As we celebrated our Sylvie-girl turning 6 last week, it was not lost on me that this was the year we celebrated twice as many birthdays together as we had spent apart. The other day, I reread my letter to Sylvie on her 4th birthday and the injustice of those years apart once again came bubbling to the surface. Now that we are in routines and the normalcy of life, I had almost forgotten the persistent heartache and grief of those years an ocean separated me from my daughter. Yet, every once in a while, on big days like birthdays, I’m reminded of the miracles that unfolded and of the mountains climbed and of the obstacles averted in order to bring her into our family.
Looking back, I can clearly see the healing and the progress that has occurred in all of our hearts. We have forged our way together. Learning what family means and how to believe we are here for the long haul has been a journey for our girl. A journey full of resistance and fear and tentative hope. Her smile continues to brighten and deepen and shine. More and more each year. What an honor it has been to walk this broken, hard, beautiful path holding her little hand. I am ridiculously unqualified and endlessly grateful to be her momma.
I’ve learned a lot about love from this precious daughter of mine. I’ve learned that love is selfless and vulnerable. It is intentional. Love is seeing the mess and the brokenness and stepping into the story instead of turning away. Love is getting up every day and doing the next thing. Love gives more than it receives. Love can be fireworks and wonder and awe but often, most often, it is quiet, gentle, and unremarkable. Love pursues. Love forgives. Love extends grace. Love can’t take away the pain of the past, yet, love can prove it’s steadfastness over and over and over again. Love never fails, it never gives up, it never leaves. It always perseveres.
S.I.X. (six! how can it be?) deserves pizza and close friends and siblings and swimming. And, cake. Always cake. And, most assuredly, a laughter-filled, unabashedly joyful celebration of our brave, big-hearted, Sylvie-girl.