Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cuteness Abounds

Lots to tell about mine and Sammie B's fabulous girls' trip to St. Louis this past weekend, but since its after 2 am and I just finished doing some work and desperately need sleep, that must wait.

One of my favorite pictures from Sammie B's St. Louis Debut Party:

This is Sammie B (duh, you know her!) with my friend Melanie's sweet baby Presley, who is just 9 weeks old. Sam LOVED holding her, and since Presley is the third child in her family, she didn't seem to mind being poked and squeezed a bit.

Just as I thought it would, this picture made B's biological clock tick. Loudly. Not mine . . . I look at it and think it looks SO very sweet, and while I think Sammie B looks just darling sitting there holding such a sweet mini-person, I also think, "whoah, that mini-person looks like a LOT of work." I wonder if I'll ever totally feel READY for that? Our lives are so so full. The thought of loving another mini as much as I love my sweet Bean is just hard to imagine, and I worry so much that having No. 2 would take away from what I have to give her. Like she deserves the moon, the stars, etc., and I don't even know how I'd manage. Its just unimaginable.

But, really, isn't Sammie B so cute with Presley?

B needs a uterus. That would make things so much simpler in our world.

I have lots and lots and lots of thoughts on "Baby No. 2," but that's for another post. One thing I think B and I both have realized is that we don't have to wait for a magical moment, or some moment where we think there's just "room" in our lives for No. 2. You make room. And, we won't wait (as some have [insensitively] encouraged -- for Sammie B to be walking; not fair to her or us to have that sort of pressure/arbitrary timeline; and hey, non-mobile kids can be siblings too dammit, so frankly, we resent such suggestions); but we'll figure it out as we go I suppose, when we need to.

B REALLY needs a uterus.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sammie B, a few of the many ways you melt me:

After my last post of spilling it, I need to memorialize some of the fantastic moments of the last week or so . . . May I never ever ever let the moments of worry overshadow the moments of magic.

Dear Sammie B,

Last week, your nana watched you while Dada and I went to a movie. You fell asleep on nana, but when I came home and moved you, you barely opened your eyes (I don't think you woke up) and you said, ever so quietly, "mama," and then were back fast asleep. I melted.

Last night, I had tons of work to do, so Dada was going to do bedtime with you solo. You cried. Then you started calling, "maaaaa maaaaa," which you rarely do. See, when I ask you who I am, you always say, "Mama" with a HUGE smile, but you rarely say it to GET my attention. But last night? You said it because you WANTED me. And, even though I knew Dr. Spock would tell me to let you be, and let your dada comfort me, I went to you, because your "maaaaa maaaaas" kept getting louder, and my heart was shattering a tiny bit.

In speech therapy (and in general) you LOVE books. Your therapist will point to things in the book and try to get you to make the sound (like "ball" or "moo" or "boo") and you try so hard. But when she gets to a sound you don't make (like "woof") you've started signing "all done" and closing the book and signing for another one. My little sweets, you make me giggle. (You MAY get this from your mama -- I tend to have a "If I'm not good at this, I'm not doing it attitude," so we'll work together on trying to keep at things, even when they are hard for us!).

You've learned the sign for "sorry," and when you accidentally hurt me (for example, poking my eye when we are laying in bed trying to sleep) and I say "OUCH!," you immediately sign "sorry" and burst into tears. Its truly the sweetest thing ever. My little girl, you are SUCH a little lover.

You LOVE feeding your babies. Or giving them milk. Whether its a pretend bottle, a pretend cookie, or your food, you are always willing to share with your baby dolls. You are a lover.

You've also just started saying "uh uh" for "uh oh" and you love to drop things now and give yourself the opportunity to try out your new word. I've tried explaining to you that "uh oh" is for when you accidentally drop things, not when you throw them on the floor, but we'll keep working on that! The other night, when we went grocery shopping, you kept reaching behind you, grabbing things OUT of the cart, and then dropping them on the ground and saying "uh uh." Again, my girl, you make me giggle.

My sweet Sammie B, our life with you has been a lot of things, but most importantly, its been full of love and giggles. You melt me.

And here's to so so many more moments of love and giggles,


Blah Blah Blah Blech and Then Getting My Groove Back (or trying to)

First the blech, then the positive. If you don't feel like reading spewed negativity, please skip ahead to the end. I'm just not a person that can always spew about how wonderful life is on my blog. Because my life is wonderful, but sometimes, even a seemingly "wonderful" life is hard.

The last few weeks have weighed on my heart heavily. As I think I mentioned before, the way the Regional Center does things is that Sam's services (her IFSP) are re-reviewed every six months, after ANOTHER evaluation, which also happen every six months. And, at least once a year (;o)) that evaluation/re-review of services falls at her birthday. I hate that. Like come on people, LET ME CELEBRATE MY CHILD'S F'IN BIRTHDAY. DON'T STAIN THIS WITH YOUR STUPID EVALUATIONS. Blech. Plus, many of our "check-ins" with Sam's doctors ALSO fall around her birthday. So it stinks. I don't want her birthday to be weighted with worry. It shouldn't be. It's NOT FAIR.

So, I decided to deal with this by (1) celebrating her birthday BIG by a family trip to San Diego and Sea World (which was MAGICAL and wonderful and fabulous and all that we needed and more) and (2) NOT even letting myself THINK about any of the other icky stuff - the evaluations, the service review, the check-ups until AFTER HER DAY had passed. But what that meant was -- fablulous birthday weekend then boom. . . the next three weeks or so were spent:

- Checking in with doctors
- Another developmental assessment
- Touring multiple center-based programs multiple times because we knew we wanted her in one
- Asking at her service review for approval for a center-based program
- Waiting on approval
- Not getting approval
- Advocating for approval (fighting, gathering letters from doctors, therapists, etc.)
- Finally finally getting said approval and celebrating

So, a whole lot of shit to deal with on top of trying to just be mom & wife, trying to enjoy my magical little bug and our magical little family, and trying not to suck ass at work. I just felt like I was failing at all of these.

I think I just sort of fell into a really angry place. Like I'd read blogs from some of my (usually) favorite mommy-lawyer bloggers who discussed how much they loved being a working mom, and how the "balance" was working for them, how work fulfilled them, etc., and I wanted to throw something through the computer screen at them and tell them to just try "balance" and "fulfillment" with 7 or 8 therapy appointments a week, constant advocacy at work AND on the family front, etc.

I JUST WANTED SOMETHING TO BE EASIER. So, I was angry. And sad. Sad that its not easier. Sad that I feel this constant pressure to "work" with my daughter. My sweet two-year-old bean. Sad that things aren't coming easier to her (even though as I routinely say, she doesn't know she's struggling . . . she's a happy little girl). And, well, I just NEEDED good news. The news of finally getting approval for the center-based program really was JUST the news I needed, so thank goodness for that.

Amidst our check-ins with our other doctors (her pediatrician + the neuro-ophthamologist), we also had an appointment with a new specialist -- a physiatrist. The main reason I wanted to see one is because our PT (who IS good at what she does but so so opinionated) is completely and totally opposed to using any kind of medical walker or gait trainer for Sam. She said, "I only use them when I think a kid has no potential to walk independently." BUT, the PTs at the center-based program Sam will be going to feel differently (they don't take the hard line approaches to many things our PT does, which has always been something we've disliked about her -- nothing in life is that black & white) . . . they think once a kid is two and NOT walking, they start to lose out on opportunities for cognitive development if they aren't given the opportunity to walk using some assistive device, to be at the same eye level as their peers, etc.

So, to the physiatrist we went because I wanted his opinion on gait trainers/walkers. I asked him if he thought Sam would ever walk. He said he didn't have a crystal ball, but that all signs pointed to "probably yes." Well, of course, in my glass-half-empty/prepare-for-the-worst state, I focused on the "probably" and heard "maybe, maybe not," ignoring the "yes" part. He said amongst physiatrists, the general rule of thumb is that if a kid can sit independently by age 3 (which Sam is doing, since age 1) that they have the potential to walk. He also was impressed by how little assistance Sam now needs to go from lying to sitting, something we've really been working hard at. He said that because Sam's trunkal tone is (in his opinion) still her greatest impediment to independent walking, he really thinks she's going to need a walker/gait trainer to get her started. He said that doesn't mean she'll need it forever or 100% of the time, but that he thinks we should check in in a couple months, and then think about getting one for her. Well, per my usual, that sort of sent me reeling for a few days . . . into that familiar place of worry, fear, panic, sadness, etc.. Wishing I could change things. Wishing I could switch bodies with her. Because really, I'd cut off my leg in a heartbeat to make mobility easier for her.

But as it sunk in and as I researched and researched as I do, I came (again, my usual) to a place of peace. I mean really . . . if she needs a little something extra . . . so what!! He still believes she WILL walk . . . and if there's any little girl that can ROCK a walker, its our little one. So, anyway, her center-based program will have some for us to try out and for her to use during her time there, we'll check back in with the physiatrist in a few months (after the JH appointment) and maybe you'll soon see our sweet Bean rocking a purple (OF COURSE) walker. After letting it all sink in, and getting past the initial sting of her "needing something to help her walk," just thinking about her walking around, purple walker in tow, made me smile. So, here I am . . . coming BACK to my place of peace and acceptance. Funny thing is that B didn't really know what I was talking about with all my talk about walkers vs. gait trainers (he spends way less time on google than I do), so I sent him some pictures, and he came home and said the EXACT thing I'd realized during the day -- "I can just see her with a walker, and she'll be so cute." So, if necessary, our rock star WILL ROCK a walker. And as one of my saint of a friends reminded me, I will NOT let the assistive devices scare me -- they are no more permanent than a high chair or a jumper in the door way. They are just "for now." And if they help our sweet girl along the way - along HER way, then THAT is all that matters.

In the midst of all of this, as I usually do when I find myself pre-occupied with the worry and wonder and panic side of things, I sort of fall into this groove where I roll out of bed in the mornings, don't bother putting on nice clothes but just throw on the first "business casual" thing I see and roll into work with wet hair and do just enough to squeek by all day, in between moments of google panic. It's not healthy. That sort of funk permeates my day and its a vicious cycle of drowned-rat looking hair AND a poor attitude. I know that. But it happens.

But after getting word of the approval for the center-based program and AFTER doing my own research on walkers/gait trainers and sort of coming BACK to my place of peace, I'm finally finally feeling like maybe I CAN get back to my groove in LIFE. You know, like blow-dry my hair, bill some hours, and feel GOOD about myself as a lawyer, mom, wife, friend, person, etc. So, I'm losing the 5-year-old-esque "It's NOT FAIR" and trying to get back to the business of living.

I honestly think that as a working mother, particularly a working mother with a SN child, I'm always going to feel like when I'm kicking butt in one area, the other is suffering. And somehow, I just have to learn to hang in that limbo without beating myself up about it. I'll keep trying.

And, even though sometimes I feel like I just DO NOT have it in me to do any more advocacy, to read another evaluation or to see another doctor, I will. I'll always have it in me. Because I'm determined to be the mama to Sammie B that she needs me to be. And I love being her mama. So, there. Done. Done with all the anger/negativity/panic etc. (though its normal that it creeps in from time to time) and on to working on "getting my groove" back. To getting back to that place I was as a lawyer just after trial this summer, and to taking in every magical second I do get with my sweet Bean. My magical little Bean that melts me on a daily basis.

My heart rises and falls with this little girl. And, that's okay. She's so so worth it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

By Request :o)

By request, pictures from Sam's first hippotherapy session:

She surprised me -- horses are BIG and kind of intimidating, so I expected some tears and shyness, but there were none. She was just SUPER serious. No smiles. Just serious. But at the end, she signed "more more more," so we are very excited to go back! She'll be having hippotherapy two times per month -- this isn't covered by the regional center, but is something we have to pay for out-of-pocket and yes, it is another thing to fit into her insane little life, BUT (1) this doesn't seem like work, just fun and (2) hippotherapy seems to be EVERY PT, orthopedist, physiatrist (etc.)'s no. 1 recommendation for building trunk strength. So, there ya go ... hippotherapy!

(PS: We were a little surprised they didn't supply helmets -- even if someone was holding her pants the whole time, but her purple (of course) helmet has now been ordered by yours truly!).

Monday, October 18, 2010

Magical Monday: A Day in the Life

Step 1:

Wake up, put on a super cute outfit. Flash a winning smile to the camera. check.

Step 2:

Off to PT. Practice some standing, maybe a little walking. The usual. Hard work.

Step 3:

Now on to OT. Practice lots of stuff there too. More hard work.

Step 4:

Catch a quick nap in the car on the way home from OT; eat a quick dinner, then ST!!! This one doesn't feel like "work" though . . . its just fun!

This little girl works harder than any two-year-old ever should . . . and makes us oh so proud. All the time.

Sam and I are off to StL this weekend to see my mom AND for Sam's big StL debut - she hasn't met any of my high school, college, or other hometown friends, and I can't wait to share her with them. We leave Friday, so I had to move some of her therapies around this week . . . resulting in the kind of day she had today - PT, OT, and ST! Kind of intense for a two-year old, right?! Yet she did fabulously all day :o)

Her schedule is a bit insane! We've got more updates coming, but those must wait for a night I don't have work awaiting me. But, the great news . . . the RC approved Sam for a center-based therapeutic pre-school program (an EI program for those that know the lingo!). They have a super-low ratio of children to adults (2:1) and PTs and OTs on staff and teachers with masters degrees in child development. We are SUPER excited. We (me + B + our nanny) toured three different places, and agonized (okay nanny + I agonized, B was less tortured by the desicion, b/c that's just who we are). We really feel like this is just going to be a GREAT fit for our girl. The most important thing for us was finding a place where we felt like they would work on her weak areas (like her motor skills) but also address the development of her stronger areas (cognition, social, etc.). I feel like we spend so much time in therapy, working on the areas where she's struggling, that sometimes, she doesn't get to JUST be a kiddo. We also worry that because of her speech/motor delays, she's underestimated in other areas . . . or that she's treated like she's younger than she is, which stinks. So, we wanted a program that would truly truly address her as a "whole" child, not just one with delays. We think we found JUST that program, and we are super excited. So, here's to hoping that it is indeed a perfect fit!

She will be going three mornings a week, and whoever takes her (depending on the day, it will be either me, B or our nanny) sticks around for circle time - the first 45 minutes of the day. . . then leaves for two and a half hours before coming back to have lunch with her there. So exciting! I fought (um, advocated) HARD to get her in this program because we KNOW she will benefit from it. This will help her be better prepared for the inevitable transition to school-system based services next year, and we HOPE she's just going to flourish in this environment. It is, of course, going to add to her already insane schedule, but we'll make it work. Somehow, someway, we'll still manage to fit in her other SEVEN appointments each week (2 ST, 2OT, 2 PT, and alternating weeks swimming/hippo (horses) therapy). . . . Seriously, we may need some magic to make this schedule work!

Monday, October 11, 2010


A few weeks ago, Sammie B and I had a playdate. With a mama who I met in one of those meant-to-be kind of ways. And even though it was our first in-person meeting, we talked non-stop for hours, stopping to talk to (and sign with) our ADORABLE children without ever skipping a beat. It felt so good to be with someone who just gets it. Someone who doesn't bat an eye at the signing, the facilitated standing, etc. Who had fantastic advice on things like hand-over-hand OT skills, etc. Someone who truly truly understands what I mean when I say some fears just take my breath away. She gets it. No doubt.

So so refreshing. I called my mom on the way home and said, "oh mom, we just met some 'good for our soul' kind of friends." And I meant it. We hope we are friends for a long-long time, and Sammie B and I are eager to follow H and her sweet L's journey in life. If things work out as planned (ahem, if the RC stops being so darn difficult and approves funding for it) Sammie B and L may be classmates at the center-based program we've picked!

Our playdate was a good day. One of the best kind of days.

In other friendsy type news, Sammie B's theratog has now made its way across the country to this amazing little man in Michigan. We are so hopeful that it helps him master the art of independent sitting, giving him a new perspective on the world. I look at my sweet Sammie B and I wish she didn't have to work so stinking hard, but if there are things that make things less work, we try them. The theratog was one of those things, and we hope little William finds it just as helpful. He's a hard-working little man as well.

And finally, B and I are planning to fly into Baltimore with Sammie B a day before our JH appointment so B can ride the train into DC to see a friend. I know I'll be a basket case that day worrying about the appointment the next day, so I'm going to need a distraction. And now, this little guy is going to help with that! His mama and I have connected via our message board, and I can't wait to meet them. I'm not sure though that Baltimore is big enough to handle so much four-eyed cuteness. ;o)

This world -- the SN world -- is not one we ever envisioned ourselves a part of. But here we are. Amidst so many many wonderful amazing fabulous souls. Friends we are oh so grateful for.

Friday, October 8, 2010

And then there's this . . .

Just when I think I'm going to drown in the wonder and worry and stress, I get a picture like this. My little rockstar. Standing. Alone. With only the help of the wall for balance. Dear sweetie, keep rocking life. Your daddy's right . . . none of the other sh*% matters . . . your possibilities are endless.

This life is a roller coaster, but I'm hangin' on.


It's sort of been 'a week' and if I don't memorialize at least part of it here, I might explode with whatever this emotion is I'm walking around with.

- Wishing life wasn't so darn complicated. Wishing "services," and "IFSPs" and "regional center funding" wasn't so much a part of my every day.

- Wishing my heart didn't rise and fall with evaluations, funding decisions etc. Hating myself for the fact that I let the worry ruin moments of my life instead of just enjoying every second of my life with my sweet girl and the sweet daddo too.

And just to remind myself of some awesome words of wisdom I need to be reminded of often (stolen/adapted from this blog): Evaluations only tell us what Sammie B is doing RIGHT NOW. (Hell, not even "right now" but rather during that one day, that three-hour testing window); the evaluations say NOTHING about what she will do. And NOTHING about her extraordinary personality. Her magic. On those points, the damn evaluations are curiously silent.

- Wishing EVERY life decision didn't have to take into account the things listed above that are part of our lives. It really makes life oh so complicated.

- Wishing that I had a mama-gut that could be trusted, instead of the 100% certifiably insane one I have (the one that for weeks has been telling me things will be "ok," whatever that means, or whatever life brings our way, but the one that is now getting anxious and nervous about upcoming doctor's appointments . . . like the JH appt in December; and terrified that we'll end up with a "label" none of us want).

- Hoping that if Sammie B ever reads this (or any other "worry" filled blog post) that she'll know that NONE of this is about ANY desire AT ALL to "change her." I adore her. Her giggles, her smiles, her hugs, her fabulous sense of humor; BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL HER. I don't want to change her, not even for a second. I don't want her to be anything or anyone OTHER than exactly who she's meant to be. But (probably like every mother) I just wish wish wish that I could make things easier for her. That in the snap of a finger, I could make it so that her eyes and her body worked a little more smoothly and she could jump up and start exploring her world. So that's really what this is about. Wishing I could make things easier. Like the gut-renching sobbing, my heart feels like its broken into a million tiny pieces kind of wishing.

-Wishing this week hadn't "beat me up" on EVERY single front. Or at least it feels that way. Wishing I'd had more time to retreat from worry and just snuggle with my bean and my hubs. Wishing work hadn't been 100% chaos, because then, maybe I could have.

- Wishing I was home right NOW, snuggling my sweet, perfect, wonderful Bean. Even if sometimes, "snuggling" ends up looking kind of like this:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The last of the birthday letters (for this year!)

I asked B and the grandparents to all write letters to Sam for her birthday this year. . . my idea is that someday, I'll have all the letters to Sammie B from this blog made into a little book for her! Here's the last of the letters for this year! Now, I'll get back to my normal blogging:o)

Hi Sammie!

We are writing to you on your second birthday to let you know how very much we love you! You are a very special and very precious young girl. Sometimes we see you when we're in California at your home, sometimes we talk with you and see each other on the computer by way of the internet (thanks to Skype!), and sometimes we see you in pictures that your Mom, your Dad or your Nanny send to us. But even if we don't see you every day, you are always in our hearts. As each day, week, month and year have passed you have grown in so many ways. You have faced many obstacles that have been put in front of you – and you are becoming stronger all the time. But you are not only becoming stronger, you are also becoming sweeter and smarter with each passing day. We are so taken by who you are and who we see that you are becoming. You are such a wonderful, bright, life loving young girl. We are looking forward to seeing you more and to watching you grow in so many ways.

So much has happened to you over the past two years...there have been so many challenges and you have done so much to get where you are – from your corrective eye surgery, to the physical and occupational therapy for your low-tone muscle issues, to the restrictions on your diet to accommodate your allergies. You deal with these issues and, in the end, wind up with a precious smile on your face. A smile which warms our hearts more than you can possibly imagine. There are so many people that have come to know you and have been taken in by your sweetness and the beauty of your personality and the intelligence that we all see showing itself and growing – more and more with each passing day. We know that this will continue through your life.

We live far away from you and we see you as often as we can - but that is not often enough. We wish that we can see you more. The older that you get, the more that we see you enjoying your books, brimming with excitement at the zoo, creating art at your desk, or playing with your toy kitchen - and the more that we miss you and the more that we want to see you and to be a larger part of your life.

Samantha Abigail – please continue growing into the very wonderful and special person that we see you becoming; please continue loving and learning from your Mom and Dad; please continue enjoying your life - meeting and moving beyond the challenges that are in front of you. You are a special person with so much to give to others and there is so much for you to see and experience. Know that you are deeply loved by us and by so many people around you who will always be there for you.

We love you,
Nana and Papa

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Another Special Letter!!

Dear little Sammie B,

There are really no words that can express how much you mean to us! From the moment that we found out that you were on your way to us, we have been totally, head over heels in love with you.

I will never forget the phone call that your mama made to tell me she was expecting you. While walking around shopping at a teacher’s conference, I had longingly looked at baby toys wishing I had a reason to buy for a baby. Just a few hours later, your mama called and told me the wonderful news about YOU! Honey, I started shopping for you the very next day (and have never stopped!)!

Your PawPaw was just as excited as I was and even more thrilled to learn that you were going to be named after him. It wasn’t long before he was on a plane to your house to help your dad paint your room that lovely shade of lavender that has since become your signature color ;o). After you were born and it was offically a "Sam," he called everyone he knew to tell him that his precious little namesake had arrived. And he's never passed up a chance to tell a stranger either!

While we were waiting for you to arrive there were other phone calls. When your mama got put on bed rest and was so so scared, I rushed to California to give her (and dada) the TLC THEY needed! I made them my famous chicken and dumplings and my special PBJs (don't worry I'll teach you the trick to those someday!).

Finally, we got the phone call that you were on your way. I so wanted to be there to welcome you to the world in person but didn’t quite make it in time. However, I was there before you were even one day old. When your dada walked me down to
the nursery to meet you I thought my heart would burst! To me you were (always will be) the most beautiful baby in the world. It was scary for mama and dada (and all of us) to have you arrive early, but I knew, just looking at you, that you would be fine. With all of my heart, I just knew.

PawPaw and I have made several trips out to see you over the past two years. We even got to be there to celebrate your HUGE first birthday part, that your parents MAY have gone a little overboard with (live music, 50+ people!). But really, each trip is more special than the last because we keep falling more in love with you each time. You have amazed and inspired us in so many ways. You are a hard little worker and you can be quite the little entertainer as well. Each visit brings new tricks. Your little stinky face is so adorable, when you shake that little butt I laugh out loud, and oh my goodness, when you reach out for me to hold you, I am ready to leave everything behind and move to CA!

We wish there were words to convey how truly special you are to so many people. Your mama and dada have taken on the role of parents with just as much drive and enthusiasm as they do in every thing they undertake. In your dada’s letter he said that he wants you to remember that life is a journey and that it is! We want you to remember that is more than ok to travel at your own speed and make stops along the way to enjoy the small things. You have quite a group of supporters, in your parents, in us, in your Nana and Papa, and we will all do everything we can to make your unique journey the best it can possibly be.

When I think about you part of a song often comes to my mind, “On the day that you were born the angels got together and decided to create a dream come true,“ that angel my darling is you!!!

Happy Second Birthday!!!
Hugs and Kisses,
Gigi and PawPaw

Friday, October 1, 2010

From a VERY Special Guest Blogger (DADA!)

"Prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child"


This is my first time writing a letter like this to you (unlike your mother who has now written a few letters) so please allow me to start at the beginning. The past two years (officially now two years and 7 days) has been intense. I have felt the highest of highs and felt more pain and bouts of worry than I have ever experienced previously. But through it all, there has been one constant, and that is my absolute and undying love for you, my daughter. No one knows what the future holds, anyone that claims to know is nothing but a charlatan and you would be wise to turn and walk the other way. (One day you should ask your mother and I about the fortune telling cat on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica). That being said, there is one certainty in your life; your future will be bright and limitless.

You see, in these past two years you have taught me to rethink my measure of success. You have taught me to rethink what's important in life. You have taught me to rethink my understanding of my own personal limitations. You have taught me to rethink what I thought I knew about how the world works. Through your eyes (and through your delicious purple specs) I have seen that the journey is what matters. And in the end, it only matters where you end up on that journey, not where you started. All we can do, and indeed all we have been doing to this point, is to help you find your way on your own journey.

I titled this letter, "Prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child," because as the author of that quote wisely understood, in life, we can not plan for or control everything for our children. In fact, when it comes right down to it, we can not plan for or control most everything in our our own lives. Yet what we can do as parents is help our children be the best they can be so that they are prepared for whatever lies ahead in their own journey. And believe me little girl, life has already thrown quite a lot at you, leaving no doubt in my mind that you will be prepared for any bumps, twists or turns in your path.

Your mother and I may never be able to get you to understand how much you have meant to us and how much we have learned from you. To be honest, we may never fully understand ourselves what we have learned from you let alone be able to adequately express those things to you in spoken or written words. Which is why this letter or any future letter can only ever scratch the surface of how much you have changed the world around you for the better. You see, part of the fun of being magical, and you are most definitely 100% pure magic, is that with your magic you get to change the world and the people around you. Believe me when I tell you that all the people you meet on your path will undoubtedly be affected by your magic. Just ask those that have already been touched by you. And although you may never be able to change water into wine (has anyone ever been able to do that?) you have already put your spell on me. I am spellbound by all of the big and little things you do. From the inch-stones today to the milestones of tomorrow, I am along for this magical ride.

The best I can describe it is that in your own way, you have helped prepare me for my path and allowed me to stop trying so hard to prepare the path. You have accomplished this in only two short years. Imagine what you can accomplish in a lifetime. I can, can you?

I love you lots and all over the place.