You're now a year old and it was a little over a year ago that I was able to see you for the first time. I remember it was like yesterday getting wheeled into the NICU and there you were already on the ventilator, but oh so pink and quite honestly, much bigger than I had expected. You were sporting all your beautiful silky hair in a mohawk that your silly nurse kept you styled in for your stay in the NICU. I could hold your hand, stroke your head and legs and only look at your chest that was so smooth and without scars - it was hard to imagine that it was only going to stay for a few days. Even more, you looked so great; I wanted to say that everything was fine and just wheel you out of there with me. But I knew that wasn't the right thing to do nor was it what was really best for you.
So off you went on March 30th, I held you for the very first time even with all your wires and tubes holding and kissing you and just soaking in as much of you as possible. I knew that it was possible that you may have not made it through that first surgery, I just didn't think it was likely. What has brought me comfort all these months and perhaps it is naive, but I'll tell you anyway. Your Great Grandma on Nonna's side was somewhat of a force to be reckoned with and she held the extended family together and even though she passed away a few months before I found out that I was pregnant with you; I just knew that you would be a girl and would be special. Especially to your Nonna, those first few months without her mother were very hard for her and then when she found out she was going to be a Grandma, she had something positive to look forward to. When we found out about just how special you were with your heart, Nonna worried and had sleepless nights because that's what she does when something weighs on her mind. But I knew that you were going to pick up where my Grandma left off and that's coming out fighting and full of attitude.
This past year (really sixteen months or so) you have been nothing short of awe inspiring. If you're feeling good, you have a smile that can light up a room and is contagious. The sound of your laughter is by far one of the best things that I have ever heard in my life and makes me stop doing everything that I'm doing just to take it in. You have had your Daddy wrapped around your finger since the minute you were born and he's your main man and protector. You come by Mommy when you want to give and get love - saving all your sweet kisses for me and when you put your chubby little hands on my cheeks and just look at me and smile-I want to keep you in that moment forever. Olivia, you have brought so much good into so many people's lives; making them stop and think about what's important out of life and how to be better people. I am so proud to have you as my daughter. Happy First Birthday Sweet Baby Girl!
Love Forever and Always,