Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart



...while I rocked our baby girl I found myself missing our little girl. The one who was once little enough to be snuggled up on my chest just as Ashley Kate is now. The one who is now too old for that little girls room and required a grown up, more sophisticated one. The one who is old enough to know that her hair WOULD look good if I would just allow her to cut it off and show me. Yeah, thats the little girl I am missing. Funny thing is that she is now too old to really be missing me as she goes out to breakfast, to the movies and shopping with her cousins who also were once little enough for me to cuddle up with as well. She had a whole five minutes of time to spare for me today as I told her how much I missed her and couldn't wait to see her.

Today was an odd but nice kind of day for me. For some reason my heart kept becoming nostalgic for times past, but still so grateful for the moments I was witnessing. I told you it was odd. Blake and I spent the day taking care of Ash together. He loves to be the one "watching" her as I go about my daily chores. He scooped her up and took her to his room(one of her absolute favorite places in our home). She laid in the middle of his bed watching him clean(the kind of cleaning a 12 year old boy can do:) and was content just to be near him. She wasn't her usual silly self today, but a little more lethargic and restful. Still not feeling that good, but not that bad either. Anyway, I watched the two of them together and thought to myself how grown up my son is and how grown up our little pickle is becoming. Time is passing in our home. It is going quickly. When I see the children and who they are now I realize that our family is changing in ways I could have never imagined. We are on the verge of not having little children and a baby among us, but having young adults and a toddler in our midst. Blake is 12 years old now. A young man. So grown and mature for his age. His smile melts me daily and his wisdom in the situations I share with him humbles me. All of this and yet he is still kid enough to have huge dreams about baseball contracts,first cars, and high school championships won with all his Tarheel buddies. I love my son. My Allison, who now informs me she would like to be called Allie instead, has changed as well. Perfume, haircuts, manicures, and more. Bedrooms with velvet, satin and lace have replaced the pink and yellow walls and garden gates that once hid bunny faces and butterflies. Its funny because her bedroom is so grown up, but hidden on the shelves behind her door sit a collection of stuffed bears she can't bare to part with, her American girl doll whom she loves with all her heart, and a growing rock collection that she began at the age of 2. Grown up at 10 but yet still a little girl who loves to climb trees, play in the dirt and collect rocks. I love who she is right now, but still miss the long pony tail, dress up trunk and tea parties. Then there is our Ashley Kate. Our tiny baby who it seems we waited our whole married lives for. That frail little body who housed a spirit and a soul stronger than any I had ever met. Although her body is growing and changing in miraculous ways her mind is still so young. Do you realize that our baby will be 3 years old in just 2 months. The tears are welling up inside of me as I type that. My arms have goose bumps and God honestly and truly takes my breath away each time I allow myself to think about having her for 3 whole years. What a difference her little life has made in mine. On Saturday we will celebrate her "Gotcha Day" and thank God for giving her to us forever. Never again did I have to worry about anyone saying she wasn't mine. I knew it from the very first moment, but the law required mountains of paper work, court dates, home studies, and more. To be completely honest, I DON'T long for those early days in her life to return. The days where I longed to hold her, touch her and tell her how loved and wanted she was, but was held back because of the paperwork were the hardest of my life. How proud I am of her for holding on until we could get there. Each day we are given with her is a marker in my heart that God is not finished with our miracle baby and He has so much to still do in her life and her recovery.

The house is now quiet. Dave is sleeping. Blake has called me back into his room to tell me how much he loves me. Allie's bedroom sits empty waiting for her to return. No music coming from behind her door tonight. Ashley Kate stirs in her bed still battling a very low fever and fighting sleep. I sit here fighting off thoughts of what could be causing her the "yuckies" and not allowing myself to get too worried or worked up over it. We will know soon enough if something is wrong. No sense in making it worse. I will send more blood to the lab tomorrow to check her white blood cell counts and her chemistries in search of answers. I just figured out that I'm tired from the day and from all the work that follows the weekends. I suppose I will join Dave in our room close my eyes putting an end to this odd but pleasant day. Goodnight my friends. Trish


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