Thursday, April 3, 2008
Tomorrow is a big day in the Needham household and it actually does not involve Zoey! Tomorrow is Jessica Leigh's 21st birthday! Our first born is 21! Wow, so hard to believe. It is so strange when your child reaches an age that you can vividly remember yourself. There is so much I would love to share with you about this amazing child of mine but none of it would come close to doing her justice in this small space of mine, you just have to know Jessica or Jeka Lee, ooggie -booggie or j-bird as she is often referred to. She entered this world at 5:25 pm eastern standard time and she instantly changed me forever, us forever. She was and continues to be the easiest child by far. You could at various times in our household , over hear one of the others saying, "Oh ,yeah, Jessica, the perfect one! " Now depending on what kind of mood I was in at the time , my response could be either, "Don't be silly she's not perfect " OR " Yes, you are right, maybe you could get some pointers from her." I think you can get the picture. She came into our lives at just the perfect time. Getting us out of that early selfish 20 something stage. She also changed the life of my Grandmother. Mark and I were 22 and 24 when Jessica was born and we lived with my Grandmother who had had a stroke. Most of the relatives wanted to place her in a nursing home but my Mom and Dad who were already in California approached us with the idea of moving in and caring for her. We were young and extremely naive and figured how hard could it be? New baby, new marriage, grandmother who required around the clock care, no problem. It was a very challenging year and a half but so worth every moment. People have often said that if we could make it through that first year we could make it through anything. Who knew 21 years later we would be facing similar challenges with the same statement being applicable? I think however, that is where my first "medical training" began. Hospital bed , bed pans, blood pressure machines, P.T appointments, etc.. The gifts I received from that period of time far exceeded any burdens I had to carry. I had the opportunity to truly get to know my Grandmother. Not only recalling things from my childhood perspective but now as a young woman, a mom. I gained a new found respect for aging and that coming full circle thing as one is faced with illness and ailing later in life. It is a lesson I have taught my children, that we will all grow old one day, so treat others accordingly. My grandmother lost her zest for life but Jess gave her a spark back and was the only thing that brought a smile to her face. They loved each other, these two people, separated in age by decades but both needy and vulnerable at the same time. Thank you Jess for giving Grandma a reason to keep going. Thank you for saving me from myself. Thank you for being an incredible example to your siblings and all the while knowing that this has been an awesome responsibility and at times a burden. Thank you for being a person grounded in goodness, honesty, loyalty and faith. We are so proud of you. So, on this eve of your birthday may you know how completely you are loved , unconditionally, always. God blessed us far beyond all our wildest dreams the day He sent you to us. May your day be filled with love and laughter Jessica Leigh, you have given us all that and so much more!