I know it’s one of the cheesiest cliches out there, but I can honestly remember the day Harper was born like it was yesterday. I think about that day so much… Especially whenever her birthday rolls around.
Looking back now, it was without a doubt the happiest day of my entire life. But it sure as hell didn’t feel that way at the time.
I have never felt more terrified and hopeless than I did that day… And I pray I never feel that way ever again.
After everything Hope and I went through to have her — All the years of pain and frustration… All the tragedy and loss we had to go through to finally have our baby girl, it felt like the universe was trying to take all that joy away from us, just like it had before. And I couldn’t go through that pain. Not again.
But our Harper was a fighter. And look at where she is now, three years later. She’s a miracle.
She’s so beautiful, just like her mother. And so smart too… She’s catching up to other kids her age so much faster than we were expecting. She’s so curious about everything, and she loves to laugh and smile… Every day with her is a new adventure, that’s for sure.
I just wish those adventures were always fun ones. I hate seeing her get sick so damn much.
At least this time it was just an ear infection… But God, she’s had so many this past year. Her doctor says it’s not uncommon for preemies to get more ear infections than most kids, but that the number she’s been getting is “unusual”. Especially getting ones that block her ears this badly. He told us if she has another one before August, we’ve gotta start looking at getting tubes put in. Surgery.
Hope and I both feel so sick just thinking about it. But we’ve gotta do what’s right for Harper… And if that’s what has to be, then that’s what’ll happen.
Anyway, I’ve been rambling way too much about the bad stuff… Today was a celebration of everything I just talked about. My beautiful little girl, and what a miracle she is. It was a really awesome day for everyone.
This year, our ‘midnight movie’ with Tante Joce really turned out to be an ‘after dinner’ movie so I could be up bright and early this morning to get everything ready for the party. It was a hell of a lot of work, but so worth it. We had a big family party for Harper and Tante Joce like we usually do. It’s always so fun seeing Harper get to celebrate her birthday with her Oma.
And what made today even better was that everyone was able to make it this year… Seriously, everyone. It’s really rare for all of us to get together like this anymore, so it was kinda awesome seeing everybody.
Even Alex and Tony ended up flying out to Windenburg for a visit. I was almost surprised — They haven’t made the trip out for Tante Joce’s birthday for a few years now. But I guess turning sixty-six is a pretty big milestone for their Mama, huh? And I know she really loved having all three of her girls there for once.
Oma was having a really great day too, and that just made the whole thing so much better. She was really alert and ‘with it’, y’know? She was happy and smiling, she recognized almost everybody… We were all so happy. Especially Opa. I know seeing Oma on her bad days has really been killing him. I loved seeing him smile again. Both of them.
I’ve really been worried about them lately. Tante Joce too. I guess it really hit me when we finished cleaning up and were heading for home. That big, beautiful house I grew up in just feels so empty now.
I mean, grandpa’s already been gone for a few years. It’s just Tante Joce and her parents now, all alone in that huge house. And I know it’s even harder now, after Oma had her stroke last year.
I’ve never heard any of them complain about it… But I can tell how lonely they all are. And can I really blame them?
I guess it all just makes me feel even more grateful for days like today. Chances to help bring a little bit of life back inside those old walls, y’know? To see the whole family come together like that.
And to watch my little girl fill them all with so much joy.