Thursday, January 24, 2008

On Celebrating

Posting this early because I know I won't have time with all her parties/sleep over this weekend...
Kennedy at the IWK - one week old, February, 1998If you had asked me 10 years ago today what I thought life might be like at this point, it's likely that my response may have been somewhat dismal. I remember sitting in the hospital bed crying after the doctor gave us the news that our beautiful, much-longed-for-and-loved-beyond-measure-before-she-even-arrived daughter had "bilateral choanal atresia." I was so upset that she wasn't healthy. I was so upset because I didn't know if she would make it through that very day. I was so upset because I couldn't even pronounce the darn name of the condition that she had. What kind of mother can't even pronounce the name of her daughter's condition for crying out loud?

After three and a half months in hospital, we came home with the definitive diagnosis of CHARGE syndrome and life with Kennedy outside the hospital began. In those last ten years, she has endured nineteen surgeries, being poked and prodded by so many strange people, having her wee little chest cracked open twice, having so many parts of her tender young body sliced and sewn up again, having to do hour after hour of therapy with so many people. She worked so hard to learn to breathe, talk, hear, see, sit up, stand, walk, and eat with so many systems of her body not working optimally. She had to work so hard to do the things that just come naturally to other children.

This was her reality.

This was her life.

She could've been the grouchiest, crankiest, most horrible child ever and she would've been completely justified in being so. She went through all of this, however, and she thrived. She grew strong, she was happy, she was full of her own little personality, and she gave all of us so much joy. She has gone through more in ten years than most of us will ever go through in a lifetime, and through it all, she radiated, and continues to radiate, this beautiful light of happiness. We should all be so lucky to have a little 'Kennedy' in us.

When I think back to those early days, when I think about all that she has accomplished in spite of what I would consider amazingly unfair odds, when I am sadly reminded of the realities of CHARGE as I was this past week, when another sweet ray of light who was 22 years old with CHARGE passed away unexpectedly, I realize the monumental importance of celebrating this beautiful life. It reminds me that it should not be just on her actual day of birth that I celebrate her, but each and every day that I awaken to the sound of those precious footsteps bounding up the stairs.

Kennedy and Mom and Aunt Tammy's wedding, August 2007I hope the tradition of jumping in bed with Mom and Dad never gets old. I hope the snuggling and the kisses and the squeezy hugs never get tired.

I hope I never forget how lucky I am to have been able to learn so much from this little person and how lucky I am for each day with her.

I love you, Kennedy. Happy 10th birthday, baby girl.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Big Ten and Other News

Kennedy with Uncle Scott on New Year's EveA little unrelated picture - my favourite of New Year's Eve - Kennedy sitting on my brother Scott's knee. She does love to act silly with Uncle Scott! By the way, she had NO problem staying up until 1am on New Year's Eve...I think she could've outlasted us all if we'd tested her.

Now...on to more important issues: birthdays. Kennedy is quite excited about her upcoming celebration, and it's a big one - DOUBLE DIGITS! On January 27th, this little amazing dynamo will be TEN. It is hard to believe... She is quite involved with the planning of her party this year: we have reviewed the guest list, decided on the venue, talked about what to get for the guests, the invitations, and discussed the always-important-but-more-so-this-year, cake. We are going to see if any of the local bakeries make a Hannah Montana cake...let's hope so because Mom isn't quite that creative in the cake decorating department :).

In other news, eating is still going great - pancakes have pulled ahead of French Toast as her favourite breakfast food as of late. We are trying something new tomorrow - first she must eat at least 1/2 cup pureed fruit before pancakes, otherwise this kid is going to turn INTO a pancake! Toast is the new afterschool snack du jour - and now we have expanded our horizons to include jelly, peanut butter, or cheese whiz for a topping.

Stay tuned for the latest in Kennedy's Eating Adventures...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Pancakes, French Toast, and Toast with Crust!

All in the span of the past three days - Kennedy has eaten (and done very well!) with these three new foods. It's so exciting to see her eating different things and expanding her "gustatory horizons". This will make breakfast so much nicer for her; we can add lots of different fruit to the pancakes, she will get some egg/protein with her French toast and how about just regular ol' toast? She ate two pieces of regular toast today and her second piece with crust and all! Homemade apple and strawberry jelly from Nana B's farmstand on top, too.

Never a prouder mother was there today as I watched my blond curly-mopped angel scarf down that toast complete with crust. Oh and table syrup such as Aunt Jemima for the pancakes and French toast? Not a chance - she wants "this one, mama" - pointing and referring to pure maple syrup. A true Canadian kid...nothing but the best when it comes to maple syrup!

On another interesting food note, we are trying to move her to mashed foods for supper and some different things also for lunch. I had a meeting tonight so Daddy got her supper ready. Dad reports to me on the way home from my meeting that she did great with her mashed potatoes (a favourite of hers) and with the mashed carrots; however, when it came to the tuna steak Dad cooked for her and then just mashed up instead of pureeing it, Kennedy was not interested and had a good question for her father... "Dad, are you trying to choke me?"

Kennedy, looking like she is in pain but actually very much enjoying some squash and mashed potatoes at Nana and Papa's house on New Year's DayI love this kid.

Today toast with crust, tomorrow the WORLD!
(or, maybe some ravioli)