Oh. my. goodness. Willow is turning ONE tomorrow! The big 1! AHHHHHH! How did we get here? I swear I was just pregnant… freaking out about how three kids would put me in the loony bin. But hey… I’m not there! I’m here! And… the baby I was fearing… turned out to be just what I needed. A reminder that life is precious… every day is a gift… and that God is in control.
Today Willow had an appointment at the same hospital where she was born. As I walked through the halls… the sights and smells instantly transported me back to the week Willow entered this world. Tears flowed freely back then. I felt so afraid… so alone. All I knew is that the baby in my arms… the baby I loved… had 3 holes in her heart and a label: Down syndrome. Who knew… a year later… Willow’s heart would be fixed… and mine would be too. I no longer fear the future… because I know I am not alone. God carried Willow through surgery and He is still by her side. Correction… by OUR side. Don’t get me wrong… life still has it’s scary moments… but I’ve come to recognize that fear is an earthly emotion. I serve a heavenly God and He’s got big plans for Willow. Her first year of life is proof of that.
In just twelve months… my little girl has made a big impact. She’s grown our family’s faith… strengthened my marriage… softened my son’s heart… and made my eldest daughter face some of her fears. Willow has also taught me that Down syndrome is not to be feared. The only difference between Willow and a child without Down syndrome… is that Willow has to work harder to reach each milestone. Nothing comes easy. Which brings me back to Willow’s impact. I no longer take little things for granted. Every achievement is big. Every day… worthy of celebration.
If there is a down side to Down syndrome… it’s health related. Willow has been to more doctors in her first year of life than I probably have been to in my entire life! Most have had to do with her heart or constant congestion. But let’s not forget the thyroid tests, spinal x-rays, bilirubin draws or occupational, physical and speech therapy appointments. Wowzas! What a year. Thankfully… Willow loves attention!
So… here’s to the birthday girl! The Mighty Willow. May your next year be full of love, smiles, fun and a little more hair….
We love you!