Today is a very special day – Dominic and Julian turn 4 years old. I’ve always loved birthdays. They are a time of celebration and reflection… a time to honor accomplishments and appreciate life.
This birthday is no different… But it feels different. For the first time, as I reflect on Dominic and Julian’s four years of life, swells of emotions are rising in my chest. Tears as sharp as glass are forming in my eyes. I am overwhelmed with such an abundance of feelings, my heart could burst.
So I decided to write a letter.
My Sweet Boys,
Today is your 4th birthday. And I want to let you know how proud I am of you. You have overcome so many obstacles during your short time on this earth. From being 6 weeks premature, to fighting serious infections… from staying months in hospitals, to visiting countless doctors. You’ve endured so much, and still manage to smile, laugh, and love each day. I will forever be in awe of your strength and courage.
They say the best things come in small packages. You are the tiniest, most wonderful gift I could ever receive. You brighten up the room with your mischievous smile and bold laugh.
My heart aches reflecting on how many battles you’ve had to fight… How many times the doctors told me, “We just don’t know if he’s going to make it.” But that heartache quickly turns to feelings of joy and elation because you’re still here.
There are so many things I love about you. Your confidence and assertiveness is often surprising. You can have a whole conversation with only 5 real words… but that doesn’t stop you from speaking your mind. And those attributes can only be matched by your compassion to uplift those around you. I love how you cheer on your older brothers at their games. And you always make sure Julian is well taken care of. You are such a gift to our family.
To Julian (my youngest baby),
You are the sweetest, most precious gift a mother could ask for. Your innocent smile and doe eyes melt my heart every single day. You have taught me so many life lessons during these past 4 years. You’ve touched my heart in ways I didn’t know were possible.
I’ve always had a saying about you: “Julian will not be rushed.” You’ve always done things on your own time. During your first week in the NICU, the doctors were worried because you wouldn’t breathe on your own. But as I’ve gotten to know you, I think you were probably just relaxing. You just got here; You weren’t ready to do everything yet. I can understand that.
The same was true with crawling, walking, eating, and now talking. You’ve never been concerned with predetermined ‘milestones.’ You got to them when you were ready. Why stress? You taught me that life isn’t a race, it’s a journey. And I’m so happy I get to share it with you.
Happy birthday, Dominic and Julian. You are my heroes.