The American Calgarian

Tales of a Midwesterner transplanted in Western Canada

An Eventful Week

The first week of November is always a noteworthy one in our household.  It starts with Halloween and my brother-in-law’s birthday.  And, as usual, this year we got caught up in the all the Halloween hullabaloo and it was almost midnight before we had a chance to call him, (sorry, buddy, we were talking about you all day, if that helps). 

November 1 would have been JB’s Grandmother’s 98th birthday.  She “met her maker”, as she would have said, in May this past spring.  I think about Grandma often.  She had such a way about her.  Like Snow White, animals just seemed to come to her, sensing her kindness.  She was a regular churchgoer and everyone knew her.  Going to church, or a church function, with Grandma was like walking into Boston’s Cheers with Norm.  She was open-minded, yet had strong opinions and was not afraid to voice them.  I enjoyed talking politics with her, as her historical context and rich life experiences added weight to her opinions.  She could name a bird by its song.  In fact, when JB and I returned from her memorial service we heard a bird singing in our yard.  Its song was beautiful and bright and caught the attention of our boys.  They asked what kind of bird it was and I replied that I did not know.  The Girl got a faraway look in her eye and said, “Grandma would know”.  It’s those kind of moments when you know the impact one person can make on another.  I am grateful to have known JB’s Grandmother, as she was an amazing woman.

And then, the week is complete with the Girls’ birthday.  I could go on and on about her birth story, but we’ll save that for another day.  Today I would like to celebrate all that she has accomplished in her eleven years.  The Girl was born at 29 weeks gestation (normal pregnancies are 40 weeks).  She weighed in at 1 pound, 10 ounces and was 13 inches long.  She was screaming and translucent when she was born.  The screaming was a great sign due to her prematurity and the translucency was expected, also due to her prematurity.  She was off a ventilator in about 3 days.  She had double hernia surgery when she was a few months old.  She hit milestones a bit behind her “corrected’ age, but hit them nonetheless.  We marveled at how this little, fragile being grew into a school-age kid. 

What is a baby born prematurely able to do?  The Girl started school on time and continues to work hard at her studies.  She rides her bike all over.  She has skied black diamond runs in the Rockies and has run a 5K at a pace many adults can only dream of.  She has competed in two community swim meets and had a blast doing so.  She plays soccer and piano.  But most of all, she never quits.  Just like that little fighter in the NICU eleven years ago, she continues to overcome obstacles in her path.  As she has grown she has developed an optimism which serves her well.  Watching her grow is bittersweet.  I love the baby she once was, adore the girl she has become, and would like to slow down time as she grows into a young woman.

Happy Birthday to all in our family this week!  Especially my daughter, for whom I am immensely grateful to have my life.


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7 thoughts on “An Eventful Week

  1. blogginglily on said:

    Which reminds me. This morning we were talking about her birthday and how we have 1) no address, 2) no phone number and 3) i. . . i just wanted three on the list.

    How much longer will you continue to hide from us??

  2. Heather on said:

    Happy Birthday!!!! Erika, I love your blog!!!! I think I see a second career for you:)

  3. I remember meeting The Girl in the NICU. I remember JB putting his wedding band around her wrist and it was the size of the moon in comparison to that little wrist. I remember talking to my dh on the ride back to the Flatlands and being in total awe of the miracle we witnessed. I remember when you told us you were pregnant with her. Thank you for sharing and Happy 11th Birthday!

  4. Amy,
    Thanks for the comment.. brings back so many memories and gives me pause..

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