Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Letter To Liviana on her 10th Birthday

My Livi,
Today is your 10th birthday.  TEN!  Double digits.  It is always such a milestone of excitement.  I can imagine this morning in our home.  You come bounding down in the morning with a leap off the last stair.  “It’s my BIRTHDAY”, you announce proudly.  You ask me for cereal, because it was always your favorite.  I joke with you about the bib you had when you were little that said, “I love cereal”.  You tell me you remember it and want another one.  That’s your sense of humor.    You make sure everyone in the house is aware that you are now in double digits.  You bring me a brush to help you with your long, dark, curly hair.  You hate the tangles but love your curls.  You ask Adelina where your favorite purple barrette is…”you know, the one I let you have and you said you would give back”.  Adelina goes looking and brings it back.  She is 6 and loves being your mini-me.  Everyone always comments how much you look like one another.   You are her hero.   You find Miles to make sure he knows it’s your birthday.  He does.  You are his mini-me.  You two are only 14 months apart and it shows in how close you are.  You talk to him about your upcoming basketball games…who you are playing, what position you will play, bets about how many points you will each score.   You look up to him and always want to impress him.  He looks up to you too, because you are so strong and fearless.  I’ve asked you three times now to get your shoes on.  They still aren’t.  You are always the social butterfly, needing to check in with everyone each morning.  It is fine.  You have always been the glue of the family.  You are chatting away with your big sister Aria.  She is your protector.  She is showing you an app on her phone as you both laugh hysterically.  You are scooping up Roman so we can all hear his cute belly laugh, as Cecilia hugs your leg and Cristiano asks you to help him with his coat.  You still don’t have your own coat on, so I give the last reminder to all, before we have to head out the door.  I turn around to see you sitting on the couch with G, as he reads the book he got for his birthday just two days before when he turned 8.  He beams to share it with his sister…you have each declared one another “best friend” a time or two.  You deemed him your BFF before he was even born. 

I  can close my eyes and see this morning in my mind.  I will do my head count as we get ready to go and have that constant, nagging feeling that someone is missing.  It happens on a daily basis.  I always feel like someone is the other room, when I can see everyone together.  I hold onto the belief that you are always with us.   It never goes away…and I don’t want it to.  As long as I can close my eyes and still sense you, ever present in my day, then my grief will not spill out and keep me from living.   Ten is hard.  I have so many friends with daughters born within one weeks, even days of you, also turning 10.  I look at their birthday parties, their photos, their cakes, their birthday dresses, smiles and friends.  I have joy for them, because that is the spirit you instilled in our lives.

Giovanni is home today.  It has been one virus after another since December with your brothers and sisters.  I sat down on the couch with him and listened to him read that book that I envisioned him reading to you this morning.  Tears welled up in my eyes because he struggled with reading and is doing amazingly now at his new school.  You would be proud.  Had MLD not changed our lives you would be the one sitting with him.  Had MLD not changed our lives, we may not take these moments to deeply appreciate the little things.  I always look for the silver lining…you taught me that Livi. 

Your world in heaven is filled with many friends.  Children that I have loved from afar and many in person,  among our MLD world.  Tyson, Bailey, Peyton, Gummy, Eden, Jenna, Scarlett, Loie, Dennis, Anabelle, Oliver, Katelynn, Makaeya, Emma, Thomas and so, so many more.  They are all there with you, with balloons, with cake, with fun games and lots of laughter.  I have to believe there is joy with you, and all of your warrior friends now. 

I’m sure you remember your 2nd birthday.  It was your last “healthy” birthday.  Giovanni was just 2 days old, so my “momming” was not the best.  You, Miles and Aria all wanted a piñata for your birthday.  We got a cake, which we dropped and had to reassemble, and a piñata.  We quickly realized we did not have anything to hold the piñata or even strike it with.   Brad rigged up a broom with a rope to hold it up in the middle of the room.  We used a knife sharpener to hit the piñata.  It was a classy party.  This was truly comedy.  I told the kids this story this morning, sprinkled with Aria’s memories.  Adelina could not stop laughing.  She thought your 2nd birthday was hysterical.  They don’t know it yet, but I am going to get a piñata today.  We will celebrate your 10th birthday tonight, share our memories, get weepy, and love on your spirit that surrounds us. 

I hug them all each day for you Livi.  You taught me so much, and continue to teach me so much.  Happy 10th Birthday Angel.