My sweet girl, today you are 9 months old.
We are now officially in winter (even though it doesn't feel like it some days) and we've just finished Thanksgiving.
I still have dreams of decorating the house, setting up the tree, and watching the wonder of Christmas in your eyes for the first time. Of visiting your grandparents and watching as they spoil you with treats and toys. Of being joyfully exhausted after bringing you to all your first holiday experiences.
Our Thanksgiving this year may not have been anything like what we had hoped it would be, but sweetheart, we still have so much to be thankful for.
If you were here, you would've had to sit through the traditional table rounds of gratitude, so this month that's exactly what we're going to do. Just because you're in heaven doesn't mean you get to skip out on the family traditions, love. :)
We are thankful:
Sweet girl, you, knowing you, growing you, holding you has been the single greatest accomplishment of our lives.
Your daddy and I thank God daily for every breath you took, every beat of your fighting heart, and every detail of your face. For every hair on your head, every fiesty kick, and every time you proved the doctors wrong. For every time you squeezed our fingers, every time you made us laugh, and every time you changed our plans.
We praise God for every single second you were on earth with us.
For the way that a little thing like death doesn't stop you from being ever-present in our lives. Even from heaven you're changing the world. We are so incredibly proud of you, Norah.
FOR OUR FAMILY.
Thank you for walking with your daddy and me on this journey, holding our hands and drawing us nearer to each other and to God. You have changed us from two to three, and together we are strong; together we can walk through fire.
Norah, you showed us how to take life day by day, how to find joys even in the hardest moments. Because of you, we're able to navigate the of experience your Grandma's life with cancer a little more mindfully. We're thankful for every day we have with your Grandma and how she is filled with a peace that surprises all her doctors.
We're thankful for the rest of our families, some of whom met you, all of whom loved you from the start.
For your grandparents – Grandma and Grandpa Green who loved you fearlessly, made you your quilt, and refused to let cancer overshadow your life. Grandpa Lance who prayed for you daily and would’ve given you every little girl's dream – a pony. Grandma Diane and Grandpa Clint, who read you stories and would've spoiled you rotten.
For Uncle Luke who sat with you in the NICU and told you all the best stories. For your "aunts" and "uncles" — our dearest friends (the ones who you would've grown up around, never really knowing if you're actually related to them or not) who have been with us every step of the way.
Norah, we are so thankful for this community you’ve built around us. For everyone from Instagram friends, facebook followers and HelloNorah readers, to our Faith's Lodge family, our GriefShare group, and my 'Grief Hour' ladies. For them honoring us with their stories, for meeting your angel friends.
For all the kind words, messages, cards, and gifts we've received. For every single prayer, heartfelt hug, and meal provided in love.
For the incredible generosity of this community. For the organizations that have supported our family — The Ronald McDonald House, Faith’s Lodge, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, Wishes & More, Fiona's Hope, and others — and being able to give back to them.
For your story being the holiday letter for Ronald McDonald House – Upper Midwest.
For caring employers and coworkers who continue to honor your life and our grief.
For access to the best healthcare. For every midwife, nurse, technician, doctor, and specialist that came alongside us. For your entire NICU team. For our amazing doula who is now a dear friend. For the receptionists that knew us well and greeted us with smiles every time. These individuals who carried us through our medical journey are true angels.
This holiday season is different than we planned; our lives have functioned in unknowns for over a year now. But Norah, as you've shown us, even in the midst of heartache and fear there is still joy, there is still peace, there is still love.
And for that, we thank God.
Love you forever.