Sometimes, people have thought that Caitlin was the “replacement child” for Bethany. When I got pregnant with Caitlin, some even asked me if I would name her Bethany. As if Bethany’s life meant nothing. Bethany’s life *did* mean something; it *did* have value, and her gravestone verifies that fact. She lived, and was, and had a purpose. No, I would not give Bethany’s name to my next child, as that would have invalidated Bethany.
This sweet child came home finally, after days and days of my begging anyone I could to take me to the hospital with my pumped breast milk to feed her each day. Because she was on Phenobarbital to control the seizures, she slept a lot. Caitlin was the most beautiful child I had ever seen, and I never tired of looking at her.
Caitlin faced some challenges when she was young, but she was always up to meeting those challenges. The stroke she had had at birth affected the left side of her body, but only her Early Intervention therapist and later on, her ice skating instructor, could notice the lags. I just encouraged her to reach for her dreams. Which she did, wholeheartedly.
Where did the time go? How did this happen? I swear to you, it seems like just yesterday that I held that little bundle in my arms and coaxed her to feed, telling her how much Mommy loved her, how much she was wanted.
And here she is now, standing before me, all grown up and forging ahead to the life she has chosen. The baby I had nourished, the child I had comforted and encouraged, the teen I had guided, the woman standing before me into whom I have invested my heart.
She is reaching for her dreams, and grabbing them. Caitlin has become someone I not only enjoy, but admire. She has turned into a person who is responsible, mature, funny, fun to be with, sensitive, loving, kind, caring, giving, and so much more. She reaches for her goals and doesn’t let any roadblocks stop her.
She’s an inspiration to me, and all I can do is thank the Lord God for making me her mother. I will always feel blessed to have been her mother and had the blessing of having raised her and known her. Caitlin Elizabeth, I love you!