Today is your third birthday. At exactly three years ago today, you came flying into this world and quickly stole our hearts with those big black eyes you had. Three years old, little girl! Where did the time go?! You have SO much personality, and you are living up to your name. You truly are a joy to everyone you meet. Even strangers who have no idea how much you've been through in the last three years comment on how much of a joy you are. If they only knew!
It is amazing to me to see how far you have come. Three years ago, my only prayer was for God to let us have you for a just a little longer. No one thought we had much time with you, and I tried so hard to cherish every second. I took so many pictures because I didn't want to forget your face. I held your little hand and tried to fill a lifetime of love into those first few terrifying days. I vowed that no matter how much time we had together, I would show you what it means to be loved.
As you began to improve and things didn't look quite so dire, I allowed myself to think of what "home life" would be like once we left the hospital. It wasn't anything like I pictured it!! But nonetheless, we were so thankful to be able to bring your home. The memory of walking out of the hospital with you, nurses and respiratory therapists shedding tears right along with us, is not one I will ever forget.
Although time seemed to creep by while we were in the thick of it, you really did improve so fast! For a girl who was supposed to be trach and vent dependent for life, you were trach-free before age 2! Equally amazingly, you were feeding tube-free by three!!! You have so far surpassed the doctors' predictions for your life in just three short years. What an awesome God we have, Abby!
In case you read this in the future and want to know what you were like at age 3, let me give you a little glimpse! You still love Hello Kitty, but you are also very fond of Abby Cadabby. In fact, you are currently insisting that your real name is not Abigail, but Abby Cadabby! Your favorite shows are Caillou, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, and Sophia the First. We watch those shows on the iPad over and over and over again while you eat...until Daddy decides that those apps are broken! You love to play with ponies and princesses, and you also love to draw on your easel. You are fond of Caleb's legos, but he doesn't like for you to play with them. You aren't nearly as excited about the Duplos that are really for you.
You are really a chatterbox now! I love sitting back and listening to you talk. Although we are still working on making sure others can understand you, you certainly have a lot to say! Some of your favorite phrases are, "Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah!" "Chloe, you're so cute!" "I can do it myself!" and "Daddy's a princess!" You've also come a long way in your gross motor skills. You are running, galloping, and jumping all over the place. Just recently, you've started getting really excited about jumping off of stuff. Now I can't keep you from climbing on things to jump off of them!
Happy birthday, sweet Abby Joy. I'm so proud of you and look forward to many more birthdays! May you continue to discover all that God wants you to be.