Baby girl, you’ll be turning 4 soon. We are counting down the days together; you with excitement and anticipation and me with emotion and nostalgia. You want to speed the days up and I want to slow them down. Sometimes I sneak into your bed just so I can be close to your 3 year oldness. I breathe it in and never want to let it out. I kiss your impossibly soft cheeks and you ask me to scratch your back “just for a little bit.” I know these days are numbered. I want to put them in a vault and keep them forever.
This year wasn’t the easiest for our family. We had the stress of selling and buying a house, moving, losing a lease on a business, adjusting to a new school and a new baby. Was it because we were busy with all of those things we couldn’t fully understand your change in behavior? Or was it because of all those things we just excused it? Either way, I am sorry.
When I asked about the size of your tonsils the first time the doctor told me they were normal so I trusted him and let it go. But you weren’t yourself and I knew it. You sounded different, you weren’t sleeping well, you were cranky and lost the zest we loved. I started reading books about how to deal with challenging toddlers but deep inside I knew something didn’t seem right. When we moved and switched Doctors I asked again and he sent us to a specialist that day. What we learned is that not only were your tonsils so large it was making it difficult to swallow, the size of your adenoids weren’t allowing you to breathe properly. I will not forgive myself for letting 6 months go by without trusting my gut; but you are my first born my love and Mommy is still learning.
Seeing you in the hospital was hard for us. You were so little – and that hospital gown was so big. If I could have switched places with you I would have. Your Daddy and I were sick to our stomachs in the waiting room, our baby was in the operating room – our hearts. But then you came to and gave us a smile. And when you asked for something to eat with a voice as high as a bell I looked at him with tears in my eyes and just knew it – we got our girl back.
I was proud of your recovery that day and I’ll never forget the quality time we shared in the hospital. Daddy made you laugh by blowing up a glove and tried to play Mr. Fix-It to the broken shade:
You were brave and strong and I hope you will never forget those qualities are within you when you experience new 4 year-old challenges, delights, questions and surprises. I promise to always be your advocate. Just promise me you’ll always remember how fiercely loved you truly are…
Happy 4th Birthday, Miss Paigely Baker Quinn