Dear Mia

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” Disney’s “Mulan”

Dear Mia,

It is your birthday in a week, and I wanted to write this today. It’s appropriate because today was your due date, October 31. You made me wait five more days to meet you, but you always do things on your own time.

I want to tell you about a flower. The Chinese have a very special flower that they hold in the highest regard. It is the plum blossom. The tree that produces this flower produces a lovely fruit that the Chinese use in dishes as well as medicine. The fruit makes this tree special, but so does the flower. The plum blossom signifies one of the first signs of spring for the Chinese people because it is first to bloom. In fact, it will bloom so early that the snow is still covering its branches. Can you imagine a flower that blooms during the winter? When the weather is the harshest and the sun barely shines, a flower blooms.

We knew before you were born that you were going to be different. We were sad, but not sad for us. We worried about you. We worried about what you would face as you grew. Would you have challenges? Would people be cruel? What would happen to you? But through all of these difficult months of worry, I had faith. I had faith in you and in God.

When you were born, I was terrified. I was worried that you were sick, that you wouldn’t make it, and that I wouldn’t know how to take care of you. And then you had to go to the NICU and I had to say goodbye. I made a vow after that time that I would never let someone else decide what you needed ever again. You are mine and I am yours and we will figure this out together. Our doctors will help us, not dictate to us.

Over the course of this year, I feel like I’ve witnessed a true miracle of life. Like the plum blossom you were born in harsh circumstances, but you bloomed. You were born with extra genetic material, and the doctors could not be specific about what would happen. They gave me statistics and made no promises. I was left with a cold, “Good luck.”

But then you grew and you developed and you became the baby I didn’t know I wanted. You grow more and more into the little child that I dreamed about before you were born. You are full of love and life. Every single day you learn something new. You are the most determined little baby I have ever seen. I watch you work until you’ve mastered a skill. I would love to take credit for it, but you do it so naturally on your own. You want to learn. You’re a bit of a trouble-maker. You want what you want when you want it. You can level me with a smile or a giggle. And you’re beautiful. One of the silly things I thought about before you were born was, “What if she’s not pretty?” You’re not just pretty. You’re gorgeous, stunning, and effervescent. You’re all of these things but what makes you even more beautiful is that you bloomed.

There are days when I still worry about the future. I worry about what will be, but I see in you so much determination that I have great hope despite these worries. I thought I would spend this year inspiring you. I thought I would have to coax and prod and teach. What I didn’t realize is that you would inspire me. You had your own internal motivation to grow and develop. You have strength of will that is rare and powerful.

I want you to know this, Mia Katarina. You are powerful. Don’t ever let anyone take that power away from you. You are powerful because God is behind you and walking with you every single day. With Him anything is possible. Don’t ever let someone build a wall in front of you. Those kinds of walls are meant to be knocked down. You can do this because you are powerful.

I wish you a very happy first birthday my little plum blossom. May you continue to bloom, inspire, and love.

With great love,

Your mommy

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