We just celebrated Emma's 4th birthday. One the days leading up to the celebration I was a bit overwhelmed with emotions. When we first learned of Emma's diagnosis of cerebral palsy and deafness I had thought that with therapy and her cochlear implants that she would be very close to her typically developing peers by her 4th birthday. I'm not sure why I was focused on her 4th year as the one where I thought she would magically be "typical" but for some reason I was and as the day came closer it was very evident that she is not a typical 4 year old.
Each birthday I put together a photo slideshow of the past year, set it to music, and play it over and over again for the girls. It's a great way for us to remember how much fun we had over the year and how much the girls have grown and matured. I was a little apprehensive going into this year's slideshow but quickly found out my apprehension was unfounded. Emma had a fantastic year! She stared crawling with her crawler, commando crawling on the floor without assistance, took her first steps with her gait trainer, started riding her very own adapted bicycle, took a trip abroad and enjoyed the adventure tremendously, started giving us a consistent Yes/No response (when she wants to that is, she is still only just 4!), worked on learning to drive a power chair, and started using the potty whenever I remembered to use it!
How I lost focus on all these accomplishments as we neared Emma's birthday I do not know and I'm so glad that the act of putting together her video slideshow made me realize how very happy I am that Emma is not typical - she is truly a remarkable little girl and a daily inspiration to me to keep a smile on my face and embrace each day to the fullest no matter what obstacles are in the way.
Today I know that we are not where I though we would be when Emma was turning 4; rather we are better than I thought. Our family is strong. We have met some wonderful friends and embarked on wild adventures. I feel so very lucky that I get to raise such a remarkable little girl. She has truly taught me so much in her four years, more than I ever could have imagined. Happy Birthday, sweet Emma! I look forward to celebrating many more with you!
Kristina blogs about life, love, and raising her family here where she has a post that includes the year in review video slideshow.