“She was scarcely half as long as a thumb and they gave her the name of “Thumbelina,” or Tiny, because she was so small. A walnut-shell, elegantly polished, served her for a cradle; her bed was formed of blue violet-leaves, with a rose-leaf for a counterpane.” According to Hans Christian Andersen, Thumbelina is the baby daughter born to a woman who desperately wanted a child. The woman planted a tiny seed and overnight, a beautiful flower, much like a tulip grew. Inside the tulip was a little girl, no bigger than a thumb. Her name was, Thumbelina. This year, God blessed our family with our own, Thumba-Lea. I knew from the instant Lea was born that I would love her forever and ever.
Lea Celeste Gorman was born on January 4, 2011. She was eleven weeks early and weighed only one pound, fourteen ounces and was 13 inches long. Lea weighed about as much as a can of chicken noodle soup, or a walkie talkie and was only an inch longer than the ruler I use in math class. Her hands and feet were the size of my own thumbs. She was a tiny, itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, buddle of love from the moment she was born. She was bigger than a thumb, and she didn’t sleep in a walnut shell, but she was our Thumba-Lea.
Micro-preemie babies are very susceptible to germs; especially the kind of germs active boys like me can carry. For Lea’s sake, it was best for me not visit her while she was in the hospital growing. That didn’t stop me from praying for her every day! Each day I asked God to watch over my tiny, little cousin and keep her safe until I could finally meet her and hold her. After 64 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and weighing a whopping four pounds, fifteen ounces, Lea was finally ready to go home! Princess Thumba-Lea chose the most extravagant holiday in New Orleans, Mardi Gras, as her day to go home. Proud parents, Jessica and Lain didn’t have a King Cake this Mardi Gras Day, but they certainly “got the baby!” Now I could finally see her, hold her, touch her sweet, soft skin, breath in that fabulous baby smell, sing to her, and look into her crystal blue eyes and let her know that Joe Joe would ALWAYS be there for her! I was counting down the days until I got to meet her, it was better than Christmas!
|Lea & Joe|
April 21, 2011 was one of the best days of my life. My favorite cousin, Jessica knocked on my front door and said, “Hey Joe, are you ready to go see Lea?” Ready? Of course I was ready! Even though Jessica only lives about ten minutes from my house, the car ride to her house took forever. All I could think of was that gentle, sweet baby lying in my arms. We pulled up to the house, and I knew she was inside. Excitement filled my body, I had chills all over me, I was scared, nervous, and anxious. What if she cried when I held her? What if she didn’t feel comfortable in my arms? I threw off my seatbelt, and bolted inside. There she was, the most beautiful, precious, baby I had ever seen. She was like an angel, her soft little face glowed. I stared at her, and my eyes filled with tears. Thumba-Lea was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen in my life. The room was still, the only sound I could hear was Lea cooing. My Aunt Nancie gently laid her in my arms, I was in heaven! I stared at her petite, little face, and was instantly captured by her sweet innocence. Lea was perfect, and I was totally in love.
While most kids would want to spend a day off from school playing outside, or lounging in front of the television, I spent the day with the most amazing gift God has ever given someone. I cradled Lea in my arms, I sang to her, and caressed her delicate, cottony skin. As I sat there, gazing at her, her little eyes fluttered like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. She opened one eye, and then the other, our eyes locked, and I whispered to her, “Hi, I’m your cousin, Joseph.” She blinked a few times as if to focus, then raised the left corner of her perfect little mouth, then the right, and smiled at me. In that instant, Thumba-Lea captured my heart forever.