Today is Liv's fourth birthday. It's hard to believe that four years have passed since she made her way into my arms and my heart.
Liv is anything but ordinary. She has moxie. That girl can enter a room and command it at any given time. At a mere four years old, she is a star wherever she goes. Teachers love her; kids love her; babies adore her. She has style, flair, and is as independent as they get. She's always been independent. In fact, I don't remember a time (other than infancy) when she was dependent on anyone. She has always forged her own path, regardless of what the masses were doing or what they were telling her to do. Realistically, she's been like that since she was a toddler. She even had her own particular way of crawling, which wasn't really crawling at all, but a form of scooting along the floor with one leg in front of the other. And no one could make her walk. When she was ready, she did it on her own timetable, completely of her own free will.
She sparkles and shines. She's forceful and opinionated. She can be downright domineering. She can be graceful and gentle. She's compassionate about others' feelings. She will see someone hurt or upset and she will quickly rush to comfort them. She has a soft side underneath her rough edges. She's loud and bold, but she can sing softly and put a baby at ease with her voice or just her presence alone.
She is so creative. She works hard on projects at home and at school. She puts blood, sweat, and tears into everything she does. She visualizes what she wants and she makes it happen. She has an active imagination, throwing herself into a world of make-believe where everyone is a princess and dreams come true. She writes books (yes, books) with happy endings, draws pictures that are so well-crafted that anyone looking at it knows exactly what it is. She's very talented. She tells elaborate stories that include all the important elements of a narrative. Her vocabulary is vast, articulate, and well beyond her age.
She can push your buttons, but knows when to back off. She's competitive, lively, and warm. She has a heart made out of gold and dances to the music she creates in her own head, writing lyrics as she goes. I've never known anyone like her, adult or child. And yet, she is a part of me and all that I am. I made her hands inside my own body. There is a part of me that lives inside of her.
Liv is pure magic. She is spirited and has an incredible work ethic. She's messy, but there's a method to her madness. She knows where everything is at, even if it looks like it's a holy mess. She has a system for everything.
Even though she is just four years old, her soul is much older than that. One look into her gray eyes and you can see that. I firmly believe that she was put in my life to teach me something. And every single day I learn something from her, because of her, and with her.
She is my first-born daughter, my middle child, my twin. She's a chip off the old block, so to speak. I love her for who she is and what she's done for our family. Jack would've been lost without her. It is partially because of her that he has come so far in his battles with sensory processing disorder. She is his best friend, his partner in crime, and his hero.
Liv is someone you always want on your side. She's a strong personality. She was a fighter since the day she was born at 36 weeks gestation, a mere 5lbs., 5oz. She never saw the inside of the NICU because she was such a champion. She and I survived a placental abruption, which resulted in her emergency delivery. We did it together. I remember being terrified that they would take her away and whisk her off into the NICU, where I would have to "visit" her. Instead, she nursed like a trooper, gained weight from the get-go, and slept in my room with me the whole time we were in the hospital. In fact, she slept in my bed with me, cradled in my arms each night. She never left my side; I think she knew I needed her as much as she needed me at the time. Four days later, we went home together. She was my miracle. We were both very lucky to have survived.
"Liv" means "life" in Norwegian. Her name speaks volumes about the kind of person she is. Liv is life. And if I know her as well as I think I do, she's going to do something very important and very meaningful with her life. It will be on her terms, though, and no one else's. She is Liv, after all. And you can't break her spirit because she was born with that.
Liv is anything but ordinary. She would never have it any other way.
Happy Birthday, Liv! You are so very loved!