 year old to sleep for the last time as a 2 year old. She's been though so much in her 3 short years and yet she has come out continuing to rise above, continuing to teach me about TRUE and UNCONDITIONAL love, continuing daily to remind me that I am so very blessed to be loved so greatly in this one and only beautiful life.
As we celebrated tonight, I couldn't help but think about what her birth day may have been like 3 years ago. I don't have stories to tell her of the day she was born. I can't tell her that her birth was one of the most beautiful moments I've ever witnessed, because I didn't. I don't know if she was welcomed with love and excitement, only to find out she wasn't the child her birth parents thought she'd be. I don't know if her birth mother held her and snuggled her, or if she turned and walked away. I can't begin to imagine the pain her birth mother must have gone through when her daughter was born with a disability into a society that has little value or appreciation or room for a child with Down Syndrome. I can't look into my big beautiful 3 year old's eyes and tell her about her first breath in this world. I can't tell her about how beautiful she smelled in her newborn state. I can't show her her beautiful newborn pictures. I can't picture her first moments on this earth. I can't fathom her loss. I can't, without crying, think about her first days, weeks, and months spent alone on this earth.
I can, however, tell her that Jesus was with her during those first few breaths in this world and that he smiled down on her because He had big plans for her. I can tell her that He protected her and loved her and KNEW her before the beginning of time. I can tell her she is exactly the child that I never knew I always needed. I can tell her my soul feels as if we've never been apart. I can tell her I believe with all my heart that I was destined to be hers, and she to be mine. I can tell her that from the moment our eyes locked I knew my life would be changed in a way no other soul could ever begin to change me. I can tell her she is loved and cherished and valued today and forever more!
Mila has accomplished so much in her three years in this world. She has touched so many hearts. She has so many gifts to offer this world. She wears her heart on her sleeve-never letting a day pass where she doesn't show her love in such a deep, unmistakable, all-encompassing way. The way she throws her arms around my neck and squeezes with every ounce of her being...the way she sinks all her weight into me as she lays on my chest...the way she smiles as if it's the best day of her life EVERY.SINGLE.DAY upon waking up....the way she looks into my eyes speaking to my soul without a single word needed....the way her smile lights up even the darkest day....the way she LOVES to LOVE...Mila is such a gift to this world and I'll be forever grateful that I was chosen to be her Mama and be on the receiving end of these gifts!
Happy 3rd Birthday Mila Hope!! You are a gift!
(More birthday pictures from tonight and tomorrow to come!)