A Letter To The Birthday Girl

Dear Nyana,

Today, you are two. Yesterday you were not quite two, and tomorrow you will be just a smidge more than two. You’ve been through quite a bit in the 731 days you’ve been alive—not many ladies your age can speak candidly of nurses and BiPAP machines and tubes that feed directly to the intestine. No, you strive to be different, to be challenged, to be… well, quite simply, to be amazing.

I still can’t believe that you’re already two. I mean, I know that all parents lament the passing of time; they question how they ended up in a time warp that finds the days flipping off the calendar faster than you, my dear, can polish off a pint of raspberries. I know it’s a natural part of parenting to blink and miss it and find that your wee one is not so wee any longer. But you, Nyana, you started so small, and your progress was so slow at first, I just can’t believe that those days are long behind us and the future ahead is wireless and healthy. You probably don’t remember your tiny, fragile beginning. But I sure do.

When you were small.

I remember faking a smile for your Dad to take one last picture of my pregnant belly, just hours before my fever set in and the doctors were forced to induce. I remember how relieved I was to hear your tiny cry in the delivery room, and thinking, OK, well, she’s breathing, that’s a good start. How scared I was to love you for fear of losing you; how unbearable it was to wait five days to hold you—your Dad had to wait a full two weeks!—and then once I did finally get to hold you, how you and I spent hours upon hours upon hours snuggling skin-to-skin in a rocking chair as you struggled to breathe. I may not remember every detail of every moment from when you were tiny, but I remember the emotions of it all.

And then, like we’d all hoped, we brought you home. We brought you home with machines to help you eat and breathe, but we got to bring you home. We went about our lives, looking for normal in all the abnormality of it all, and we worked towards losing all your tackle. We hit some setbacks and we continued on our two steps forward, one step back path, yet slowly but surely, one by one you shed your machines, until here we are on your second birthday with nothing but a G-tube to remind us of our travels.

And the little girl we have standing here with us at the end of the journey is more amazing than I ever dreamed you could be. You are playful and curious and anxious to learn anything. You love baths and you love to say “cheers” and you love to pet the kitties and help unload the dishwasher. At two years old you know the alphabet and shapes and colours, and you can count not to ten but to 15. You’re turning into a little girl before my very eyes—your personality and your sense of humour and your idiosyncrasies and mannerisms are showing more prominently with each passing day—and where I once used to wish that time would hurry up to get us to the “wireless baby” we dreamt of for so long, now I wish the clock would just slow right down so I could enjoy every moment of the little girl I know and love. I want to savour every breath of every moment, because I know that tomorrow you’ll be a smidge bigger and a smidge smarter and today will be just another memory.

I know I can’t stop tomorrow from coming too quickly. I know that in the blink of an eye you’ll be going to school, going to summer camp, going to college. I know you won’t need me forever, that one day you’ll decide that you can—and will—do it on your own. But until that day comes, I promise I’ll always be here for you. To guide you, to protect you, and to love you unconditionally. To let you be you, whoever you grow up to be. From the day you were born I have been constantly amazed by you—by the things you’ve been forced to overcome and by the things you’ve forced me to accept and adapt to—and I promise to nurture every piece of everything that makes you so unbelievably amazing to me.

Our journey hasn’t been easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I am so proud of you, and so appreciative of the lessons you’ve taught me. You make me want to be—no, you simply make me—a better person, and I can’t wait to see who you grow into. Just take your time doing it.

Happy birthday, Babygirl. Mama loves you.


About Mrs. B

Wife, mother, marketer--not always in that order. Lover of fine food, good company, and exceptional grammar. Mother of one former micro-preemie and one full-term monster baby. Building childhood memories in Vancouver's suburbs.
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17 Responses to A Letter To The Birthday Girl

  1. Duncan & Dorothy Gillies says:

    Happy Birthday Nyana – what a wonderful tribute your Mommy has paid to your amazing journey. Hope you and Mom and Dad have a wonderful day. Best wishes for many more wonderful years ahead. Love Duncan & Dorothy

  2. How can you be 2 already, Nyana?

    I’ve certainly been absorbed being along for the ride, even from a great distance.

    So much too come, but how nice to just enjoy right now, like you were with those cows.

  3. Mary Ward says:

    Happy birthday Nyana! We all love you even those who haven’t met you yet. And thanks for making me cry this morning, Mommy. And you are right, relish every one of these moments because they do go by so fast but the ride is worth every single second.

  4. Anne Brackett says:

    Dear Granddaughter
    Your Mom wrote a wonderful tribute to you on your second birthday. You will have many memories of your beginning in life as you grow older. You are blessed to have wonderful parents who love you very much. Hope you have a great day…Hugs and kisses Love Grandma

  5. Jackie (jmm) says:

    Happy birthday, Little Miss Sunshine, I look forward to watching you grow and all the birthdays to come. The pictures are all wonderful, but the one that really got me is the second one. Did you notice just how tight those tiny little hands were holding on? It was like she knew what a tough road it was going to be but she was holding on for all she was worth.

    Mom and Dad, you’ve done such a wonderful job with our little Princess. I’m so impressed with how you’ve taken care of her and each other through everything that you’ve endured. Unfortunately, the kind of stresses you’ve dealt with often tear couples and families apart but it seems to have just brought you even closer together. I feel that speaks volumes about each of you and I’m humbled that you have allowed us to take a part of this journey with you.

  6. Juju says:

    Oh, just great, now my mascara is running. Wait. Luckily I don’t have on mascara today, but if I did, it would now be on my chin.

    Happy Birthday, Nyana, wonder child.

  7. Jennifer says:

    What a beautiful post Karen! Nyana has certainly come a long way in two short years. Happy Birthday to Nyana and may she have many more birthdays to come.

  8. Tasha says:

    2!! Already!! What a journey it has been. To an incredible little girl and her equally incredible parents, a most joyous day. Xo

  9. aimi says:

    Happy Birthday miss NY love from your groupie Addi-Jane!!

  10. Crystal says:

    Happy birthday, Nana! Can’t believe you are already two! How far you have come in a blink of an eye

  11. Twiggy says:

    Dear Nyana, you are an amazing little girl. You’re days are full of laughter and fun now and one day you’ll see letters and numbers. You will be in school..and your parents will hear you speak of students and friends..That girl across the hall with the freckles picked on you or the boy at the desk next to you stares. Your parents will fret, laugh, and cry along with you..and worry. Their worries will change as you age. You’ll tell them you’re growing up and they’ll still see that baby they raised. You’ll have to be patient with them… and then one day when you’re a teen, you’ll talk about boys. Your dad will get grouchy and warn you about them. You’ll tell them you’re growing up and they’ll still see that baby they raised…be patient with them. And one day your momma will look at you and see a grown woman. Her heart will swell, because you’ve grown up and she will be remembering that day she saw you in that small incubator… be patient with her…you’ll still be her baby….sigh time flies

  12. Heidi says:

    These photos bring back so many memories. I remember that day when Ny was holding onto Don’s sweater, it was the most touching thing to witness. Such a strong girl from the start. I love reading your words about Nyana and how much she has filled your life with happiness. It’s been 2 years like no other for you guys and next 2 will bring so many more fun adventures and exciting new memories. Love you guys. Birthday Hugs to Nyana.

  13. I can’t believe it’s been 2 years. Happy Birthday little girl. I hope you get the memo about slowing down a bit, as a mommy I wish my babies would hurry up and take their time too!

  14. Kaili says:

    Beautiful~ Happy Birthday, Toddler Girl!

  15. Sue C. says:

    Oh my can it really be?!! Happy Birthday Miss NYANA! Can you really be two & a smidge all ready?!!! Your Mommy sure has a way with words! I had to stop to get the “water” out of my eyes, but it was the good kind so I didn’t mInd. What she says is so true and I know this because I can’t believe my babies have babies of their own! I have no idea how that happened so quickly either. So give your mum & dad a treat & sometimes just hold off growing up so fast!!

    Happy Birthday to our Princess Ny!

  16. Happy Birthday, Nyana!! (And thanks for sharing, Mama. I’m so happy to read this post as well as the previous one. Many congrats on your impending arrival and your new digs in the burbs!)

    (formerly Jen As Herself)

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