On the eve of 16 (Day 71, Year 2)

On the eve of 16, I find myself a bit speechless. Sometimes I think I've said everything about Lily once before; told the same stories; talked of my pride for this unlikely warrior girl I've been entrusted to love. Other times, it seems there are simply not enough words to share the beauty of my daughter with the world. 

Lily is, well, Lily is alive. 

Friends, 16 years ago, I had no idea if my daughter would live the night; or the week. And then Lily did. 15 years ago, I had no idea if my daughter would celebrate her second birthday, let alone every milestone that followed. And here she is, on the eve of 16, with the world at her feet. I don't doubt other birthdays, now, ever. 

Lily is a miracle. 

She isn't a miracle because she has survived being born prematurely with very sick lungs and weighing just 2lbs 14oz. She isn't a miracle because she survived a malignant brain tumor when she was just 14 months old. And she isn't a miracle because she's survived two emergency surgeries to repair her shunt. 

Lily is a miracle because of everything she's done between those hard places. 

Lily is a miracle because her lungs power her as she rows and sings; when her sick lungs made doctors fear she wouldn't breathe. Lily is a miracle because she dances when they said she wouldn't ever walk. Lily is a miracle because she stands up and tells her story to rooms full of strangers, over and over again when often she is dismissed by classmates who can't really see her for the warrior she is. Lily is a miracle because she shows up at crew every single day, practices twice on Saturdays; but still isn't given time on the water. Lily is miracle because there are still so many things she has not accomplished and there are so many things that the world tells her she should not want--but Lily wants it all and she plans for it all. Lily does not listen to the world; Lily listens to the divine drumbeat that has driven her along this path from the moment she existed. 

Lily is a miracle because she lives, friends. 

She falls and fails, sometimes more often than she succeeds. She is scared, a lot. But every single day, she wakes up and she lives. She sings and she dances and she laughs and plans and she rows and fights and asks and she demands everything from this life. 

And that is always the miracle I see when I see my daughter, Lily.

Happy Birthday to one of the most incredible human beings in this world, the one who smiles quickly, loves fully, falls often, stands up more and can melt my heart with a "Hey Mom." 

We love you, Lily.