All children are special. All children are unique. Each of my children is my favorite child. Today, I want to take a moment to celebrate the life of my daughter, Lilly. She is eighteen years old today.
Lilly was born in Richmond, VA. She had a beautiful headful of dark hair and dark blue eyes that eventually turned hazel. When she was three days old, Lilly quit breathing, once at home, with the very traumatic experience of fire engines, ambulances and CPR techniques, and twice again at the hospital. She stayed in the hospital for a week and on a monitor for almost a year. The medical community’s best diagnosis was a captured SIDS episode caused by low motility in her esophagus (abnormal contractions of the esophageal body) and hypertonia (an increase in muscle tension with reduced ability for muscles to stretch) in her neck/shoulder girth area.
As a toddler, Lilly had a wild mane of thick gorgeous hair and a deep husky voice. She was beautiful inside and out. People would stop me on the street and want to talk about her. I heard it all from strangers – she was an angel, she had a gift, she had an aura around her, she was special. And she was special, our silly Lilly beans.
Her nickname, “Silly Lilly,” was given by her preschool teacher, Donna Corbelli. Lilly loved to laugh or quietly play the straight man to a prank. Many a day, I caught her sneaking cookies, vehemently denying her guilt as cookie crumbs spilled out of her mouth.
Lilly frightened us again when she was almost 11 . She developed an unusual childhood illness called HSP (Henoch-Schönlein Purpura). It is normally a benign illness, a self-limiting condition that settles after a few days or less likely weeks, but not for our Lilly. She spent two weeks in the hospital, enduring numerous, ominous predictions of her imminent demise and countless tests. At one point, she was stuck 21 times as they tried to find a vein for an I.V. They finally settled on placing it in her neck as she was vomiting blood the entire time. It took her two years to fully recover.
Lilly is one of the bravest people I know. She lives life with a confidence and courage that I rarely see around me. She knows who she is and more importantly she knows and loves her Creator. Lilly is a picture of calm and anyone who has spent time with her can attest to her natural, reassuring presence. She spends a lot of time sitting at the feet of Jesus and it quietly, subtly radiates from her.
She is a superb cook and baker. She loves music, theater, the arts and the hunt for a new and exciting cultural event. She is a self-taught seamstress. She has dressed with a flair beyond her years since she could say, “No, I want to wear this, not that!” She has taught herself to play numerous instruments. I love to listen to her at the end of a long day as she pours her heart and soul into a song at the piano. When she plays, it is not mechanical; it is an experience of feeling the emotions and the power in every note written.
Lilly is an amazing young woman. I am proud to call her my daughter and friend. I love her very much.
You inspire me to love more, rest easier, laugh often, go with the flow, embrace what life brings my way and to cherish who I am because of Who created me!
Happy 18th Birthday, Lilly!