Pictures will follow-but for now I will share my birthday letter to Rylee. I keep files on the computer with letters to each of our children that I write them from time to time. My hope is to print them all out when they turn 18 and give them their ‘books’ so they can look back and see the story of their life through the words of their mama. It is really special for me.
My beloved oldest daughter,
You are six years old today. I can hardly believe it. Six years ago yesterday I was enjoying my baby shower, opening piles of presents and feeling a little strange but just figured it was normal. Shortly after I got home from that shower, my water broke. The next day you were born. They whisked you away and said you’d need a little help upstairs. A ‘little help’ turned into a 5 weeks stay in the NICU. You struggled with breathing, were nearly taken to Children’s in Seattle more than once, every step of the way something went wrong. Eventually extensive damage had been done to one of your kidneys. Your blood pressure was sky high. It was so scary.
The day we took you home was terrifying but wonderful. We had come home empty handed and cried by your crib many nights before. To have you there with us was so indescribable. We were forever changed by your entrance into our family. You made us a mama and a daddy. You brought love from our hearts that we had never known before. You drew us together in the most intimate way as we clung to Jesus and prayed He would spare your life many times over.
When you were 3 1/2 years old again we faced great challenges and fear and again God protected you and walked beside us as you endured a major surgery to have your non-functioning but very sickly kidney removed. They could not guarantee anything but hoped that having it gone would bring your blood pressure down to a safe level. We held our breath and at day 10 post surgery it started coming down. Soon it was normal and you were able to be free of medications for the first time in your life. We rejoiced and a few weeks later God gave us another little brother for you. Kyler James was born and you adored him from the moment you saw him.
This year has been so exciting for you. You asked God for a sister and you believe with all your heart that He gave her to you. You still tell people that. And it is true. He knew your hearts desire and He gave you a sister to call your own. She is everything you hoped for and more. She shares your pink girlie room. She loves to hear your voice and to be held or touched by you more than anyone else except for me. You love to dress her, change her and hold her. She is almost too heavy for you but you still manage. You hold her on your left hip just like I do. It’s quite a sight!
You have an amazing, inquisitive spirit. You have great questions and want to know everything about everything. You have an innate nurturing heart that spills over into everything you do. You took 3 foot tall plastic Christmas angels on a walk around the culdesac recently just so you could take care of someone. It is one of your greatest qualities. You are keenly aware of your surroundings. You don’t miss anything. You love naps, hate mornings and stay up as late as you can all perky and chatty just like your daddy.
I love that you are the first child God gave me. I love that you are not alone, that you always have a playmate around. I love talking with you. You have the most contagious laugh ever. It is an infectious giggle really. It’s one of my favorite things in the world. You are one of my favorite things in the world.
I love all that you are. Happy Birthday Rylee Jeanne!