Today is Gracie’s birthday — she is five years old. She had a great day. We brought cupcakes to school for her, she had steak for dinner (her favorite), and she got lots of cool presents. She was positively blissful. It was so sweet to see.
Gracie got gifts for her birthday, but her birthday itself was my gift. Each of her birthdays is a beautiful reminder that she made it another year — she is alive. Her beautiful light continues to shine. And she is perhaps as healthy this year as she has ever been on her birthday.
At this time last year, Gracie was brewing a huge infection in her left index finger that streaked halfway up her forearm, dissolved her bone, and required surgical debridement to cure. She was admitted on August 28 last year — three days after her fourth birthday. Two years ago, she had a bone infection in her right index finger and right thumb. She was in the hospital for a day or so in mid-August and was not well yet by her third birthday. Three years ago, she was in the hospital recovering from gangrene in her right index finger that caused her bone to literally fall out — that was her first major hospital stay and she was discharged on her second birthday. Four years ago, on her first birthday, she hadn’t yet learned to bite her fingers, and I think she may have been relatively healthy for that day. I have a vague memory of trying to convince her to eat cake while she kicked her heels as hard as she could into the back of her high chair — one of the first signs that she couldn’t feel pain. And by this time five years ago, on the day she was born, she had been through a version, a C-section, had received oxygen in the NICU, and was breathing very noisily with every inspiration due to tracheomalacia.
Gracie has faced many challenges in her short life. She has been through infections, antibiotics, surgeries, hospital stays, injuries, problems walking and doing other gross motor tasks, and vision loss. Even now she still is dealing with intractable diarrhea for no known cause. But none of it bothers her. She still has the sparkle in her eye, the twinkle in her smile, the charisma that never fails to amaze me. She is a beautiful gift, and I’m so grateful to have her. She’s amazing.
Happy Birthday, Amazing Gracie. ❤