Having a child with special needs, medical needs and ongoing illnesses has caused me to innocently forgot the big-little things, such as holidays and birthdays. I remember when I was pregnant, I loved looking at halloween costumes – imagining our babies first halloween dressed as a cute animal or tiny pumpkin, but McKenzie was recovering from her open heart surgery and needed rest. I imagined Thanksgiving to be a day spent with family, stuffing our faces and letting our baby (if age appropriate) try new foods, try funny foods and cherish the hilarious memories but, McKenzie had an upper respiratory infection and remained on isolation – we made our own Thanksgiving dinner and while it was just as great – McKenzie was still unable to eat by mouth.
Christmas, my favorite holiday finally arrived – we celebrated (mildly) but finally were able to see our family and spent New Year’s Eve with a couple friends. But, on January 1st – McKenzie was sick and I felt responsible. McKenzie was sick for Valentines Day and was just discharged right before Easter. She missed my “imagined celebration” for nearly every “First” Holiday.
So, of course her first Birthday had to be perfect – As we strive to find stability for McKenzie’s health, we approached her first birthday with an overwhelming emotions. I imagined I would throw a huge party, invite everyone – even nurses we’ve stayed in touch with. I imagined our families would come together with close friends and celebrate the first year of our little girl. As with most of my “images” – this didn’t happen.
Instead, the day was spent – home with my wife and daughter – singing, dancing, laughing and taking more photos than either of our phones could handle. It was so much better than my imagined birthday plans – we weren’t exhausted from keeping everyone else happy, or keeping the peace between those who dislike one another. We didn’t have a huge mess to clean up, followed with a small debt from unnecessary purchases. We took the day slow, allowed McKenzie to rest when she needed and we celebrated our journey that led us to this day, we celebrated our precious, god-sent baby girl and if given the option – we would pick this journey, with our daughter a million times over.