Chloe (Day 24)

On the evening of January 23, 2009, I spent the night paging through gossip magazines while willing the magnesium sulfate pumping through my IV to not make me hallucinate as it add three years earlier during my first bout with preeclampsia. I needed to focus and find a new middle name for my second daughter, who was scheduled to be delivered at 11 am via a semi-emergency c-section. 

We had a name, Chloe, a greek name which means "To Bloom." She felt like a Chloe--Lily had nicknamed her Baby Cool and I loved the idea of a good theme. I had my flower Lily and now, it was only fitting that as our family bloomed, we would add a Chloe. Plus, my favorite song is "Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns."

Her middle name was still up in the air. Originally, she was to be Chloe Esther, after my grandmother and then someone said, "Oh like polyester!"

So I had to abandon that name (potentially angering my grandmother beyond the grave) and find something new. In one of my gossip magazines,  someone had named their daughter Isabel, which means "God' Promise." And that night, I needed more than my will, I need God to get through the fear and the anxiety and the really anger feelings that another one of my daughters would arrive too soon and end up in the NICU. 

So, Chloe Isabel it would be. Named for all things--God's Promise, blooming flowers, gossip magazines and grunge bands. 

The moment she was born the next day and took her first tiny, pleating cry, that fear disappeared and suddenly, all I could think was: that strong, tiny girl is mine. Later that day, when I finally got to touch her tiny perfect hand, all I could think was: how does she do this? How is she so tiny and do all these living things? 

Then, I finally got to hold her. It was days after her birth--her breathing had to stabilize. I remember the nurse handing Chloe to me--she was only 3lbs and connected to every monitor. She snuggled right up onto my chest, just like she was meant to be there, in my arms and in my heart, forever .

I remember thinking, I am in awe of this daughter of mine. 

And now, Chloe is 12 years old. She's in that transitional place between big kid and teen--and still I am in awe of her. 

You can always trust Chloe to tell you the full truth ("mommy, you look ridiculous"). You can always trust her to apologize. You can always trust her to forgive. And you can always trust her to be solid. You can always trust that Chloe will give everything her all--from cross country to field hockey to school work to being a sister, Chloe is all in. 

I am in awe of her gratitude. I am in awe of her love of her family--not one of us is easy. We are all messy, complicated, noisy disasters, but Chloe loves us as if we are perfect. I am in awe of her determination. I am in awe of her ability to speak to anyone--even a stranger--and have a real conversation with them. 

And I am in awe of how deeply childhood cancer has affected her life, as it has all of ours, and how Chloe takes that damage and picks up all the pieces to make it something beautiful--she turns broken things into virtual galas with balloon arches in our dining room. She takes a scary moment in her family and turns into a profound first person narrative about what it is like to be a sister.  She does not shy away from anything hard, instead Chloe leans in and masters it, even if it takes a long time. 

Chloe is beautiful. Happy 12th Birthday sweet Coco.