Monday, May 11, 2009

First Birthday/Mother's Day Weekend

I had the most perfect weekend ever. The whole weekend was a celebration, and I can't help but be anything but thankful for what the Lord has given to us.

On Saturday we celebrated Eli's first birthday. I know that first birthdays are always really special celebrations, but I feel like the first birthday of a preemie with such a rough start in life has a little extra specialness thrown in. I was so emotional all day long, thinking about how far God has brought my baby over the course of the past year. I set my alarm for 5:04am so that I could go in and kiss Eli's cheek at the exact moment that he came into the world one year ago. I was surprised that Eric wasn't in bed when I got up- I found him sitting at the kitchen table writing a letter to Eli in his birthday card. My heart melted when I saw this and when I later read his precious words to our son.

Eli was in the best mood on Saturday, for which I was so thankful. He's teething, so some days he's kind of a fuss, and I so wanted him to enjoy his birthday without fussiness. After he woke up we took him to my mom for the morning- she was so excited to spend time with the birthday boy, and Eric and I wanted a little time to just reminisce about the past year. We went to breakfast and had such a good time talking, and then we went and bought tons of helium balloons for Eli. It was so fun stuffing them all into the back of the car. There are few happier sights than a car stuffed with bright balloons, in my opinion!

We spent the afternoon decorating the back porch and yard, and then the whole family (minus Eric's dad and step-mom- we missed you guys!) and some friends came over to celebrate with us. The weather was gorgeous, and everyone really enjoyed just talking and drinking lemonade and being outside in the pretty weather. Eli opened his gifts and really loved them all, and then we sat him in his high chair and put his cake in front of him and sang "Happy Birthday" to him. I was really teary. When he was born I never even got to hold him. He spent the first 48 hours of his life apart from his mommy, fighting for his life. This year I got to kiss my baby on his cheek as we sang to him, and I will never, ever forget that feeling.

And God answered my specific prayer that Eli would eat some of his birthday cake! With all his feeding difficulties, I was sad that he may not even want cake. But he did, and I was so happy to watch him get all messy with cake and ice cream.

Eric played frisbee golf on Saturday evening with Phil and my dad, as part of Phil's birthday celebration (He and Eli share the same birthday.), so I got to be the one to put Eli to bed. (Eric almost always does this.) It was the most precious moment of my day to rock my baby to sleep and quietly sing "Happy Birthday" in his ear, reminding him again and again of how special he is to me, and praising God for the little miracle in my arms.

On Saturday we really enjoyed being with the whole family for Phil's birthday dinner. I couldn't ask for a better family. Every time we're all together I am reminded of how truly blessed we are.

On Sunday morning I was awakened by Eli's little hands on my face. He was sitting on our bed, holding a card that "he" had written for me. Eric wrote the sweetest note to me "from Eli." It made me cry. Then I got another card from Eric, along with the prettiest bouquet tulips and a gorgeous bouquet of pale pink roses. He also ordered me a book that I have been wanting, though it hasn't gotten here yet. We had breakfast with the whole family- the boys all cooked for the girls- and we gave my mom her presents. We had a great time worshipping together in church, too.

I loved spending the afternoon and evening with Eric and Eli- I love them more than anything in the world. This was truly one of the best weekends I think I have ever had. The Lord really gave me "new eyes," I think, to clearly see all the amazing miracles that He has done in Eli's life rather than focusing on the lingering "preemie issues" that Eli has. I am overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness, and so humbled by His grace on a sinner like me.

Happy Mother's Day!