Happy 7th Birthday to Eden!

Posted by theresa | Feb 23, 2012

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I shared earlier today that it's Eden's birthday. She turned 7 today. And I posted a few baby pictures of her.

What you can't see in the pictures are the thoughts in my head as I watched her get those pictures taken. The picture of her in the basket was taken at the Picture People, just days after we were told that Eden had a brain tumor. I made it a priority to get her picture taken before surgery and chemo ravaged her tiny body. I scheduled the appointment just like a million moms do every day, but I didn't mention the morbid thoughts swirling through my mind. A few days after the basket picture was taken our doctor called, shedding the light of doubt on the original diagnosis. Maybe it wasn't a tumor after all, but instead a less life-threatening vascular malformation (a mass of blood vessels all mumbled and jumbled together in a way they shouldn't be).

My amateur photographer friend, Michelle, offered to take the black and white picture (click for more). She took many. I don't remember what we talked about at the time, probably what poses I thought would be cute. But I know what I was thinking. Would my precious baby girl even live to see her first birthday? I wanted to have as many pictures of her as I could. I wasn't sure there would be a lifetime of photos.

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Today that tiny little baby turned 7. There is nothing tiny about her now! She's a big, strong girl full of passion, will and determination. Her beautiful smooth skin has never been scarred by a scalpel and she has never required medication stronger than amoxicillin. She's got her challenges to overcome. That aforementioned vascular malformation interferes with the nerves that run through her brainstem causing some physical difficulties. But her mind is as sharp as a tack and she has a quick wit. She is full of compassion and sensitivity. She's the epitome of a "people person."

I still don't know if there will be a lifetime full of photos. For her or for me or for any of my children. We are never guaranteed such a luxury. We lull ourselves into thinking that we all deserve a long life and we hope for it. But we have no idea. We are learning to live in gratitude for each new day. We work towards goals and make plans for the future. That's what you do in life.

So I look at these baby pictures with mixed feelings. I wish I could say I am overwhelmed with mushy gushy baby sentiment. But the truth is, those days were some of the darkest of my life. "Surreal" is really the only way to describe it. When I look at those pictures I really feel more like, "Thank God those days are over!" Thank God we have 7 years of hindsight. And the future does not look as bleak as it did in those early days. And although parenting Eden is not without its challenges, thank God she is here for me to parent!

I hope in some way this little note is encouraging. It seems like kind of a downer to me! But it just goes to show that even a picture can't speak a thousand words. I can't look at these pictures without the conflicting emotions of despair and unfathomable joy. But thankfully, joy is winning.

Theresa's Facebook Wall. 2/22/2012. To God be the glory!

1 Comments & 0 Trackbacks of "Happy 7th Birthday to Eden!"

    This is a beautiful expression of real life. Thank you, Theresa.

    Posted by joyful, Mar 3 2012, 19:35
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