Thank You

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
— Albert Schweitzer

Dear friend of Olivia,

You won’t understand the depth of my thanks until you yourself become a mother one day, of that I am sure. But my heart is so full of thanks and love right now that I need to share it with your 9-year-old self. I hope you’ll save this and re-read it as a mother. I really do.

I know to you I’m just Olivia’s Mom, but to me you are beauty and love personified. You are so special to me and to Olivia and I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you exactly why.

After we found out that Olivia was born with Cri du Chat, I stayed up night after night worrying that Olivia would be treated cruelly by the kids at school. That was honestly one of my very biggest worries. Would she even have any friends? Would people make fun of her for being different? Every year since Kindergarten you have laid those fears completely to rest. Occasionally they pop back up again when I think about junior high and high school, but then I remember that you’ll still be with her. I know your heart won’t change; you’ll still be the same sweet girl you are right now.

Do you know what a big deal it was that Olivia was able to dance in the talent show? For the past three years, she hasn’t even been able to go the talent show. The music and cheering was too loud; the lights and the dances were overwhelming. She would freak out and cry. Do you know that she wasn’t supposed to walk or talk, let alone dance? She’s come so far. Do you know why I think she’s come so far? Because you’ve been helping her. You’ve been playing with her at recess, sitting with her at lunch, reading to her in class, playing with her at our house, inviting her to parties. She’s been learning from you.

Last year we watched some of you practice at the dress rehearsal and she asked me if she could dance too. At that point it was too late, but I knew I wanted to make it happen this year. Turns out, I didn’t have to. You did it for me. Not once did you complain that she couldn’t do the dance exactly right or that she got in your way. Not once did you want her to not dance. You even included the ring-around-the-rosie part just for her. You made sure she was in the right spot. You grabbed her hand and helped her. Most 9-year-old girls wouldn’t do that. You are very special. I hope you know that.

My heart is so full right now. Full of pride for Olivia and how far she’s come. Full of pride for you and the wonderful girl you are already at the tender age of 9. Full of love for her and for you. Full of hope for what the future may hold for my little girl who is loved by so many. Full of happiness that she was part of something so beautiful.

To you it may have just been a dance in a talent show; to me it was a turning point. My little girl not only was able to sit with her friends and dance with them in front of a crowd, but she was part of a group of friends. I wasn’t sure that would ever happen for her. I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am for you. To know that you love my Olivia for who she is makes me the happiest Mom in the world.

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.
— Meister Eckhardt

I hope it’s enough.

Olivia’s Mom


42 responses to “Thank You

  1. Charity De Leon

    I cry alot when I read your posts. It’s amazing how I share the same fears you once had or still have. Sometimes my tears are of fear but most of the time like with this post they are tears of joy. Through Olivia you give me so much hope. Hope that one day my Sophie may have the same opportunities and be accepted as Olivia is. I will say a prayer for this beautiful soul that is Olivia’s dear friend. May she one day realize how she helped make some of your dreams come true and provide immeasurable amount of happiness to so many lives especially one very special little girl!

  2. Can’t see right now… teary-eyed. Tiffany, this is so beautiful. The heart of children amazes me. I am sure when you worried about Olivia at birth, the angels were listening and planning for this beautiful friend to come into Olivia’s life. If only we wouldn’t despair so soon.

  3. I was crying as I read this and tearing up as I watched the talent show video yesterday- her friends are amazing… because Olivia is an amazing little girl and her friends saw that!

  4. If it wasn’t so late I’d drive to your house right now and hug you. This is beautiful. And what an amazing soul this little girl is. To love Olivia for the wonderful person that she is and to include her in so many aspects of her life. This girl is going to make one hell of an adult. Olivia is blessed in so many ways.
    Now, I’m off to grab tissues and find something funny to read to combat the tears.

  5. That was an amazing letter. Olivia is so lucky to have such a great friend and you are such a great mom to acknowledge what a great friend she has.

  6. Yup, I’m in tears. This letter is beautiful and the little girl you wrote it to is wonderful and I am about to burst with love, joy, and gratitude. You must be so proud of Olivia.

  7. Melinda Restivo

    Ok now that I can see and have stopped crying! Tiffany this was so beautiful! I want you to understand I don’t think our girls think twice about anything except is Olivia coming, is she going to be part of the meeting, or the dance or whatever it is we are doing. I want to tell you when we first talked of the talent show Alyssa said, Olivia will do it right mom? I said of course why would she not. I can speak for my two daughters and all the girls in the 3rd grade brownie troop we are your friends and Olivias friend no matter what. We will be there until the end. When our girls go to junior high and high school they will be there to protect and care for Olivia you do not need to worry. I want to say thank you for letting us be a part of your family and I have had a wonderful year with Olivia, and again I know my daughters Amanda and Alyssa adore Olivia. I think about the day we made the gift for mom’s (just a few weeks ago) I could tell you were a little unsure about leaving her, but truly it was my pleasure to help her and let her feel part of being with just the girls and not mom. But I had to laugh because I must have done something because Olivia told me I was fired! There are days I think about that and laugh to myself. Olivia is a lot of fun to have around. Also, when you showed up Tuesday at my house for practice I was so exited to see guys. Alyssa said mom did you see Olivia faking a nap on the couch wasn’t that funny. Tiffany the girls all love her very much! I love to see Olivia be part of everything we are doing. It was a beautiful show last night just because of our 3rd grade girls! I had so many people say how wonderful it was to see them with Olivia, and I was thinking we have been doing this all year when we have our Brownie Meetings our girls just don’t think of it any other way. We are all together having fun and Olivia is just one of the girls with this group of girls. Your message was just so overwhelming in a beautiful way, I am going to frame it and hang it up in my house. Tiffany you may not think this, but you and Olivia are an inspiration to all of us, not us to you. I want to say thank you to you for being a part of our troop this year and you and Olivia make me want to do it all over again in the 4th grade. Be ready! We love you Olivia!

  8. I just went back to watch the video of the dance, and realized what song they chose to dance to. Did you notice that it was Katy Perry’s Firework? Read this part of the lyrics:

    Do you know that there’s still a chance for you
    Cause there’s a spark in you

    You just gotta ignite the light
    And let it shine
    Just own the night
    Like the Fourth of July

    Cause baby you’re a firework
    Come on show ’em what you’re worth

    When I first heard this song on the radio, I fell in love with the song just for this part of the lyrics! A FIREWORK, indeed! yah!

  9. K Tiff. I’m not usually a crier but dang girl I could hardly read it cuz I couldn’t c. U know we all love olivia. I just said last night to jean and cathy that I think we were all as proud of the girls and olivia as u were. It was like she was my daughter too. She is amazing and so are all the girls. They see how great a friend she is no matter what she can and can’t do.

  10. Beautifully written. What a great group of girls! I too was teary-eyed watching the video. Your post is equally moving. So proud of Olivia. So happy for you. So very grateful for friends like that.

  11. PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!

  12. I can only ditto what everyone else said. I’m just bawling. Thank you for sharing so much of Olivia on your blog. You will never know all the hope you and Olivia inspire.

  13. Olivia has many cheerleaders; count me as one.

  14. What a wonderful nine-year-old! I know she can’t fully appreciate this letter yet, but have you shown it to her mother? I’d imagine it would make her cry!

  15. this is absolutely a beautiful post. not only because of a special 9-year-old girl who is clearly an amazing friend, but also because you are such an amazing person yourself that you acknowledge and thank her for it. wonderful people aren’t wonderful so they’ll get thanked….but it does feel good when they do! olivia is blessed to have such a great friend in her life….and her friend is equally blessed to have olivia πŸ™‚

  16. The ring-around-the-rosy part was my favorite, too. So, so touching.

  17. Ok, I’ve regained my composure. It took me 2 days but that’s pretty normal for your posts. Its funny because I don’t think the girls think of her any different than any of the others. You might be right that the girls just think of you as Olivia’s mom, a cool mom, but just a mom. I think I can speak for many of us moms, you are an amazing mom.
    Really, the thank you is to you for being part of our lives and for allowing Olivia to be part of all of our lives.
    This blog needs to be read by all. It really make s you strive to be the best person you can be, thanks to you.

  18. Oh what a blessing to have a friend like that. I am sure, however, that she is as blessed by Olivia’s friendship as Olivia is blessed. This was a beautiful ttribute to a very special friendship.


  19. I heart this. I am full with joy for you and Olivia. And I enjoyed watching the video. Congrats proud momma!

  20. I understand your feelings. There is a little girl in Elisabeth’s class at church that always takes such tender care of her. It warms my heart – as does this letter to Olivia’s friend.

    There are some true gems in this world πŸ™‚

    By the way- I just went back and watched the video…I totally teared up and I am not the tear-up kind πŸ™‚ Way to go Olivia!

  21. wow…way to make me cry!
    and what an amazing little girl Olivia has as a friend! Truly a blessing in her life…yeah, I’m still crying just thinking about it all over again…
    and btw, awesome about the Glamour mag…holla! My friend (the one with the daughter with cdc) said she read it and loved it! I’ll have to go read it…

  22. I love this Tiffany!!! I too agree that she is a special girl, and was born with such a loving heart! Thank you for sharing this so I could selfishly enjoy this too! This 9 year old makes me want to be a better person… such a sweet your girl makes me feel like I can do more, and do better. I loved this! And what sweet girls. Olivia has a one of a kind heart, and she was able to attract someone who shares that same great characteristics!

  23. your= young! Sorry for the typo

  24. That was an amazing story. I’m so glad your daughter has such a great friend.

  25. Hi. I’m writing to you from Vancouver Island, Canada. Today while taking the ferry back to the Island from (the city of) Vancouver I picked up a Glamour magazine. As I skimmed through it your little article caught my eye. I truly wish I lived closer because I would invite you and Olivia over for a playdate…even though I don’t have children! You share your journey in such an honest, open way and you have touched my heart with your stories. Olivia sounds like a great girl and I loved watching her dance her ass off at that talent show! The way her friend (Alyssa?) grabbed her little hands for their duo part was great… I could see there was no trepidation, it was so obvious that little girl was intimately close with Olivia and afraid of nothing (the letter you wrote to that child was so beautiful). I look forward to reading more. I have learned something new today and have also been moved to tears in a heartfelt way…not too bad for one tiny article. Please tell Olivia that a woman in Canada sends her a big hug and thinks she did a fabulous job in the dance!

  26. I really hope my daughter has friends like Olivia’s!

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  28. Visiting from SITS. . .beautiful post. What a nice thing for your daughter’s friend to have when she’s older; she sounds like one of a kind.

  29. Popped in from SITS today. Your daughter’s friend sounds like one amazing young lady πŸ™‚

  30. I’m sorry, I have to be honest…I couldn’t read all of the comments because I had to stop to breathe in between my years. This is so beautiful. You and your family are truly blessed. Thanks for sharing this on your SITS day.

  31. Tears absolutely streaming!! So beautifully written. So raw and honest.

    Thank God for beautiful friends who see you exactly as you are . . . and love you nonetheless. We all need that sort of unconditional love and I am so glad your darling Olivia can experience that too!!

  32. What a wonderful true friend God put in the path of your Olivia. I think the hope that our children find true friends is in all of us. I’m so glad your daughter has found hers. Happy SITS Day!

  33. Wow…that made me cry. What beautiful friends your daughter has but I bet they have received an even greater gift through your daughter which is to find out who a person is by their heart and soul. That was a beautifully written blog post:-) Happy SITS Day today.

  34. Tear jerker…. What a beautiful post… I hope that little girl will have the chance to read this… Bless… xx

  35. Being loved for who we are at any age is such a gift and brings such sweet joy as to make one dance. A very big cheer to Olivia and her friend and to you as well for seeing so clearly and writing so authentically. Thank you ~ Patricia

  36. Oh My…its not often that I sit and my desk and Im fighting back the tears but right now I am. What a sweet sweet girl.

  37. What a wonderful post about a friendship. I am sure your daughter is teaching her friend a few things too and that they are both blessed to know each other.

    My child has some special needs. He just started kindergarten and I am enrolling him in a “support group”, part of which the purpose is for kids with special needs to find some friends. I pray my little boy finds a best friend who will stick with him throughout his school years. It can make a huge difference as you know.

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  39. How beautiful. I wish all kids could have a friend like Olivia’s.

  40. I’m at a loss for words. I hope that little girls saves the letter to read later. As a Mother you just want so much for your children and being someone who has been social all my life “friends’ are such an important part of that. I only hope that I can teach my daughter to be half the person that Olivia’s friend in now.

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