I can’t believe that you are turning 8 today. It seems like just yesterday that we were driving to the hospital, excited to hold you in our arms. I had so many dreams and hopes for you. I wanted to see you stroll in a garden and pick flowers for your hair, hear you learn to play an instrument, perhaps a cello and teach you to cook all of my favorite things. I’ve had a hard time letting go of those dreams. As I struggled to accept the reality of what your body would let you do, you have quietly guided me, teaching me, inspiring me. Slowly I am learning that there are dreams bigger than learning to make an apple pie or play a cello. You have taught me to slow down, to wait, to leave room. As I have slowed down to meet you where you are I have been able to witness joy, peace and love more pure and intense than anything I had ever imagined. The strength that you share each day in your vulnerability is a gift that I never would have picked but in some weird way Claire, it has helped to save us from being normal. Without you taking me into Rettland, I never would have known just how varied and beautiful the world is. Thank you Claire, for hanging in there with me as I am still learning. I might not always remember all of the details, pick up on your subtle clues but I promise you that I will not give up, I will keep trying and keep fighting, with you and for you as we learn more about life here in Rettland.