To my Chelsea;
You are a fighter, my sweet girl. For those times that you doubt yourself, this I share this with you so that you know just how far you have come and that you can do anything you set your mind to. I am your biggest cheerleader because I have seen firsthand just what you are made of, Sweetie.
March 20th. marks your 21st. birthday. One that I know you have anxiously been awaiting! It is the first day of Spring...what a special day to come into this world!! The day God knew you would enter into it, but technically, it was 2 months earlier than you should have been born.
I became very sick while I was carrying you and the doctors had to deliver you early. Not only 2 months earlier than should have been, but they told me that you had not grown or received nutrients a good month prior to that. Honestly, I have never been so scared in my life. My belly was so small that some people did not even realize I was pregnant. I could not possibly give birth, yet! I loved you so much and wanted so desperately for you to remain in my belly until you were bigger and stronger, but it was not meant to be.
I was going to be a first time Mommy, but what was going to happen to my baby? There were at least 10 doctors and nurses crowded in the room when you were born and they all stood by with lots of equipment and ready to whisk you away as soon as I delivered you. And that they did. I could barely even get a glimpse of you as they took you to NICU. I did hear the words "it's a girl" and I was sooo excited about that because I really wanted a little girl!
You spent your first month of life in NICU getting stronger and then you were finally ready to come home to us! Oh, how excited we were!! My baby, who I had to leave each and everyday and come home to an empty nursery, was finally coming home!
They sent you home at just 4 pounds and on a heart monitor that you had to be hooked up to 24/7 for the first year of your life. That thing used to scare Daddy and I every time the alarm went off in the middle of the night! Thankfully, they were mostly false alarms!
Now, this is the part I want you to really hear. We were told over and over that you would most likely have delays. You "could have vision problems, you could have CP, you will not walk on time, you will be delayed", etc. We spent your first year going to specialists and having them come into our home. All mandatory for a preemie.
They monitored you very closely for all of the issues that could have held you back. But do you know what? You did not skip a beat. All of the "could haves" and "she probably wont's" were not in your mindset. You showed them. You showed us all just what you are made of. Nothing was going to hold you back. You kicked butt and you kept up with all of your peers who were born on time. You beat the odds, sweetie.
So, now you know where and how you started your life. Hold this in your heart and everytime doubt sets in, remember what you are made of. The sky is the limit and you are a fighter. And I will continue to be your biggest cheerleader, because I know. I know.
Honestly, I could not be any prouder of you. You are such a beautiful young lady, both inside and out. You have a loving and compassionate heart.
You are the best big sister EVER. Ella and Sophie are so blessed to have you. Who else would teach them all of the important things in life...manicures, how to dance, slang vocab and just plain "how to be cool". : ) How many 6 year olds know what Delta Phi Epsilon is and can spot their symbol a mile away?!
Even though Ryan would never admit it, he also knows you are a great big sis and that you got his back.
You are just plain fun and I love your lighthearted "life is a party" personality. The house is always quieter while you are away and we miss you terribly.
There are lots of wrong turns you could have made the past few years, yet you didn't. You have made good, responsible choices and you have always picked wonderful friends...because you are a good friend in return. I am most thankful for that.
Keep on being wonderful you and working hard in college. The sky is the limit and you will always be my little fighter!!!
And most importantly(for you, anyway).....21 Girly!! CHEERS!!!!!
I love you!!!