Happy 17th Birthday Emily

Today was Emily’s 17th birthday. 

My baby is getting older… And I am so proud of the young lady she’s becoming. 

She is the reason for this blog, she is the reason that I am who I am. 

My baby is 17. 

Her Cri du Chat Syndrome diagnosis doesn’t define her. She defines herself!

Over the years, when other kids went to birthday parties and sleep-overs, Emily stayed home with us. 

The thing is, it’s difficult for her to make friends.  She has been invited to less than a handful of birthday parties in 17 years.

This year, a couple of really great things happened. 

First, she got a birthday card from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.    


Who else got that?  

She also got tons of Facebook messages and likes!

I posted on my wall that my baby is 17. My status received 93 likes and 48 comments. I’ve read them all to Emily. 

I posted on the Cri du Chat support group and we got 97 likes and 26 comments. Again, I took time to read them all to Emily. 

Emily’s runner from the “I run 4 Michael” group posted on the group’s Facebook page that it was Emily’s birthday. We got 133 likes and 27 comments. 

If you have a child who is sick or has special needs, you should really look them up on Facebook. Hundreds of runners are looking for buddies to dedicate their training to and build a friendship with. It’s an amazing community. We love our runner Sonia. 

Today, my girl received over 300 likes and 101 comments so far.  She received birthday wishes from all over the world!

My girl today felt like a rock star and has I took time to show her posts of Hello Kitty and Koala wearing birthday hat, I cried. 

It’s amazing how much I have cried in the last 17 years. 

Sad tears, happy tears, upset tears, proud tears. 

Happy Birthday Baby girl!  Thank you for loving me and being my favorite girl. You are awesome. 

And, yes!  You can have a Frozen theme party for your 17th birthday. 

I love you!   


Clearwater Marine Aquarium

I am worried my words can’t do justice to the day we spent at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

After 2 years and 8 months working on this, on Monday May 5th, I woke-up and took this picture.  My girl slept like a rock the night before.  I thought the excitement would keep her awake but I guess the flight and shopping tired her.

I got us all dress in matching outfits. That’s a sight you will not see that often!

We rented a car and started driving from Orlando to Clearwater.

We saw this!

Eventually, this!

And finally these!


It was a gorgeous day in Clearwater.


We were VIP’s 🙂


This is Emily looking at Winter.   She had tears in her eyes.

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Emily relates to Winter in a way that none of us can see or feel.

None of us!

Which is why I’m worried my words can’t express the magic we witnessed that day.

Since the very first movie preview…

Emily wanted to know more about Winter the dolphin that never gave up.

Winter who, against all odds, survived and now thrives.

Winter, the dolphin who inspires thousands to move forward.

We took a behind the scene tour… We learned about the history of the place, we saw the turtle intensive care unit, Emily asked questions and contributed to the tour.

When Emily heard Winter whistled, it was as if the whole world made sense.  She was so happy.  She had stars in her eyes.

I probably have a couple of hundreds of pictures of our day.  Picking the ones included in this post was challenging.


Here is Emily getting ready to meet Hope (Winter’s buddy) and finally, Emily listening to Mallory and playing with Hope.

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I cried while taking these pictures.

I can try to explain why I cried…

When Emily was diagnosed with cri du chat syndrome, we were told she would do nothing.

Never walk, talk, not recognized us, not show or even comprehend emotions.

When I saw her listen to Mallory and reach out to Hope I was slightly overwhelmed.

New parents assume their kids will do things and experience life.

After Emily’s diagnosis, all of our hopes and dreams were crushed.

All those new experiences, small or big, they are all big wins for us!

So, I cried.

Just a couple of tears really.

One tear for my baby girl who struggled with everything from drinking, to gaining weight, to sleeping…

One tear for my 24 year old self who cried so much.

One tear for all the doctor and therapy appointments who took over our lives.

One tear for our crushed dreams who are slowly coming true.

Thank you Becca for your help in making this dream come true.

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We saw Winter getting her tail put on.


Emily received the cutest USB key ever made.


Our visit continued at the museum.


And concluded with a Sea Life Safari tour.

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Thank you Sunshine Foundation of Canada and Thank you Clearwater Marine Aquarium