Mar 1, 2010

Happy first birthday, Jonah!

Dear Jonah,

On Feb. 27, 2009, I was at work, anxiously awaiting word from your Aunt Kim that you'd been born. I was nervous, excited, hopeful, scared ... I just wanted you to be ALIVE for your mommy and daddy. I wanted to hear good news.

My desk phone rang.

Me: "Hello?"

Kim: "Hi, Katherine. It's Kim. The baby is here, but there's an issue."

Me: [silence]

Kim: "Are you there?"

Me: "Yes. What kind of issue?"

Kim: "Well, we don't know for sure, but it's something to do with his skin. It was apparent when he was born, and the doctors think that there might be some slippage or something ... we're not really sure at this point, and I don't want to speculate too much before we know more. But I'll definitely call you back after we've talked to the doctors."

There was more to the conversation, but honestly a lot of it is a blur. I felt like Kim was talking to me through a tin can. It was as if I could barely hear what she was saying, and I know I asked her to repeat a few things. I distinctly remember writing down the words "Epidermolysis Bullosa" on a Post-it Note ... words I'd never heard before but wanted to be able to tell Grayson verbatim. Kim and I talked several more times that day and many more times while you were in the NICU. I felt like I couldn't get enough information about you ... I always thirsted for more, especially for the GOOD news.

And let me tell you, buddy, you really brought it. It took a while, but you defied the odds. The last year hasn't been easy for you, or for your mommy and daddy, but you have all surpassed any expectations anyone could have had for you!

You and I got to spend some quality time playing together on Saturday morning while your mommy was prepping The Party of the Century. I'M NOT EXAGGERATING.

I loved watching you enjoy your ball popper.

I loved playing Peek-a-Boo with you under your Exersaucer.

I adored the sweet grins you gave me, one after the other, as if there were no end to the smiles you had to give out. "Oh yeah? You like that? THERE'S MORE WHERE THAT CAME FROM!"

Then you showed me your toddler chair. I now have chair envy.

Slap me in one of these with my Kindle hanging from one side and an Almond Joy hanging from the other side, and I'd be just as happy as YOU look.

After our playtime at home, we went to The Party. THE PARTY. Ohhh, Jonah. Just wait 'til you're old enough to comprehend THE PARTY. This guy was there:

No lie. Petting zoo. Along with about 50 other activities for the guests. It was EPIC. I don't want to spoil your mommy's recaps for you, so I won't say TOO much about it, but believe me when I say that there's no place anyone else in the Triad area would have wanted to be than at The Party.

It was so much fun for me to get to see many of the people who've supported your mommy and daddy and you over the last year ... not being local, I don't get to see everyone all the time. I loved getting to meet your mommy's friend Leigh (and her husband Rob and son Seth), who's become a friend of mine because of this crazy thing called the Internet!

And of course it was fun to see so many of your cousins ... although it made me wish that Nathaniel, Nicholas and Jake had been able to come, too! It's hard to be around all of you without missing my boys.

And of course some of my most favorite time was just getting to be with your mommy, your sweet, sweet mommy who would lay down her life for you.

One day I think you will better understand Jesus' love for you, just by witnessing how well your mommy and daddy love you. They are, rightfully so, such an example to others of how we should ALL be loving our children. They are dedicated not only to caring for you in the most thorough and compassionate way possible, but also to helping find a cure for EB.

I was so worried when you were born that EB was going to define you. Worried that it would be the first thing I thought of when I thought of you. But Jonah, it's NOT. The first thing I think of when I think of you is your grin. The second thing is your big blue eyes. The third thing is the joy you bring to your parents. The fourth thing is that blonde hair. The fifth thing is your precious babbling ("ticka, ticka!"). The sixth thing is that kicking thing you do with your legs when someone is holding you. The seventh thing is that you're about to crawl!

I could go on and on, but my point is that you have risen above your circumstances. You have exceeded my expectations. You have overcome incredible odds. You continue to inspire thousands of people every day. I feel so silly now for just wishing that you'd be born ALIVE. That my prayer would have been so small as to simply ask for that. You have done so much more than simply LIVE. Go big or go home, right baby?

Happy birthday, sweet Jonah.

Aunt Katherine


CCB said...

was NOT expecting to sit down do a quick reader check and find myself a blubbering mess!!! bless you and your family =)... your words convey so much, thank you for sharing! and continued prayers for jonah.

Janet said...

Your post brought me to tears. I follow you because of Patrice's blog. So I read yours everyday, as I do hers. I've never posted a comment on your blog before, but I had to today. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your love for Jonah and his mommy and daddy.

Sewconsult said...

Wonderful post. I am so happy that Jonah has made it to such a great milepost. I continue to pray for him & his parents. Their road with him will be one with many bumps, but enrobed with LOVE.
Beckie in Brentwood, TN

shaina said...

perfect :)

Sarah T. said...

So glad you got to go and that you all had fun! Jonah's a little heartbreaker.

Au-Me said...

Ditto on the perfect comment. Beautiful photos. Great to see you!
(Big Jake's Mom)

brightleigh said...

Katherine, it was so good to meet you in person! What a nice, sweet letter this is. I remember the day that Jonah was born, the anticipated phone call, and the uncertain emotions that followed. How far we have all come! We were happy to have been able to spend time with your family during such a joyous occasion. Oh, and I can't believe I made your blog! ;-)

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

Mel and Leigh, it really was great to see you both! And Mel, I guess you finally remembered your Blogger password. ;)

I'm so glad everyone enjoyed this post; Jonah is an inspiring little guy to us all!

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