This week we took Gwendolyn’s 4th birthday photos with the incredible Jennifer Foster from Z’s the Day Photography. Yep, in just a little over a week our baby will be a big four-year-old — and she knows it. Miss G has been so proud of herself lately. She loves helping plan her party. She lights up when anyone mentions her birthday. And she was so excited to have her pictures taken, especially when we said they were her big girl four-year-old photos.
When I look back on Gwendolyn’s first birthday photos, her second, her third, it is impossible not to see the mark SMA has left. Her cheeks are no longer strong enough to smile the big gummy smile she had at one. We no longer see her sly playful grin from two. But I look at these photos and I don’t feel sad because I see life and joy and fulfillment. Gwendolyn’s tenacity to try new things, her gumption to want to be part of everything, her courage, her strong will, her complete faith in us to help make her desires attainable has sparked a fire in us we did not before possess. And as she demands for more, she forces us to figure out how to give her the life she wants. And, in the process of living this way over the last four years, something else has changed in us, too — we are no longer scared.
With an illness like SMA and all of its impossibilities, sometimes knowing your time is limited can be a gift. It isn’t the chosen way, but knowing that each day is precious allows us to not take them for granted. We don’t wait to experience things. We don’t put important things off. And we definitely don’t pass up an opportunity to celebrate Gwendolyn’s life because her life is now. She will never be 3 years and 356 days again.
I look at these photo and I see possibility…the start of a new year with so much fun, so much new, so many more adventures ahead of us.
These are just some of the images Jen from Z’s the Day took, so head over to the Z’s the Day blog to see the rest (and we’d love if you’d leave a comment on her post so we can receive a special gift :)).