Today my little girls turn 9.
Nine years. I have to stop and think about that number. Like, really think about it.
So much has happened in these nine years, which have at once gone by in a blur and yet been slow. How is that possible?
Today we celebrated with our traditional birthday breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls. Lunch will be a treat of getting take out and having a picnic on the family room floor. Dinner will be a family affair with grandparents joining us.
It's all set. All certain.
But I cannot help but remember back to this day, 9 years ago, when things were not so certain.
These two little crazies were meant to be Almost Thanksgiving Babies, but decided to make their arrival 6 weeks early. I had already been in the hospital for some time thanks to premature labor. I was toxic; sick in body and sick with worry. Our ears were filled daily with a long list of concerns for my health and concerns for the health of those two unborn lives. Our much awaited for "Family" was hanging dangerously on the precipice of ever becoming one.
I remember feeling at a complete loss for direction on how to feel in that strange expanse of time during which I was pregnant, but that pregnancy was killing me. On the one hand, I was desperately sick and getting sicker with each passing moment--a danger to me. On the other hand, our little girls still had 6 weeks of growing to do--6 weeks of development yet undone. They were safer inside me, but I wasn't safe with them inside. It was the ultimate irony.
They did arrive 6 weeks early, ushering in a new line up of concerns to be dealt with in turn. It's hard to see your long awaited infants being rushed away from you without being able to hold them in their first moments of life. Harder still for me to be wheeled away, unable to even see them due to my own health at that moment. My husband and I spent our first days bonding with our sweethearts in the Special Care Nursery: scrubbing in and donning gowns & hats to see them; only being able to hold them for a few minutes at time before having to put them back into their isolette; achingly watching a team of (amazing) nurses care for them more than we were able to due to these restrictions. Waiting with baited breath for that announcement that meant everything was going to be okay. Waiting for it all to be more.....certain. (You know, like we had hoped and planned for).
We were lucky; the girls only stayed in the hospital for 5 days. We all went home together. Family of Four. Truth be told, I like falling into these little reveries. I'm nostalgic that way. It gives me a greater perspective on the journey we've traveled thus far, and a hope for the road yet unknown.
It also gives me the ability to celebrate today, thankful for each and every precious moment.