“Out of difficulties grow miracles.” – Jean de la Bruyere
Quinn, you are three on the third!
Happy golden birthday, or as we called it in my family growing up, happy magic birthday.
I wasn’t going to rehash the whole micro-preemie thing again today, but as I started to write this post (one that was going to recap all the joys of your party yesterday) you crawled up on my lap and saw the photos of you in the incubator. I guess you had not seen them before today. “I have so many owies, Momma,” you said with a sigh. I was surprised that you knew you were looking at yourself.
“Do you remember that time?” I asked gently, but my eyes were teary and in my head I kept saying “Please say no, please say no.”
“Yeah.” Your eyes welled too. I am not lying. They really did. You remember.
“You are better now though, honey. You are big and strong and amazing.”
“Look at that one! Mighty Quinn in a box,” you pointed to the incubator.
“Yes, but now you are home.”
“Yep.” You continued to stare at the screen and I played the entire iPhoto library of your transformation so that you could see how many people visited you and how many people held you and how many people cheered you on. At the end of photographs, you said, “I want my Nuk and I want swiss cheese,” two comfort items for you on opposite ends of the spectrum…
I do not know if I will ever be able to stop telling the story of your miracle or if I will ever be able to not mention it in your birthday letters. I hope that you will ultimately not see those four months as your identity, but as proof that you are capable of continued magic.
At your naming ceremony I told everyone that about how we pasted the title Mighty Quinn on your incubator and how the nurses and doctors would smile in support because you were the smallest baby there, but you were the one with the word “mighty” advertising your strength. Lizzie sang Mighty Quinn to you every single day and I told our friends that I knew the song was really about an Eskimo, but that for me, the lyrics “come all without, come all within” meant to come without expectation, without blame, without guilt, and with, instead, hope and prayer and love. It is true that we “have not seen nothing like the Mighty Quinn.”
Yesterday you stayed awake for thirteen hours in a row, whooping it up at your celebration. When you woke this morning, you said, “Can we go to my party again?” I am so grateful and so happy to celebrate this day with you, Quinn, and I am absolutely smitten with your giggle, your belly laugh, your big eyes that widen with each question, and all three of your dimples. The deepest one, the dip in your chin, will always remind me of your birth. It is the only thing I saw as they rolled you away from me and I saw it as a promise.
I have my first day of classes on this birthday and I am kind of bummed about that, but then I started thinking of all of the times I was sad in the NICU and I turned to my friends and blog followers and asked them to do things for me (on days that your eyes were to be examined, I asked them to eat carrots. If you lost weight, I would ask them to eat cheeseburgers) so I am hoping that for your birthday, everyone who reads this post, especially the community of folks who followed your NICU blog, will find a space in their day to hum or blast or sing “The Mighty Quinn.”
Or maybe, dear reader, you will plan on singing it and then you will forget and then you will think it is okay because how will I know if you did it anyway, but then you will walk into a coffee shop or a diner or a bookstore or you will be trying something on in a dressing room and there it will be, playing on the radio. If that happens to you, know that it is a giant thank you from me and from Quinn.
When you hear it, delight in recognition of miracles.