This is Ava. My sweet little Ava Lilikoi. Today is her birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY AVA LILIKOI! This is my favorite day in the whole wide world. She’s one of my favorite things ever. One of the brightest lights in my life. Really, I can’t get enough of her. She’s my saving grace. I never want to say good bye.
A couple of weekends ago, I was afraid I might have to. She’d been running a fever and playing hard all morning long. Just as we were about to take a walk (so she could rest in her stroller), all of a sudden she collapsed. She stopped breathing for 10 seconds. Her little lips turned scary purplish blue. She was limp in a funny posture. Lifeless in her daddy’s arms. She seemed so small, so precious, so innocent, so young, so vulnerable. To my mommy heart, it seemed like forever. My PA brain reminded me this is probably a febrile seizure. My chaotic internal dialogue went something like this:
Hopefully it won’t last longer than a couple of minutes. Her little brain will be ok. Her color will return soon. Ok, find your stethoscope, where is it in your purse? Wait, no it’s in your white coat. Wait think, what are the vitals for little people again?
I can’t think clearly, she’s so pale. She’s unresponsive. Open your eyes, baby please. Ava, mommy is here. Why are her perfect little lips so white now?
Wait, ok check for breath sounds and heart sounds. Ok, good she’s alive. Heart is pumping, lungs are working.
Where are the paramedics? Weren’t they supposed to be here 5 minutes ago? Should I be doing more? Am I forgetting something? Should I do CPR?
No, don’t do CPR she has a pulse.
Are you sure I’m not supposed to do CPR?
No, she has a pulse. She’s breathing. She’s alive.
Long story short, Ava took her first ever ambulance ride to the ER. She was a little champ the whole time, ate stir-fry broccoli by the fistfuls, lol (see the i-Phone snap), and was discharged home later that day.
The day Ava was born, a whole new realm of endless possibilities was opened up to me. This little girl has changed me. She is my heart. She is cheerful, full of joy, hilarious, endearing, sweet, and very, very smiley. She’s strong willed, persistent, and stubborn, with the occasional flare for being dramatic. Hmmm, wonder where she get’s that from?
Her imagination runs wild. She sees icecream cones and space ships and houses and cameras when I see a colorful stack of bristle blocks. She pretends to take pictures of me saying, “Mommmmmie, cheeeeez.” She scribbles simple lines on a piece of paper with her crayon and triumphantly yells, “LOOOK at Mooooooomie, kiiiiiittty!”
She’s a dancer. She knows how to throw a party. “Mommmmie, music? Dance, an-uhh-mal party?” She rocks out to John Mayer, wearing only her tutu and bright blue rainboots, surrounded by all her guests she’s gathered in place – her turtle, elephant, fox, owl, and the list of animals goes on and on.
She’s fearless, she loves the ocean more than I want her to at times. She trusts me at swim lessons, bravely jumping off the side of the pool into the water, knowing that mommy will be there to catch her. And that, is the craziest part of this mommy-daughter relationship. The fact that this little girl thinks I’m worthy of her innocent trust and perfect love – in spite of all my mommy flaws and shortcomings. Even when I feel like I totally sucked at life that day, failed everything I set out to accomplish, she will hug me at random, wrapping her pudgy little hands around my neck, draw me close, and tell me softly, “Wuvvvvvv you mooooomie.” She’s my heart melting buddy.
This little girl has changed me. I’m less impulsive now. Less selfish. More willing to sacrifice that which I couldn’t or wouldn’t before. I’m not so naive as to say that parenthood is what everyone needs to grow or learn or experience the world fully. Most definitely not, but for me personally like I said before, it was a game changer for sure. I’d do anything to keep being this little girl’s person, because I finally understand what it means to love someone more than life itself.
So here’s to you kiddo! Here’s to two years and being the brightest light in my life. Mommy loves you, always have, and always will. I promise.