My sister-in-law shared this video with me today. An important day that few remember or even know is important. Today was the day three years ago that we finally brought Zoe home from the NICU, after 291 days! It was a day full of happiness, anticipation, complete love, and thoughts of a bright future for our little girl that was given less than a 10% chance of survival. She was beautifully dressed in a jumper covered with pink roses and had on the tiniest little shoes you've ever seen on an 18 pound baby! (Zoe always had tiny hands and feet, they just hadn't quite caught up with the rest of her.) She was wide-eyed, calm, and totally beautiful. Zoe exuded this sense of peace that you can see clearly if you were to watch our "leaving the hospital" video that day and you couldn't help but feel it when you were around her....that is if you took a moment to really see her and not just "care" for her. I can barely remember that discharge day because I was so emotional, part disbelief that we were actually taking her home, part fear that I wouldn't be able to manage her care at home, and part awe at the miracle of her life and the depth of her courage. So much packed into such a little package.
Today passed quietly. I had tearful moments throughout the day...tears over missing her, tears over knowing it's going to be a while before I see her bright smiling face again, tears over simply wishing she was here. I try to remember the joy of this day three years ago and like most things the joy and the sorrow are intertwined. The girls and I got balloons, they each picked a color for themselves to keep (orange for Avery, pink for Lily) and a color from each of them for Zoe. We wrote messages on them when Daddy got home and sent them up to Heaven. I have this movie style image in my head of Zoe playing in a meadow in Heaven...bright green grass swaying in the breeze and the sun shining an intense, warm, and bright, sitting on the horizon. And then I see these three balloons, two green and one purple, pop up through the grass. I see her smile as she grabs thems before they pass her by, and she reads our notes and studies the pictures Avery and Lily drew. I see her stand up and twirl around and around watching the balloons bob and bounce above her head as she holds the strings, her white dress swishing around as she goes. She is joyful, I know she is. She is dancing...just like Avery, just like Lily, and just like the little girl named Grace who the song was written for. Grace was born at 23 weeks...listen to the lyrics, listen closely, and you'll know why this song has touched my deeply.
Me and Zoe October 7, 2007