This morning, we woke up as we do every day. You drank your bottle, while I sipped my coffee. When you were done, I held you and told you it was Thanksgiving… your second. You stared at me, intently watching my lips. I told you I was grateful for you being here another year… I told you how amazing it is to have you here each day. You began to squirm as most kids would, and I let you get in your walker to play.
Thanksgiving is not my favorite of all the holidays. I’m not a huge fan of stuffing or gravy, and getting up super early to gut a large bird wouldn’t be one of my most loved hobbies. But, much like everything else in my life, this holiday holds more sentiment than it did before you were born.
I suppose technically it is your third Thanksgiving since you were in my belly for your first. You were safe and warm and perfect, as far as I knew. Your father and I were so completely unaware and unprepared for the next few years before us. Everything was ignorantly blissful and perfectly normal.
Your next Thanksgiving you had grown so much. You were rolls upon rolls, and looked nothing like the tiny five pound baby I had held a few months ago. You lit up for your favorite movie as we spent our holiday in a new place. I was so absolutely proud of how far you had come.
And now, this year, you are in a baby walker, cruising our living room, smacking your toys. You are becoming a twonager, bored quickly, and with very stern opinions. You throw things and laugh at yourself and smile when someone sings to you. You are everything to be thankful for.
I can’t help but think that you aren’t even supposed to be here. Your heart shouldn’t be beating. Your lungs shouldn’t fill with air. According to the sheet of paper I was handed back when you were one month old, your massive amount of defects should have overwhelmed your supposedly frail body by now. You were supposed to die.
But you didn’t. You gave us a few scares. There were nights you turned blue and I fought within myself if I had enough time to call 911 or if I needed to try and save you myself. One time we were in the car with your brothers when you started to choke on your own vomit. I pulled over while the boys kept yelling at me that something was wrong, and ripped you from your car seat. I remember screaming for a nasal bulb (as if your brothers knew what that was) and pounding your back to clear your throat and nose. Another night, I tried to suction you and you had a mucus plug block a nasal passage. You started to turn gray while I held you to my chest and tried to help you clear it. I wondered if I could run to my phone but I knew you’d be dead if I waited for an ambulance.
But we made it… and for that I am thankful. I am thankful for the early mornings started with your coos. I am thankful for the days full of therapies, specialists, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I am thankful for the bathtimes and the playtimes and the crooked smiles. I am thankful for every second with you.
Happy 2nd (or 3rd, but who’s counting?) Thanksgiving, my fierce daughter. Every day is full of thanks with you.

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