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August 31, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dani (2013)

I promise this is not a birth story. I already did that, Here.)

Dani at dinner with her Fried Ice Cream last night
Ten years ago today, it had rained beginning on a Friday night and had rained non-stop Saturday. It actually continued to rain through Monday that Labor Day weekend. It was that heavy, rain that is heavy enough you know it is going to last a while, but not torrential or anything (in our region).

I found out from my doctor on Friday, August 29, 2003 that my pregnancy was continuing fine (due date was September 11) but that I had low fluid. He said if I didn't want to drive to his office every other day for the duration of the pregnancy to get that checked, he was okay with inducing -- the baby looked fine and ready for that. So on Saturday, I set about grabbing the last few things we needed from the store (in the heavy rainfall), toting Sarah around with me. Craig was working his part-time shift so it was just the two of us. We went to Mass, then dropped Sarah off at her Grandma's and headed to the hospital for induction.

Dani was born on a Sunday. And it was Labor Day weekend and I got so much attention at the hospital that I wondered if I was the only person who had a baby that weekend. :) 

Raising Dani has been my first experience with the mommy-guilt associated with splitting time and attention between two children. Of course, since we've gone at this having children thing a total of six times now, you can see I got over it. But a wise man, a father of eight, calmed my fears one day when I mentioned to him how I felt guilty that Dani wasn't getting the one-on-one attention Sarah had gotten and wasn't learning her letters and colors as fast as Sarah had. He said, "Michelle...Dani was born into a situation with a built-in best friend. She doesn't need 100% of your time and attention because she has Sarah." There was more to what he said, but that's the gist of it and I couldn't be more pleased that I adopted this mindset because having more children has never caused me the anxiety that I could have imagined back then.
A couple weeks ago, holding her cousin, Gunnar
At 10 years old, Dani is my child that most loves just BEING who she is at the time she is. She doesn't aspire to be five or ten years older than she is. She doesn't WANT to grow up quickly. She enjoys the present more than anyone I know. She teaches me daily what it means to live in the present, to eschew the past and not pine for the future. It's such a blessing to watch her enjoy playing with dolls, reading fantasy books, continue the imaginary play long past the point that Sarah did. 

Dani's faith seems to me that she truly embraces the idea of a "child-like" faith. She is not as serious as Sarah always was. Dani has the element of joy that comes with her faith experiences. 

Unfortunately that means that when the less pleasant aspects of our human lives infringe on the joyful, Dani takes it harder than the others. The funeral for Gregory was something that touched Dani in her sad realm. It destroyed just a tiny bit of her innocence, but I like how she found the positive quickly thereafter. I remember taking Dani and her sisters out for dinner the Sunday after Gregory died. Dani was talking about sharing with a friend at school her sorrow at losing her baby brother. But then she said, "And then I realized, it's really a great thing...I have a brother in Heaven interceding for me directly to God! Isn't that really cool, (friend)? My family has our own little Saint!" And it brought tears to my eyes then and sobs to my chest, but now it still brings tears to my eyes but a smile to my face.

My sweet, serious, sensitive, smart girl. I love her so much and am so amazed at the beautiful young lady she has become!

Happy Birthday, Dani!!

Happy Birthday!!!!!


  1. Oh my goodness, her quote about Gregory brought tears to MY eyes! What an awesome blessing she is :) Happy birthday!

  2. Aww, what a great kid, and I hope she had an AWESOME birthday!


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