April 21, 2024 3 min read

As a mother, every day brings its share of worries and wonders, but some days are etched in your heart with a special kind of magic that speaks directly to the soul. Yesterday was one of those extraordinary days—a full-circle moment that reminded me how intricately and beautifully life is woven by a higher power.

From the moment Olivia came into this world, born at just 23 weeks gestation as a twin, her life was a fight for survival. Weighing only one pound and one ounce, she and her twin sister, who tragically passed away just an hour after birth, faced the monumental challenges that come with being born 16 weeks early. Olivia's early days were marked by an urgent battle for life that began with her being intubated and placed in the NICU at CHOC Children’s. She was intubated for the first three months of her life, a tiny transparent body amidst a maze of tubes and machines, each day critical.

Her journey through the NICU was a tapestry of challenges, with every thread representing a hurdle she has crossed with the courage of a seasoned preemie warrior. Underdeveloped lungs, ROP and multiple surgeries tested her resilience, and a harrowing cancer scare reminded us of the fragility and preciousness of her life. Despite these daunting challenges, Olivia's spirit remained unbroken. Watching her grow has been a testament to her resilience—a constant reminder that miracles happen, and they come in the smallest, fiercest packages.

This journey, filled with its share of shadows and light, led us to yesterday’s heartwarming event, “Day of the Child” in Corona/Norco, where our community gathers annually to honor young lives that embody bravery and inspiration. This year, my Olivia was selected as the event’s Princess, a recognition for children who have faced and overcome great adversities.

The moment they announced her name, the air filled with applause and cheers, my heart swelled with gratitude so profound it brought tears to my eyes. Olivia, my brave little girl, stood there basking in the glow of recognition, her journey acknowledged by the very community that has seen her grow from a fragile infant into a vibrant, thriving girl. The title of Princess, which I had lovingly bestowed upon her as a baby, felt divinely appropriate as she wore her crown with a grace that belied her years.

As she stood on the stage, her smile radiant and her eyes bright with the promise of so many tomorrows, I couldn't help but reflect on the path we have traveled. Every struggle, every setback, has been part of a larger, beautiful divine design that has shaped not only Olivia but also me, her mother, who has stood by her side and been her biggest advocate every step of the way.

This event wasn’t just a celebration of overcoming odds; it was a celebration of life itself, of the potential that lies within each of us, and of the incredible journeys that unfold when we dare to believe in the possible. Olivia’s story is one of hope, of not just surviving but thriving against the odds. It’s a story that continues to inspire everyone she touches.

Being her mother is a privilege that teaches me more about love, resilience, and the divine intricacies of life every day. Olivia is more than just my daughter and our family’s princess; she is a living testament to the power of unwavering faith and perseverance. Her crowning as Princess is not merely a title but a recognition of her light and strength that shines brightly for the world to see.
As we continue on this journey, I am reminded of the incredible blessings that come from embracing every moment with gratitude and courage. Olivia’s life, marked by its early arrival and tremendous challenges, is a profound narrative of triumph, and as her mother, I am ever honored to be part of her story. She teaches me, and all of us, the true meaning of resilience and the beauty of a life lived with unyielding spirit.

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