I'm a week late with this letter! Your official Homecoming Day was April 20th. But, as you've gathered, from living in this household over a year, sometimes things don't go as planned. And when I say sometimes, I mean most times. Can you believe you came home two weeks after Gabe and three weeks after Christian? I know you missed them when they left the hospital.
Our first time being next to each other. My first time holding you. You were three weeks old. (About 31 weeks gestation.) I was overcome with emotion. Bless your sweet nurse who was comfortable with getting us set up and situated despite you still being on the vent.It was a deep ocean of pain and trials leaving you behind twice when one of your brothers came home. We were happy to have them in our own four walls, but our family was not complete without our little Sunshine home and happy. Maybe you wanted to stay a few extra weeks to have the wonderful nursing staff all to yourself. You developed quite a fan base toward the end of your stay. In the final days before you came home, I would come to see you and often you would be in a nurse's lap or an OT would be walking the halls with you. A lot of the staff had grown quite a liking to your bright light and spunky personality.
You were having lunch in this picture! Can you tell? This is the week you decided eating with your mouth was not happening anymore. You had tube feedings until a week after you came home.
I have learned gads of lessons from being a mom so far. But you have taught me one of the most important ones. I really, really wanted you to come home. The biggest thing holding you up was your inability to eat. It wasn't that you weren't physically able to, it's just that you wouldn't. You did at one time have a few milliliters every day or so while your brothers were also learning how to suck, swallow, breath, suck, swallow, breath. Then one day, you just stopped. Who knows why. You either got spooked, or decided you were being pushed too far too fast or just wasn't ready to be a full term baby yet. Whatever your reason(s), you were not shy about letting us know you were not ready.
Everyone under the same roof! This picture was taken a few days after you had been home. We were giving you a wee break from your feeding tube. We had to put a new one in and thought you looked quite happy without it next to your brothers. Five days later, it was gone for good! (Because you said so.)
So, here is what mommy learned, you are an individual. As far as I know, you have been an individual since before you were born. You came to us with a separate and distinct personality unique from your brothers, unique from mom and dad. You are unique and special to the core. Even though I wanted you to "just eat and come home already," you weren't ready. So even if I wished it really, really hard, you were going to do things on your own schedule. You showed me this more than once during your NICU stay, so by the time you did get home, I was ready. I was not going to put you or your brothers in a one size fits all triplet box. This important lesson of seeing you and your brothers as unique, separate beings has been the catalyst for other immensely important lessons to a mother.
I've learned patience. I've learned sub-species of patience that I didn't even know existed. I've learned to think with my creative brain to solve problems from time to time. (Or hour to hour.) I've learned the importance of moments. Small, individual moments throughout a day add up. Even if finding out which precise spot gets a tickle laugh during a diaper change is all you can manage for one morning, it's important.
You're an old soul my dear daughter. I've looked through those bright blue eyes and have seen your wisdom. Thank you for choosing me to be your mommy. Thank you for teaching me with such clarity. Everyday has been a new adventure for me. I can't wait to see what another year together has in store for us!
I have treasured your expression when your daddy walks through the door. This has happened since day one. Even as a tiny, newly discharged preemie, I noticed how your countenance changed when you saw your dad. These kinds of moments still happen. I have a feeling they will continue for a long, long time.
I have loved watching your eyes take in something new and see the gears in that pretty little head of yours turn as you process your surroundings. I love the sweet little gap in your two front teeth. I love the fact that you have a toddler version of a sweet tooth. (Just like your mommy.) I love your babbles. I love when you splash in the tub. I love your monk-like chant when you're falling asleep or waking up. I love your laugh that you share with sparsity, but when you do, it's like chubby cherubs playing hide and seek.
I love your light. You are indeed our beautiful, warm Sunshine.