It’s Skye’s first birthday!
365 days have passed since she made her official debut. In all of those days she has brought me joy, laughter, comfort, and love. She is truly a gift to us and despite the frustrations that babyhood can bring, every day I try to enjoy her and not worry about the future.
Not worrying is my life’s work.
It’s especially so when she feels unwell, which she has many times in her first year. This week has been difficult, and I wish I could report that she feels 100% well on her birthday, but the unfortunate truth is that she has been very sick this week, with a terrible cold and raging fever that kept me up all night with her, two nights running. Finally, yesterday evening, I noticed an infected ear, and quickly packed her off to the walk-in for some antibiotics, where I discovered that both ears are infected.
So. Quite normal stuff for babies. Colds, ear infections, viral infections. For me, though, and all brain tumour parents, the question whatifwhatifwhatif is always lurking, ready to pounce. A pleasant afternoon is shattered by a strange tilt of the head or a distant stare or a sudden stumble. When symptoms drag on, and on, for days, it’s a huge task to will positive belief to the surface. To not start thinking about the hospital, and the whatifs, and all the painful things that still haunt me about Gavin’s experiences as a baby.
This hasn’t been the first birthday I imagined for my sweet Skye, so we will postpone cake and balloons until Halloween, which is also my 40th birthday. And have one, big, festive, costumed extravaganza, knowing that we specialize in 11th-hour turnarounds, and last-minute triumphs.
My birthday gift to her – and to myself – is to focus a laser-like sense of gratitude on how much light she has brought to our world. Her beaming, toothy grin makes friends wherever we go, and her noisy exuberance has prompted many comments of “nice pipes.” When she wants something she tells us, using signs, words or screams if the other two don’t work. She loves music and points at the stereo, dancing, to show us she wants it turned on. She is curious and funny and playful – just the way a 1-year-old should be. She adores her brother and grins when he comes over to squeeze her chubby legs.
At 1 there is no knowing what the long years of a person’s life will bring. Who will she be? Will she do well in school, excel at sports, be artistically talented? Will she be shy or make friends easily? Will she get married and have children of her own? Will she have a distinguished career in politics or become an internationally-known pop star?
Her future remains a mystery, with all that is yet to come. Now, though, I’ll make these birthday wishes for her: I wish for her to always know how loved she is. I wish for her to find friends to support her at all times. I wish that whatever she chooses to be, she finds peace and happiness.
And I wish for her health. I always, always wish for her good health, from every cell in my body to every cell in her body. I wish for that good INI1 gene to just do its thing, and for that changed one to just sit quiet.
Sweet 1! An age of wonder.