for my courtney...

Courtney's first and last encounter with a wide brimmed hat.
She's loving it...not so much!
age 2 - 1994

Hello Blue Eyes,
Happy, Happy Birthday my girl! I have been blessed to hold you in my arms for eighteen years and yet when I close my eyes it feels like just a moment. Oh my daughter there is so much I want to say to you, that I want you to truly know deep in your heart.

You are a miracle. I have lost count of the times Daddy and I thought we would lose you in the past eighteen years.  Too many nights in some generic hospital room, I have whispered my goodbyes to you as another seizure racks your body and literally takes your breath away. As the alarms go off and nurses rush to help I hold you urging you to stay with us a little while longer. I just can't help it. Your my girl. I can't stop the tide that sweeps me away every time your choose to stay and fight one day longer. I know that one day God will say "Enough. Come home" and you will fly to him with such beautiful haste. I know that in my head but my heart will always be completely unprepared to let you go. You have baffled every doctor you have ever met by being a quiet and tenacious witness for life. No one can explain how your still with us. But I know why...

You are loved beyond reason. I prayed for you my whole life. You know that your Mamma grew up surrounded by boys and I dreamed that one day I would have a precious little bundle wrapped in pink. God answered that prayer when he sent me your Daddy who gave me you and Jonathan. When I held you that first time, I saw it all in a moment. Three white dresses. One for your Baptism, one for your First Communion and one for your wedding day. Well my love, two out of three isn't so bad. I held you close to my heart and looked into those deep pools of blue and promised you I would love you forever, no matter what. You were perfect then and you still are. I did not know then the path God had chosen for us but I can assure you that even if I did I would still make that same promise.

April 2010
Your Daddy made one too, many years later. He knelt by your bed and held you your hand in his in the middle of a hospital room and promised you that we would fight for you and with you for however long you needed us to. It didn't matter if that was one hour, one day, one year or twenty. Oh, how that man loves you. Late at night as you sweetly snooze away, he stands over your bed and just takes you in. Sometimes he sings your favorite song "You Are My Sunshine" quietly and you smile in your sleep and sometimes he just watches you breathe. It's a precious thing, your breathing and the sound of your gentle snores make us smile. He never leaves you without giving many, many kisses. I love nights like that.

We both love you with everything we have Court. Know that.

You make us laugh...a lot. Your timing is impeccable as well. You will have your mouth filled with something mushy and green and then it happens. AAAAACHOOO! You sneeze it all over me, Daddy, J-man and half the kitchen. Then you start giggling like it's the funniest thing that's ever happened. Or there was the time when Father B was giving you the Anointing of the Sick before surgery and right as we bowed our heads to pray over you, you ummmm...tooted...loudly. Your brilliant Daddy said "I guess the Spirit moved right through her." I think I actually hurt myself that time I was laughing so hard. Then there's the 60 minute rule you have for Mass. You are peaceful and happy for exactly 60 minutes and then you start to sing at the top of your lungs. Last week Father even apologized afterward. He knew he had gone over because you let him know with panache. There is joy and laughter in our home because you are here.

September 2009

You see the world as God sees it, filled with love. You have your Daddy's eyes you know. The purest grey blue like a troubled sky. It just seems right to me. Your both such deep thinkers. You ponder the world in all it's wonder in the quiet of your heart. I will never forget the last photo taken before you lost your sight. You were so happy, eyes wide open, laughing and clapping your hands. I swear you still "see" the world the same way you did then. There is life to be lived and celebrated. Yes, there is sorrow and pain but God outshines it all, doesn't He? You see that don't you. It's why you always lift your head when we go into to church. Your looking for your Beloved and when you see Him, your face lights up and you start to sing. I watch you in amazement, astonished knowing you can in a way I cannot. You see only LOVE. I wish I were so blessed.
October 2003
You are courageous. Many years ago I came to know that you have accepted this path God placed you on. I don't completely understand how that can be when I still struggle with accepting it from time to time. And yet when I sit with you and we pray there is a calm that descends upon you. It is an amazing thing to witness. I have actually felt the spirit move. He surrounds you and just embraces you. You become a holy space and I thank God for it. I thank Him everyday that He holds you so closely, encouraging you to keep walking in faith thereby inspiring us to do the same. One time I was praying and I had a vision of the Blessed Mother holding Jesus broken body after they took Him from the cross. She was wiping his wounds and whispering soothing words of love like mothers do. In an instant the picture changed and it was me holding you. God was showing me that I serve Him with every act of love I show you. It is an easy thing to love one so brave. You have the hard part my daughter. I will happily serve Court no matter what, no matter when. Always...

Jonathan and Court - 2005
My eyes are leaking as I write this. I can't help it. I am a crier you know. I just want so badly to fix things and make it all better. I want to wipe away that terrified look that comes across your face at the beginning of every seizure. I don't want you to ever feel scared or hurt or alone. But I know that this is totally out of my control. It will not be here in this place that you are healed. It will not be here that you run and jump and dance with grace and beauty. That will be reserved for when you dance at the throne of the Creator. When you run into Jesus arms and are swept away by your Beloved. Oh the glory of that day! It will be filled with such exuberant joy for you.

Until then my sweet girl, it's you and me, Daddy and J. We will LOVE you and care for you ALL the days of your life. We will find the joy in the shadows and we will never give up. Remember what Grandpa Green taught us so well "We walk this way but once, so live like it's your last day." So we shall.

On this day we celebrate another year conquered, not only surviving but thriving as a family. Another year growing closer to our Redeemer. We celebrate life in all it's craziness. We celebrate you my daughter, filled with such grace and dignity.  Court, I learned long ago that you belong to God alone. We just have the privilege of loving you for a little while longer.

Thank you Jesus for the gift of Courtney Elizabeth Lenaburg. Thank you for a year filled with hope and challenge. Thank you for trusting us to love and care for this most precious life. 

I am humbled and honored to call you daughter.
With ALL my love,