And then she was six.

"What will you call it!!!!!!????" "What will you call it!!!!!?????"

Lily demanded, jumping up and down, while simultaneously smacking my thigh.

She was, of course, referring to her birthday blog. Apparently, I've inadvertently established a new tradition in this family; the tradition of the "Ode to you on your birthday. . "

Lily said she had already started the first draft of my very own birthday blog; which will highlight my apparent love of surfing (who knew?!), cooking, Jesus (clearly I am doing something right), yoga and writing articles.

My birthday is not until July--that kid is always early.

I, of course, am late with her blog. But, the lateness is somehow fitting to Lily's arrival six years ago. I've written in dramatic detail about her surprise birth. She was early. I was sick. Then she was sick--a teeny baby with very sick lungs. Then Lily taught herself to breathe--because that is what Lily does; she can teach herself anything.

While she was born early, our mother-daughter bonding happened later. We did not meet until 24 hours after her birth--I was hooked up to an IV and she was hooked up to one million things and on a ventilator in the NICU. While I spoke to her and touched her and pumped milk for her and prayed for her and wrote at her bedside; it was weeks before I could hold her in my arms. And those first couple weeks of holding my Lily had to be done with the help of a nurse. We could not risk disconnecting her CPAP and truthfully: I was so scared I would hurt my tiny teeny baby.

I always feared that this disruption in the early days would somehow make us less connected. That somehow my lateness would just mess it all up.

How silly am I?

The moment I felt Lily in my arms, I was hooked. I know she was too. I watched the monitor as her breathing strengthened and her heart steadied.  We bonded. Instantly.

And then she came home. Every night, when I placed Lily to sleep in her bassinet, she would smile at me. My good night smiles gave sweet dreams. And then she turned one and we celebrated with pink poodles and Eiffel Towers and friends from near and far.

And then she got sick. And then Lily, she got well. And she turned 2 and crawled again.  Then she turned 3 and then, finally, she walked. She turned 4 and she danced. And then she turned 5 and she ran.

And last week, my sweet Lily-Lou turned 6.

mustache. she loved. it (Thanks to Amy at Sweet Pea Pictures!)
Here she is, my 6 year old. A child with a sassy mouth (which I secretly love), a whimsical mind (she is planning to design a wave pool for the backyard; you know, i love surfing), a beautiful voice (she sings like a dream), a heart of gold (she wants to move all the homeless people into our basement), a witty sense of humor (with a wry smile to match), a child with faith (she prays!), an aspiring gymnast (take that brain tumor), a dang good sales person (over 250 Girl Scout cookies told!) and a total free spirit (who else wears a Clifford costume to the Liberty Bell in February).

Lily reminds me everyday that I can do anything--because she does it all.

Happy Birthday Lily. May everyday be a celebration and may your heart always be filled with possibility. We love you.