Friday, October 14, 2005

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday dear R, Happy Birthday to you!!!!

My baby is 9 today... it just doesn't seem possible!

We tell her she is a miracle baby, and I believe truly is... in every sense of the word. R was born at 26 weeks and only weighed 1lb 14 oz. She spent her first three months in the hospital, struggling through the "normal" preemie problems. She had heart surgery when she was three days old, needed a ventilator for almost a month and had retinopathy of prematurity.

I didn't know R then, but I can guess that she just took each day as it came...fighting through the set-backs and pain...slowly working her way to the point she was ready to come home.

She came home to "Granny and Papa's" house... They are the foster parents who loved her and worked with her until she came to us just before her second birthday. They saw her through the months when she still depended on oxygen to breath, and through the physical therapy she needed for her muscles to loosen up enough so she could begin to learn to use her body. They saw her through all the illness, and trips to the ER because her lungs were so fragile and she got sick so easily. They really gave R her life...

Once all the really hard work was over, we got R... and she has continued to be a miracle. Despite developmental delays, she is a pretty typical 9 year old (and, believe it or not, does do other things beside ride horses!) She is starting to read fluently, and read her first Amelia Bedelia book the other evening. She can work through both addition and subtraction problems (although she'd rather not...) and she never complains (well almost never) when what we are working on in school is difficult for her. Her doctor describes her as very resilient... and she is.

She's also a very good person... She has many friends (both human and equine) and is unfailingly kind to them. She has gracefully accepted that often she is the "older" and more capable child of the two still at home, even though she is four years younger than M. She forgives him when he is unfair to her, and she tries to take care of him when he seems to need it. (The other day while taking a walk, Michael became very anxious and "froze"... too frightened to continue walking. At the time R (as usual) was bouncing along way ahead of him. As soon as she realized that he was scared, she walked back, gently took him by the hand and... talking calmly to him... got him moving again.)

Fortunately our sweet little princess has a rowdy side as well... This picture was taken yesterday, after a mud fight between her and M. (funny how quickly all the pretty snow turns into all that gooey mud, isn't it?!) From the looks of things, I think R got the better of him.. what do you think?


Well, I could do on and on about our little miracle... but I have party bags to make, and cakes to frost, and I can already hear the kids moving around upstairs. One last note... the judge from last weekend's horse show called R's riding instructor to ask about the cute little girl with all the barrettes, and mentioned how cute it was that the horse matched the child (so I guess you all were right!) The judge was so impressed with the kids that she's writing an article about the program for the dressage magazine she writes for!!