Friday, January 9, 2009

My Girl

Dear Abigail,

You are 5. Five. Five. I keep repeating it to myself, hardly able to believe it is real. Five seems like such a grown up kid age. Last night, as we do every year, your Daddy and I talked about flying to Arizona to bring you home. All the emotions. All the gratitude. All the memories of you.

You are no longer a baby.
But you do still like to be wrapped up in soft blankets.

You are no longer a toddler.
But you do still like to run and jump and play.

You are a Pre-schooler, and you love it. You love learning letters, and right from left, and spanish words. You love your new friends, and they love you. Your proficency with social skills is working well for you in your new enviornment.
This week, the week of your fifth birthday, has been a little rough. You have always been a fighter. Don't lose the fighting instinct- you will need it in your life. But this week you have been a little out of control. A little off the chart. I wasn't sure what to do with you. There were tantrums that I have never before seen- and I've seen a lot. There were days I didn't know if I should grab you and cuddle you and hold you tight or if I should just lock you in your room until your Daddy came home. I did a little of both.

And then, one day, Jack got hurt. He jumped off of something and bit his tongue on the landing. And I saw more of your true self come out. A compassion like no other. Hang on to that- you will need it. You found his special doggy. And his special bear. And both of his special blankets. Then you drew him a picture. And got him a drink. And a snack. You searched all over the house to bring him the toys he loves the best. You piled them, one by one, at his side and feet. Then you said to me 'what else can I get him'. You didn't want to rest until he was happy and playing again. And it took a long time, and you stayed with him for the duration.

And watching all this, it reminded me that the craziness we had experienced this week was not normal for you, and it couldn't be explained by Christmas vacation, or sleeping in a different room, or whatever. There was something off. So I took you to the doctor. And even though there was no fever, no pain, and really nothing to tell the doctor except that you were off, she found a raging double ear infection. You, my child, my love, have a very high tolerance for pain. Don't loose that either- it will serve you well.

And today, even though you protest and sometimes cry about how often we have pancakes, because they really aren't your favorite breakfast, today, when I said "you get to choose breakfast", you said you wanted pancakes "because Jack and Aidan love them". Always giving to others, making other people happy, that is what makes you shine. Hang on to that- by making others happy, you will be happy yourself. That and the lip gloss you were so happy to open this morning. They both make you shine.
I am so proud to be your Mama. I am blessed to know when you are off and to know how to help you. It is a sacred gift to know another person well enough to know that they are hurting even when they don't know themselves, and I am blessed to be your Mother. I will never stop loving you. I will never take for granted that you made me a Mother, and teach me every day how to be a better one.

Thank you, my child, my Abigail. I love you. I hope that you will love being five.

17 comments:

Kydon said...

Abigail, you certainly are a wonderful daughter. I can’t believe you are already five. You bring so much joy to our life. We can never say that our life is boring with you around. You always have something going on and love to involve other people in whatever your doing. You like playing games like Candy Land, reading books and watching your favorite TV shows and you would rather be doing these things with others, rather than by yourself. You show us daily that happiness comes from including others in our lives. This weekend will be your first real birthday party where other kids your age are invited. I hope you and all your friends have a great time at the party. I’m looking forward to all the festivities this weekend! Love you! - Daddy

ali said...

that was sweet :) five is a big number, isn't it?

Catherine said...

That was the most beautifully written message! It made my eyes get all watery! Happy, happy birthday to Abigail!

Rachel said...

Happy Birthday Abigail! You are now a whole hand which is a BIG deal!

Sarah said...

Wow, Shanna. That was really beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

colleensewnsew said...

Abigail, we love you and are so glad to have you as part of our family. I too have noticed your compassion and how you are always willing to share and do what you need to make others happy. Thanks for coming to our family! Grandma

Jen said...

Awww...can I cry now?? You are such a great mom to see the good even through the bad times. Abigail is one lucky girl.

Erika said...

Five?!?! I can't believe it! Happy Birthday Abigail!

mommymuse said...

You should have put a kleenex warning on that one :). What a talented writer!

Kayleen said...

It's always easy to remember Abigail's birthday since it's the same as Haley's. I can't believe how the years have flown by. I guess it's a birthday thing but Haley was being extra nice to Katy today too by letting her choose what show to watch this morning. I guess it's a girl thing. :)

Valeni said...

I loved the beautiful tribute to Abigail! She is a precious and darling little girl that brings us all so much happiness. Hope your birthday is wonderful and we will be thinking of you. Love, Granny and Grandpa

Adam and Lisa said...

That made me get all teary. And I made Adam mute the TV so I could read it to him and get all teary again. She really is such a compassionate girl. I see her with Ellie, how she always wants to bring her things and make her smile. (Like today when she lay out the blanket and got Ellie every book she could find because I told her that Ellie likes books.) What a sweetheart!

Cecilee said...

Abigail is a true and wonderful blessing (and always will be). Thanks for sharing her birthday letter. I am so glad she made you a Mom too. Give her a big kiss from Auntie Cecilee.

Kelly said...

That is so sweet. My twins are going to be seven this week. I can relate. When did they grow up?

Rebecca said...

I have tears in my eyes. That was beautiful. Happy Belated Birthday Abigail!

Rhonda said...

That was such a sweet post. I remember meeting you in AZ when you were meeting Abigail's birthmother. Was that really five years ago? Your post about her reminds me so much of Julia. And she will be five in less than 2 months.

eartohear said...

What a beautiful young lady you are Abigail! Its wonderful that you love others; that is what life is all about! I can't wait to see ya'll in Puerto Rico! Bring the medicine bag (and everything else?!!) haha This post made me get teary too!