Today is a remarkable day in the lives of the Minnesota Marlar's and especially for one Ashley Marie Marlar. You see 21 years ago today Ashley Marie Marlar was born and weighed in around 4 pounds 12 ounces (or very close) and with an enlarged heart defect they call Epstein's Anomaly. This was very scary not only for her teenage parents, but the grandparents and rest of the family as well. We didn't know if she would live or die. The Dr.'s didn't know either as this was a very rare condition. They didn't think she'd live past the age of 7. They didn't know if she'd ever talk, walk, anything. They just didn't know enough about this condition. I didn't know she was even born until after the fact because of her fragile condition and daily fight for life. When I got the call from my mom saying Tessie had had a baby girl and that baby was in the NICU, the first thing I said was, "Have dad come and get me!"
You see I was living an hour south in Austin, MN at the time and had no vehicle. My dad rocked at being the family taxi. Anytime we needed a ride, he was there. So he ventured south on very little sleep to come get his oldest baby girl. He knew how important it was for me to be there with my new baby niece who was fighting for the very breath she was taking.
We arrived at Minneapolis Children's 2 1/2 hours later and he brought me in to see her. But before I went in my mom warned me of all the tubes and monitors hooked up to the baby. I was prepared to see all that, but I wasn't prepared to fall in love at first sight.
From the very moment that I saw that baby girl laying in the NICU bassinette she took my breath away and I knew she was going to be a special person in my life forever. I immediately stood there and prayed and smiled for I knew an Angel had been sent from Heaven and God wasn't taking her anywhere anytime soon. But still I prayed. And talked to her. And loved on her. And planned her whole life for us around our Auntie/Niece relationship. And all the fun things we would do when she got out of the hospital. Because she WAS coming home, I just didn't know it would take 2 1/2 months and a couple or so surgeries to get her there. I also didn't know that we'd have MANY more stays in the hospital and many more surgeries to endure.
But through all her trials and tribulations, Ashley has rarely complained and ALWAYS smiled. And we've tried to make it as fun as possible for her. And she's always pulled through, prevailed and amazed her Dr.'s and accomplished the impossible.
Last night Tessie threw a surprise birthday party for her (because this is such a HUGE accomplishment)complete with a DJ (Rick Webb), friends, and families (Marlar's, Drache's, and Winjum's). She had no clue and was absolutely tickled that we would all come together for her. She danced and sang her little heart out and had a blast with everyone there. She said hi and talked to just about everyone that came and went. She'll have those memories for a long time to come.
And she again took my breath away as she turned 21 today.
And I couldn't be a prouder Auntie and Godmother.
I love you Ashley Marie Marlar!!
Happy 21st Birthday Baby Girl!!