To our daughter,
Over the course of this extraordinary year, your daddy and I have fallen head over heals for you and every ounce of what makes you, you. We absolutely melt for your smile and Daddy’s favorite part of the day is coming home and making you laugh. To us and to your many faithful family and friends, there has never been a more loving and sweet- natured soul. Just the other week, your Grandpa Van told me, “ Nora just makes you feel so loved”. Miss Elizabeth, your physical therapist, told me “ When Nora looks at you, you feel like she is looking right into your soul. Like she knows you.” Your daddy and I love to watch you with people, we love watching you connect with others, reaching for their faces, turning your head to their voices, and responding to them with smiles. We just “face-timed” with Auntie Callee, she made blurry static faces at you and you gave her big smiles back. Daddy says, “yeah with Nora, you feel like she really sees you, you feel known”(even when you are miles away and the reception isn’t that great.)
Your mommy learned something this year, she had heard it said before that hardship does not create character, it reveals it. She found truth in this because the challenges we faced as a family revealed ugly parts of her own heart, but also incredibly beautiful parts she didn’t even know were there. Mommy saw your daddy shine, he loves us both so much, and he never gets tired of saying it. Sweetie you have been through so much this year, more than a child should have to go through. But in you mommy saw strength and determination emerge. We watch you every week in physical therapy give it your all. You work hard, and you have from the first week, after your 1st session with miss Elizabeth. You were only 4 months old and you did every exercise. she was so surprised! She told mommy she rarely does therapy the first day with babies, because most babies cry, you actually seemed to enjoy it. Mommy sees you not only muster physical strength but also emotional strength, When you don’t feel good, and you can barely lift your head, you still give mommy smiles to let her know you are okay.
We have to tell you how proud we are of you. Mommy and Daddy have had to make many unexpected and difficult decisions to get you the best care we possibly could this year. You have been an absolute trooper throughout all our long waits in in doctor offices and you have been so tolerant of the many blood draws, eye exams, EEGs, shots, NG tubes, and twice daily medications. When you were getting your blood drawn in December you didn’t seem to notice the needle in your arm, you were too busy smiling with your nurse, she called you “brave one”. You always seem content as long as the people you love are nearby and there are new people to meet. You even inspired mommy to get her eye exam this year, she hates to have her eyes dilated, but Daddy told her, if our 9 month old can do it, so can you.
You have absolutely inspired mommy, but you have also inspired many others. We have to tell you Nora, your arrival into this world has been a very impactful one. When you were in the PICU Mommy and Daddy asked for prayers from everyone they knew or even remotely knew, those people told more people and before you knew it we had people all over the world talking to God about our family. One mommy told me that her little girl keeps a picture from mommy’s blog carefully folded under her pillow and prays for you every night, this mommy said, “ I believe Nora has changed my daughters prayer life forever”. Another Mommy sent a picture of her daughter’s nightstand, there is a framed picture of you by her clock, she too prays for you Nora. Mommy and Daddy’s friends ask about you all the time, they love to see pictures and videos of you and to read mommy’s blog for updates on how you are doing. Nora, the people all over the world have opened their hearts to you and you have made their hearts bigger.
Today Nora, on the day of your first birthday and baptism we want to stop and Thank God for giving us you. You are a blessing dear one. Today we make a renewed promise to continue to point you to him and his immeasurable love for you. What a privilege and joy it is to be your parents and what a blessing it is to find our hope in the Lord together.
We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.
–Psalm 33:20-22 (NIV)
We love you Nora, Happy birthday brave one.
Mommy and Daddy