An Open Letter To My 5 Year Daughter, Tallulah:
It's been 5 years. We manifested you much longer than that though. But I just want to talk about these 5 years that you have been here.
I never thought I would see the formative years of someone firsthand. Not only that, but I never thought I would even experience, at my age, what it was like actually being inside of the womb with you… But since you came so early, at 25 weeks, I was REALLY able to spend that REAL FORMATIVE time with you and visually see you still developing as if I were in the womb... Something many parents take for granted with full term children.
And WOW, what a journey, so far!
Sitting at your bedside in the hospital everyday... Seeing your weight dropp from 1 pound to a mere 435 grams... Counting each one of your veins, since I could see through your transparent skin... Then back to 1 pound, on to 2, 3, 4 pounds & so on... And you kept moving forward.
I watched several other kids around die, as well as their grieving parents saying goodbye to their baby's lifeless bodies. The odds were against you. 1% chance of living. You had heart surgery, two eye surgeries, and hernia surgery.
For $1200 a case, (& not covered under insurance) we even had to have Breast Milk shipped in every 2 weeks for your 4 month stay there. But seeing that 1st drop of milk touch your lips for the 1st time was magical... Even your skin color transformed different shades in that very moment.
Another challenging obstacle we faced was that The American Red Cross would not take our blood in order to save you, when you desperately needed the platelets... The Red Cross said (on Page 2, #76) that our blood is "Gay" (regardless of the fact that we already share the same blood with you, and we are HIV-, and ALL blood in general gets tested.)
Unfortunately, even in this day and time, many religious organizations such as this one, tend to not practice what they preach about ("unconditional love") and instead judge a person not within their dated organization. That's a sad shame considering the thousands of people that die every year because they pick and choose who is allowed to give blood to them, "in the name of Jesus", of course. Which explains a quarter of the lawsuits they have filed against them!
But Tallulah, luckily we were surrounded by a loving group of friends that believes in humanity over some antiquated rule that causes so many deaths because they won't accept (as they put it) "Gay blood." At least they did give us stickers that read: "I Tried", and offered to validate our parking. And they didn't have us arrested for the obnoxious scene we made before we left. But I digress... This is more about you, not them.
You came home on oxygen and an apnea monitor. You spent your first year on 9 different medications every hour on the hour. Weekly check-ups... In home therapy's... Early intervention therapy's... Weekly therapy's... But you kept thriving! Just as you did the moment you left the womb! Just as you do today!
You now run around the house screaming and playing and smiling. You've managed to beat every single odd that was against you. Just like us, you keep breaking every rule possible that pigeon holes you in a box and you prove any detractor wrong! That's EXACTLY what I hoped for when deciding to have a child! A little girl that is more of a man than I have ever been or ever will be, and in just your 1st 5 years!
During all of this, you're brilliant and artistic. You enjoy being cuddled and loved, fed, hugged, played with, yet appreciate being independent and left alone on your terms, and most of all, you DONT CRY, EVER!
Most parents force their children into sports or maybe even piano lessons… And while those options are there if you want them, you just have this unimaginable desire to learn. The fact that you can spell nearly 70 words-many of them 3 syllable words, and can count past a hundred is fascinating.
You don't throw tantrums. You don't act out of line. You can't stand sweets and candy. And even when it comes to negotiation, you're such a well-behaved good girl that you usually get what you want anyway… Which is nothing more than to keep learning new things that you haven't learned already.
And what could I possibly say about your beauty? Yes, of course I'm a bit biased when it comes to how stunning you are to the eye... I'm supposed to be, I'm your Dad! But this would not be an open letter if I didn't mention just how many total strangers stop dead in their tracks, walk over to us in the most random places, just to talk about how gorgeous you are and how they are drawn to you. The same goes for all the people we know too! I used to act coy and just brush it off with a simple "thank you." But as much as it truly does happen nearly everywhere we go, I've learned to be realistic and humbly except the compliments.
So what could I possibly say to my 5 year old, other than, thank you. Because your strength to beat all odds, and your desire to learn has done only one thing for me... Woke me up! So many people say: "you shouldn't have a kid because life ends." And they ALL are absolutely right! It does end! And then the new one starts... And it's a life with a purpose. A life of unconditional love. A life of reflection.
There's so much that a person thinks they know, until they really find out something new. Which makes me wonder, what else do I not know?! And whatever those things are, I'm very sure you will teach me. Your desire to learn is a reminder of my desire to learn too.
So, Tallulah, thank you for the last 5 most challenging, yet incredible captivating years of my life. It's been worth everything we've gone through together. The years before you are not memorable in the least. I look forward to so many more with you. I love you.
Happy birthday to The Misses,