Today is a big day!
We are celebrating Hope's very first "half birthday."
Today she is six months old. Halfway to One!!
There's something I need to tell you about this child of ours. She has the sweetest - and I mean the sweetest - personality. She reminds me so much of her brothers. Ed and I agree that she has Gavin's zen demeanor.
But she also has Brian's charm.
She's a quiet observer - taking it all in and not wanting to miss anything that's happening around her.
And yet she attracts attention wherever she is - with one little pout or a big grin - she stops people in their tracks.
Hope has truly been the light for all three of us during a very dark time. This tiny little baby has managed to forge a profound relationship with each of us in such a short time. She has her Daddy wrapped around her finger - and she just lights up when he walks in the room.
Brian showers her with love and kisses and whispered little secrets every single day and she thanks him with the biggest smiles and the best giggles.
(Here's Brian at six months with his heartbeat bear!)
And I don't even know if I have the words to describe the bond I feel with this child. The child I feel that I knew before I knew she was even a possibility. I can't even explain it. I can't even explain.
We have a lot planned for Miss Hope this weekend. We're celebrating as a family and including Gavin, as usual. She is too little to consciously understand that she has a brother who is now in Heaven.
But the three of us still tell her stories about him and he will continue to be a part of this family's narrative forever. She may be too little to consciously "get it" - but we know her soul remembers and understands.
Brian and I had fun tonight pulling up his and Gavin's first "half birthday" photos. Here are a few of Gavin's...
I like to call this one the "floating head." My early photography work left little to be desired, I know. Ha!
And here are some of Brian's six month photos...
Brian's happy, giggly, loving personality has never changed from infancy.
Half Birthdays are a big deal in our family. I could say that it's a way to get two celebrations a year - and that would be true. I could say it was set up in case our "winter babies" wanted a birthday party in the warmer months. We could give them a choice when they get older when they would want their party. That reason would also be accurate.
But the real truth is - "half birthday celebrations" began with Gavin.
When Gavin was born - we were thrown for a loop. Our first child, we expected to be handed something right out of the Gerber baby book. Instead, he wasn't handed to us at all. He was whisked away to the NICU - and his life was a roller coaster from that moment on. I learned quickly that in order to stay positive, stay focused and encourage Gavin... Ed... and even myself... I had to celebrate every little thing. I decided to focus on the happiness... the accomplishments - no matter how small... the every day - knowing from the start that we had no idea what the future would hold. Gavin's first six months were hard. Really hard. Not just for us - but for HIM! When he was about to hit the six month mark I decided he needed a party. That WE needed a party. And that was the inception of our "half birthday" tradition. It's not just a silly thing to us (although it is silly and cute!) - it's a reminder. A reminder to celebrate our loved ones. A reminder that nothing is promised. A reminder to focus on the positive. A reminder to love - big. And an excuse to buy a birthday balloon that is bigger than a refrigerator.
Here is what I wrote in my CaringBridge journal on Gavin's six month birthday. This might help explain how we felt back then...
Happy Half Birthday, Hope.
Because of Gavin, we know to celebrate every single day. And to love... BIG.
We love you BIG, little one!