Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Joy Of YOU

My Dearest Isabella, 

It has been nearly a year since my last letter. For that, I am sorry. My attention has been spent playing with you, making memories, and trying to give you a sister if brother (that as gotten nowhere). But all of that is not a good enough excuse to have not written you a letter. These letters are my heart's way of telling you the things you are too little to fully understand. 

You are the joy of my life and your Daddy's life. It has been the best adventure of my life watching you grow, learn, explore. Your intelligence amazes me! You say the funniest things and remember so much about what we teach you and tell you. You take yourself on adventures around the house and in the little field across from the house. You taught yourself how to hang from a tree branch and you are trying to climb trees. I love to watch you and the pride you take in all you do. 

The thing I love the most are your hugs and cuddles. You are my little cuddle bug. I never dreamed that your cuddles could be so magical. But they are! There is something so magical about being your mom. It is like living in a fairy tale. You give my boo boos kisses to make them all better. You hold my hand when you think I'm sad. You gently pat my head when I have a headache. There is nothing sweeter than your love and nurturing. Your hugs make even the worst of days seem better, brighter, happier. These hugs are priceless! 

Now, you are quickly approaching your third birthday. We had hoped to be able to tell you that you were going to be a big sister, but sometimes, God has other plans for our lives. God must have something special in mind for all of us because right now, it is just you. And my heart is okay with that right now. I am so filled with love for you and joy in you. The past three years have given your Daddy and me more smiles, laughs, and tears than ever imagined. The joy you have brought to our lives is indescribable. I do the best I can with these letters, but only when you are a mother some day will you ever fully understand. 

For now, my dearest little love, I shall wrap up this letter with a not-quite-so-simple "Thank You." Thank you for giving me the best three years I could ever ask for. Thank you for always giving me cuddles and hugs and making sure I know that you love me. Thank you for making me feel like the mom who makes your world beautiful. Thank you for making me feel beautiful when you see me looking in the mirror and you tell me how pretty I am. Thank you for teaching me how to live life with cautious adventure, how to explore new things, how to enjoy the little things like picking blackberries and eating them straight from the bush. Thank you for allowing me to make mistakes and learn as I go. I'm not perfect as a mom, but you let me make mistakes and tell you I am sorry when I do. Thank you for just being you. I always wanted to be a mom and I dreamed of having a daughter. But I never imagined it could or would be this amazing. So thank you for being the joy of my life. I love so you very much. Like I say every night, I love you to the moon and back. 


Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Little Girl

Dear Isabella,

It has been a long time since my last letter to you. For that I am sorry. Time seems to slip away so quickly. You keep me so busy, too, and that leaves me no time to write you a sweet little letter. But you are so peacefully napping and that gives me time to sneak a little note in for you.

Where do I begin? I can hardly believe that you are already two years old. Time has gone by so quickly. Yesterday, Daddy and I went back to Dr. V. He is the doctor we call Dr. Miracles. Without his gentle spirit and wisdom, we would not have you. We are forever thankful for his willingness to help us. You were able to meet him for the first time in your little life. There is nothing like the moment when your child meets the doctor who is responsible for their existence. It melted me heart to know that you two could meet.

Of course, Isabella, we weren't there just so you could meet. We were there because we decided, along with God's help, that it is time to give you a little brother or sister. And since Mommy can't seem to do things on her own, we needed the help from Dr. Miracles. So, we are planning on giving you a sibling next summer. Hopefully, this is God's plan for you, as well, but we will see.

My child, I want so much for you to have someone to play with, spend time with, laugh with, and grow up with. Your Aunt Dee Dee and your Aunt Olivia know the importance of having someone to share life with. As an adult, your sister or brother is so important. You share so much with them. You can cry with them, laugh with them, shop with them, and just be there for them. It's a relationship nobody chooses for themselves, but it is chosen for us. And we are all the better for having that relationship. I want nothing more than for you to have that relationship. Hopefully, we can give you that soon enough.

In the meantime, I am loving all the time I spend with you. I get to watch you grow, laugh, play, explore, and discover.  You are so active and such a quick learner. You continue to bless me with all that you are and all that you do. I love you so very much!!

I promise to write more frequently even if the letters aren't very long. I love you so very much!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Brave Little Girl

**This letter is actually from April 27, but I am just getting to finish it now.

Dear Isabella,

Words cannot say how proud I am of you today. You are such a brave big girl. Today, we spent the morning over in Philadelphia at CHOP. Yes, today was YOUR big day. Your ears will never be the same! You've been a super girl all day long. This Mommy is beyond proud of your bravery and strength. 

Last night, I did my best to keep you up past your bedtime so that you could eat an extra snack or two, drink juice to your heart's delight, and wait for Grandma to arrive. You were so excited to see Grandma when she got here. You sure did make her feel welcome and loved. That was such a nice welcome for her after her long drive up here for you. She was excited to see you, too. You made her smile from ear to ear with your excited welcome. You did stay up an hour and a half past bedtime. But it was so worth it to see Grandma (Daddy's Mommy) reading you a bedtime story and sharing beautiful and tender moments with you before bedtime. Mommy needed a break last night. My emotions were already getting the best of me, as I was nervous about today's procedure. But, as always, I cuddled with you, prayed with you, rocked you to sleep, and tucked you in.

We got you up VERY early this morning to head on over to Philly. You were such a well-behaved little girl. Although you had nothing to eat or drink since last night, you didn't fuss or get grumpy about it. You didn't fuss when Mommy and Daddy changed you into your hospital shirt, pants, and socks. You were so good. You took all your medicine like a brave little girl. You, sadly, are so used to taking medicine in a syringe that when Nurse Lauren came in with your Giggle Juice, you opened right up, ready for it. And you swallowed it all down like a big girl. She was certainly impressed with your behavior. She also kept commenting on how beautiful you are.Those words sure do make this Mama proud to say you are mine, my beautiful daughter. 

Daddy and I did a great job of being brave for you. There was no sense in showing our emotions and getting you upset before your big procedure. That would have made it all a lot more difficult. We held you in the preop room and watched some Mickey Mouse on the television. You were pretty distracted with the toys that the Nurse Assistant brought in for you. Distractions were great because they kept you from thinking about how hungry or thirsty you were. The doctor who would be operating came in to see you and talk to us. He told us how short the procedure would be and how you would be so much better once the tubes were in your ears. I still held it together, though I could feel my eyes ready to well up with tears. But when the anesthesiologist came in and talked to us, the reality of leaving you in their hands set in. I still held in my tears, though! I needed you to be brave, so I needed to be brave for you.

I did great holding my emotions together. That is, until they came to take you back to the Operating Room. I chose to not carry you, even though you stubbornly displayed your desire for Mommy to hold you, love on you, and carry you. Thankfully, the Giggle Juice was already in effect and although you cried a little when Nurse Lauren carried you around the corner away from Mommy, you willingly let her carry you without kicking and screaming. When she passed you off around the corner to the OR staff, I could no longer contain my emotions. Yes, Mommy cried. It was the hardest thing I have had to do for you. I had to let you go, knowing that I could not be there to hold your hand. I knew you would be brave, I also knew that you were braver than I was. Your Daddy was great with me and so was Grandma. They hugged me and reassured me that everything would be great. 

After only ten minutes, Dr. H cam in to talk to us and tell us how great everything went. I was so relieved! It was music to my ears to know that everything went well, everything was done already, and you were already out of the anesthesia. We were told we could go back and see you and that just made me so happy. When we got back to your post-op room, you were drinking a bottle of apple juice sitting on a male nurse's lap, seemingly so content with your dreamy eyes. He really was too old for you, Baby Girl. I cried when I saw you. I was so overcome with emotions too hard to describe. I took you in my arms, held you tight, and kissed your sweet forehead. We were discharged shortly afterward.

The car ride home was not so wonderful. We made it safely across the river and about fifteen minutes into the ride, your little stomach could no longer handle the after effects of the anesthesia and the pain reducer they gave you. You became very sick. Grandma was sitting in the back with you and did her best to clean you up and comfort you. Mommy had packed a thick towel knowing that you would most likely be sick in the car. Poor baby, you were very sick and very hungry. 

Mommy had to make an emergency visit to the chiropractor because I woke up and couldn't turn my head. It was a very bad morning for Mommy, but you were far more important than not being able to turn my head. Grandma and Daddy dropped me off so I could get better in order to take care of you for the rest of the day. By the time I got home, you were eating, playing, and having a grand old time with Grandma. My heart was overjoyed to know that you were feeling better.

Overall, Isabella, you did great. You were a real trooper, my brave little girl. You will do so much better with the tubes in your ears and Mommy and Daddy are excited to see what the effects will be.


**Post Script: Mommy and Daddy are so pleased with the progress you have made!! You speak so much more in words we can actually understand. You seem to be so much happier because you aren't in pain and you can communicate so much better. I am excited to see how much more you progress as time goes on with tubes in your ears making everything sound more clear. ♥

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Brave Little Girl

Dear Isabella,

There comes a time in every little girl's life when they have to be brave and do what the doctors want. Today was the start of that journey. Today, we saw Dr. Handler. Mommy heard so many wonderful things about him. And with the trouble your ears have been causing lately, it was time to pay him a visit. It sure was an early morning. We kept you in your pajamas and drove into Philadelphia for our appointment. Luckily, you woke up before we arrived at CHOP's Wood Building. You ate some of your breakfast in the waiting area, but then the adventure started.

First, you met Nurse Peggy. She looked in your ears (and surprisingly, you let her look without ANY fighting!). Of course, your ears have fluid in them. Mommy is not surprised anymore with those words. When she tried to look in your throat, you sure gave her a hard time! But she got a good enough look to know that your tonsils and adenoids are fine and dandy. You were such a good and brave little girl for Nurse Peggy. She was so impressed with how well behaved you were for her at such a young age. 

Then, Dr. Handler came in. He checked out your ears again. You weren't so nice to him at first with your ears, but then you just relaxed and let him do his job. But, just like with Nurse Peggy, you didn't want him to look in your mouth. But he managed to get a good enough look to be happy with what he saw (Thankfully, he didn't comment on your bad breath). Sure enough, there is fluid in your ears. He suspected that it was causing you some temporary hearing deficiencies. Everything to you sounds like it does under water. Poor girl, you just can't seem to catch a break! He decided that the best decision for your ears is to have tubes put in. They are the tiniest little things, Izzy! He showed Daddy and me what they look like. They really are tiny. He says that once they are put in, your ears should be able to drain the fluid and you should be able to hear like a normal child does. He sure is impressed with how much you have seemed to pick up and say despite all the infections and constant fluid.

Dr. Handler sent us to visit the audiologist down the hallway. You really liked her. She was funny and got some giggles out of you. You were so brave sitting on Mommy's lap in the sound room. It was a strange room, I know. There were lots of things to stimulate your attention. You did as well as you were expected to do with all the fluid in your ears. You certainly didn't respond to the noises that were extremely soft. Your eyes didn't even acknowledge where the sound was coming from. Then, she put these neat headphones on your head (not your ears, though) and they tested how your inner ear reacted to sounds when the sound was able to bypass the fluid and you responded much better to all the sounds. So, this was our proof that the fluid is causing some hearing deficiencies. Mommy and Daddy don't want to do anything that would cause you pain, but these ear tubes will surely be a wonderful thing.

We scheduled your surgery for the 27th of this month. So, in less than four weeks, you will have a nice set of ear tubes and what Dr. Handler calls "Brand New Ears!" He says you will hear things you haven't really noticed before and we should notice remarkable development of your vocabulary. I know you are going to be scared on the 27th. Mommy would be lying if I said I wasn't going to be scared right along with you. But, I am going to wear my Big Girl panties that day and you are going to be my brave little girl. It's a quick surgery. In fact, it is the anesthesia that takes the longest to deal with. But I promise we will get through it. Daddy will make sure we are both brave that day. 

Right now, you are peacefully napping next to me on the couch, unscarred by your appointments today. It will all be a distant memory soon and you will only know that you feel better, walk better, talk better, and everything will sound better. Wait until you hear your Mom-Mom's singing with clear ears! You will be so excited. And wait until you hear Poppy's organ and Daddy's trumpet. Wait until you hear Grandma's voice and giggles. The excitement that awaits you when your ears are finally clear of all this fluid is huge!! Mommy can hardly wait. We have to be brave for one big day and then, the fun times can begin! Just wait and see. Remember, Mommy and Daddy are doing this for you because we love you and don't want to see you have any more ear infections. They are no good for you. They cause you pain and make you grumpy because your ears hurt. Mommy and Daddy want to see you healthy and happy without the ear troubles. That day is coming!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Get Ready for Possible Ear Tubes!

Dear Isabella,

My sweet bay girl, I hate that you are ailing with another ear infection. This is the 4th ear infection since Valentine's Day and I know it isn't easy for you. You are handling them with as much grace as a 20-month old beauty can, but I know it isn't easy! I wish I could just take them away, have them myself, or just make them disappear. It breaks my heart to constantly have to give you medicine just to make you feel better and make the infections go away. I know you have grown accustomed to it, almost like it's all a part of your daily routine. But my sweet baby, it shouldn't be that way. Mommy hates to see you in this boat.

We saw Dr. W yesterday and she was quite surprised to see you for another ear infection after seeing you a week ago for a check-up. Your ears were pretty good last week, but you were still on Augmentin. Dr. W giggled a little when you gave her some of your classic "mean girl" looks. She really was sorry that she had to look in your ears again, but it HAD to be done! As she nicely put it, you are on your way to buying yourself a brand new shiny set of ear tubes. Perhaps that's not the accessory you had in mind for your Little Diva fashionista self, but it really is the truth! You are headed that way!

On April 3rd, you have the joy of meeting Dr. H at CHOP's ENT office. Yes, he's the doctor with all the magic of making ears better. Right now, it's a waiting game to get you to that point. Your poor ears just won't give you a break and we just need to get to the 3rd and get you to that appointment. I'm sure Dr. H will want to put tubes in your ears, but we will see when we get to that day. 

In the meantime, did I tell you lately that you are just growing up too quickly? Time seems to be flying and my little baby who I once was able to cradle in my arm is the little girl you see when you model in front of the mirror. Your smile, your giggle, the things you do and say, you are so funny and adorable. But little baby you are not. A little girl, now that is what you are. Everyone told me time would just zip on by and although I knew they were right, I guess I had hoped they were wrong. There are many nights when I miss cradling you in my arms as you peacefully slept. I watch you fall asleep in your crib and I can't believe how big you are. Soon, you won't even be in a crib, you will be in a big girl bed. I may just cry that day. 

Life doesn't prepare mothers for how quickly their babies grow. But if I could keep you small forever, I don't think I would. There is a certain joy I get as I watch you explore new things and develop more of your true personality. You amaze me with how much you express, how much you know, and how much you can do. I love watching you grow taller and more beautiful. Every day, I find you to be more beautiful. I never dreamed of a daughter who could possibly be as beautiful and expressive as you. Your smile melts my heart and makes me smile, even when I am not feeling well. 

Speaking of not feeling well, I have to thank you for being a good little Mommy. A few weeks ago, Mommy and Daddy both came down with the stomach bug and you are such a good little Mommy. You took care of me. You gave me a pacifier and a blanket-buddy, just like I do for you when you are sick. That's not exactly how I would have taken care of myself, but I appreciate you doing what you know works for you. Some day (thirty years from now), you will make a good Mommy. But we have a LOOOOONNNNG time before we think about that. At least I know I can count on you when Mommy isn't feeling well. Your hugs and little ways of taking care of me sure do make me smile.

Well, my sweet girl, it is time to wrap up this letter. I promise to try to be better about writing to you. I haven't written a lot lately, but you certainly keep my very busy. I love you very much and I enjoy spending my evenings with you, playing with you and laughing with you. I'll write more again soon. Hugs!!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

19 Months Old Today

My Dearest Isabella,

Today, you are 19 months old. Yes, you are now older than a year and a half. I don't know where the time has gone. I am amazed by you each and every single day. The things you do, the words you say, the new expressions, the way you walk and play. Amazing. You are grown so much and developed so much. I'm afraid to sleep for fear that I will wake up and you'll be a kindergartener. That is how fast it seems like you are growing up. My precious and sweet little miracle baby, the one who weighed less than six and a half pounds, is now a twenty-some pound little girl who just melts my heart. That would be YOU! Yes, you were once my little peanut and now, you are just the sweetest little girl.

Tonight, I was rocking you for our short, daily snuggle before bed, and I got a little teary-eyed looking at you. I just cannot seem to wrap my mind around how big you are. You sing, talk, dance, and laugh all the time. I am so smitten with you. My nineteen months with you has taught me so much about you, what makes you smile, what makes you laugh. I enjoy watching you, playing with you, and singing with you.

This past weekend, your Great-Mom-Mom would have been 99 years old. She was something special. She wanted so much to have a great grandchild. She dreamed of you, desired you, and wanted nothing more than to spoil you. She would love every moment spent with you. I know you are everything she dreamed of and more. Your Mom-Mom always said that she wanted to be the same kind of Mom-Mom to you that her mom was to Aunt Dee Dee and your mom (me). I think she is doing an excellent job. She is everything a Mom-Mom should be. She sings to you, plays with you, laughs with you, and does everything my Mom-Mom did for me. Your Great Mom-Mom was someone so very special. I wish so often that she was hear to know you, see you, hold you. But you do have two wonderful grandmothers and that alone makes me smile.

My dearest daughter, I delight in your presence. You make me smile and laugh. On days where I just want to curl up in a ball and cry, you are my sunshine that reminds me that if I look through the eyes of a child, there is always something in life to smile and sing about. You have taught me so much about how to look at each day, how to look at myself, and how to have more fun than anyone ever thought possible. You give Daddy and me such laughter. I love every moment we can spend with you.

People ask us if we are going to have any more kids. Daddy and I would love to have more kids, but for right now, for where we are in this moment in time, you are more than enough to fill our hearts and home with the joy of being a complete family. You are the daughter my heart always dreamed of. You are the daughter I went over two years trying to conceive. You are the daughter I almost gave up hope of conceiving. You are the daughter God chose for me. You are my blessing. Happy 19-month birthday (okay, so it isn't really a REAL birthday, but it counts for something! Enjoy life while you can still count it easily in months!)! Life has certainly never been the same since you, Isabella Joy, entered the world. You have forever changed our hearts and we wouldn't have it any other way. We love you so very much!


Monday, January 9, 2012

What is Love?

Dear Isabella,

Every night, as I rock you before bed, we pray together and I tell you that I love you. The thought occurred to me last night as I rocked you that you, in your still young mind, don't understand the full scope of what love is. So, I am going to attempt to paint for you a picture of love based on the experiences that you have had and know. There is no way to ever explain fully what love is, but I will do my best.

Love is battling infertility for over two years without turning back.
Love is carrying you for nine months, waiting for the day I would finally hold you.
Love is caring for your health, even before you were born.
Love is looking into the eyes of your newborn baby, getting teary-eyed, and then having butterflies in you stomach because life could not be better in that moment.
Love is holding your hand as you walk down the sidewalk.
Love is rocking you to sleep at night and cherishing the moments when we can cuddle.
Love is chasing you around the house while you giggle and run further away.
Love is getting up at all hours of the night to change your diaper, hold you, rock you, wipe your tears, and cuddle.
Love is wishing I could spend every moment with you, even when I have to go to work.
Love is that moment when you smile and me and my heart just melts.
Love is teaching you in the ways you should go.
Love is praying with you every night.
Love is praying FOR you every night.
Love is trading the morning news for a daily viewing of Sesame Street.
Love is sharing my bed with a squirmy toddler who wants to be wrapped up in Mommy's arms.
Love is carrying you around just because you want to be held by only Mommy.
Love is disciplining you and then giving you a hug.

Love is all of these things and so much more. Words cannot begin to truly define what love is. Only experiences can help you understand what love is. There are so many other experiences that could help you better understand what this "love" is that Mommy mentions every night and every morning. As you get older, you will better understand and I can add more experiences to help it make more sense for you. For now, I must go but remember, I love you forever.