They sat on the floor near the dollhouse I’d carefully chosen for Amelia’s second birthday, playing a matching game, putting together a puzzle and chatting. I sat nearby, as I always do, close enough for comfort, but not too close as to cause a distraction, my ears half-listening to their conversation.

Twenty minutes before, I’d watched her happily identify each of the planets on my iPad, squealing, giggling, clapping her hands and jumping at each image as it appeared.

I giggled whenever she got to “Uranus,” for obvious reasons.

And now, they were counting, “One, two, free, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, TEN!Ten was met with a burst of applause and a butt-shaking dance, because sometimes, that’s how counting makes you feel. I smiled to myself. I do the applause and butt-shake whenever I’m about to eat an Uncrustables. Or find a new flash mob video. Or vacuum.

Then, they were done.

“Amelia has made incredible progress. What do you think about going down to twice-monthly speech therapy?” Her teacher addressed me now, as Amelia busily got her “MIMI’S Froggie Boots” on.

Words failed to form. I simply nodded.

Whenever I stopped to think about the road we’ve traveled, the one rife with uncertainties, “what-if’s,” “could be’s,” and “maybe’s,” I am overwhelmed. A sweet-and-sour mixture of joy and sorrow; happiness and guilt.

And I am, once again, thankful for everything she has taught me, just as I’m thankful for everything my children have taught me.

From Ben, I learned to become truly responsible for another. He taught me to see beauty in the smallest of things, from a garbage can to Jupiter and it’s moons. I found out just how far I would go to do right for someone else, and I’ve learned to accept people as they are, not as I want them to be.

From Alex, I learned what unconditional love felt like. He was the first person I’d known who loved me simply because. Alex taught me that I was a good mother. From him too, I learned to appreciate how far I’d come. I’d gone from that scared, single mother, the load on her shoulders heavy, praying I’d do right by my firstborn, to the luxury of simply reveling in my new baby.

It’s from Amelia, though, the one with curls like a halo, that I’ve learned the most. Maybe it’s because she’s my clone, looks and personality alike, or maybe it’s because the road we’ve traveled in the past two years has always been rocky, uncertain and scary.

From Amelia, I’ve learned that it is possible to be shattered in a few short moments, by a couple of words, a terrible diagnosis. I also learned that this kind of fragmentation gives you a chance to start again; slowly picking up the pieces of your former life, discarding what you no longer need, adding what you do. All of those fragments of who you were and who you are will be pieced back together through time and love, and the cracks?

The cracks are where the light gets in.

Amelia has taught me to face my dragons head-on, even when the outcome was uncertain: sometimes you slay the dragon, sometimes the dragon slays you. But you can’t run forever.

She’s found Mimi’s Froggie Boots and appropriately cheered, “YAY! I DID IT!” when she managed to put them on “by myself.”

I grabbed my keys and we were out the front door, on the way to preschool. When we got to the edge of the stoop, where she considers the step down treacherous, she automatically raised her hand to mine and asked, “MIMI’S HAND?”

I held out my hand, marveling at how how someone so small, someone with hands like tiny birds, could have an impact so large.

Firmly holding my hand, Mimi lead me into the future.


67 thoughts on “Ring Your Bells.

  1. i’m so happy to see how far she’s come! i remember just months ago watching your proud video where she just said Hi over and over – which was adorably cute by the way.
    you are such an awesome mom and i love seeing this type of post from you.
    hugs mama!

  2. Dammit, Aunt Becky. Now I’m crying.

    P.S. Kiiiiinda want to say “I told you so” because I so called this with your girl. <3
    P.P.S I totally refer to you in my head and out loud as "Aunt Becky." That is officially your name, even if I *did* have to explain it to Chebbar. Silly boy.
    P.P.P.S. Love you.

  3. Beautiful post!!! You are a gifted writer…thank you for your awesome words.

    I am trying to let the light in through the cracks too.


  4. So sweet. I don’t even know your little girl (or you) and I’m cheering for her. What a sweet moment, written about so beautifully. Some day, when your kids are much older, they will read this and smile, knowing how much they are loved. Good job, mom. 🙂

  5. Sweet Jebus that has got to be the cutest kid I’ve ever seen. I want to comment on the whole post but that photo is like kryptonite. “Baby….too….cute…..can’t…move…”

  6. Tears, this is so beautiful. She has come so far. And I know we honorary prankster aunts and uncles are all so proud of her.

    And she is your clone, and so damn beautiful. I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

  7. Amelia has definitely earned her
    This Bullshit Made Me Stronger Motherfucker t-shirt!

    She has her mom’s fighting spirit.

    PS- My 22lbs post that you put on BBT today has received comments that have let a ton of light in through the cracks for me today : ) Thank you.

  8. Oh my God, Becky, that child is gorgeous! Stunning.

    I’ve been reading your words since Amelia was just a bump in your belly. I have been on the journey with you. You are an amazing woman who has slayed her share of dragons and has become stronger because of every single one of them. Here’s to keeping the dragons at bay for awhile.

    I think you’re amazing. Love you.

  9. I seem to have lost my words. Yours were just too beautiful for me to make any kind of sensible comment. Gah! Much love. Keep kicking ass Mimi, you ROCK!!!!!! and congratulations Aunt Becky, you’re amazing.

  10. I remember CLEARLY the day each intervention was ticked off our list and the day finally came when we had no more interventions, treatments, tutoring…nothing!

    What a great feeling!

    And then I was free to fuck that child up ALL BY MYSELF! Just like I did his sisters!!!

    Yep…that was a good day.

    Congrats on your progress

  11. I am so proud of this bundle of curls that I have never met. I am so proud of you, too, for holding her hand through it all. This is the kind of story that gives me faith in humanity. In our ability to learn and grow and thrive. This kind of stuff is what keeps me going when I want to give up. Because dammit, if a girl like yours can overcome the odds, I can damn well survive this stupid autoimmune disorder that’s dragging me down.

  12. I’m not sure what overwhelms me more, the sheer awe at what she’s accomplished or the amazement I have for what you’ve learned and overcome. She is truly beautiful my friend.

  13. I love seeing this side of you! This was such a beautiful heartfelt post! You keep doing what you’re doing Becky cuz you rock to the moon and back!
    Also, I know everyone has already said it, but good gawd could she be any cuter?

  14. Yeah. That girl kicks serious ass. Always has, always will.

    This might call for a butt-shaking dance.

    Love that you got a *good* teacher for her!!!

  15. Wow. I have no words – except maybe: Well, no WONDER “Mommy Wants Vodka”!!! I read all your posts about what ya’ll went through with darling Amelia. I am so glad your story has a happy ending. She is truly an Angel!

    When I was working full time, The March of Dimes walk was my pet project. I always got a team together where ever I worked. Sometimes, I was the entire “team” but even if they didn’t want to walk, everyone would always donate. I’m not able to walk that far all at once anymore, but I continue to donate every year.

    Many more blessings to you and yours!
    Lana D.

  16. I just read all the Amelia entries…and I cried right here at work. Your life’s story is incredibly moving – not just sad, but beautiful and precious as well. You must be so proud of your boys as they love their new sister, sensing the miraculousness of her. I have babysat a toddler that was literally bent on KILLING his newborn baby brother. To have your little ones rise to such awareness and give such love to another at this early time in their lives is a huge achievement in emotional maturity. I’m so glad Amelia has lived to see it.

  17. I love to hear about Amelia. I am so glad that she has made great strides. I can certainly imagine how amazing it must be to hear her voice reaching out to you — and your post makes it all so vivid.

  18. I love this post – it actually mirrors how I feel about my own children so well it’s scary. Thanks for sharing, and she is one beautiful little girl.


  19. Atta girl, Mimi! You’re an amazing girl, just like your momma. You keep showing us all how it’s done. So darn happy for you, Becky. She’s a true gift – thank you for sharing her with all of us. Please to be smooching those cheeks for me now, k?

  20. Ah, Aunt Becky. I love this post, and I love your amazing family, and I love your understanding of what a gift your unexpected path has been. You know I know the bell/crack reference (and now I have that song playing in my head, which is a good thing). Hugs. And light.

  21. Seriously, not sure I can read this at night anymore. You are making me cry right and left and getting me all sentimental. I love it.

    Your daughter is beautiful and you are clearly an amazing Mom.

    Thank you, as usual for sharing your lovely bits of your daily life.

  22. You describe how I feel about my Bunny (Rachell). She, too, is my clone (which un-nerves me for the teenage years, but I can close my eyes to that now). I always thought I’d never have children. Until I met Handsome Hubby. He needed a little girl. I never realised I needed her more. I’m glad to meet someone who also revels in every available second they can, delighting in their child’s awesomeness.

  23. How can you NOT love and learn from a kid who will put on her boots by herself and lead you out into the world?

    Gorgeously written post 🙂

  24. Oh Little Princess of the Bells!! love, love, LOVE IT! This made my heart so happy! (and cohen is now singing in my head…..)

  25. Perhaps also, from Amelia, you’ve also learned that it is IMPOSSIBLE to be shattered in a few short moments, by a couple of words or a terrible diagnosis as long as Hope sings, Love risks and Light dances through the cracks.

    I salute your house and Hearts!


  26. I’m so delighted for you! You’ve made such a journey for such a young woman. Children are sent to humble us but they also bring indescribable joy! I look forward to your having many more moments. Come visit when you can.

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