This past weekend a friend of mine and her husband lost their daughter. She was a bright, shining example of a child filled with love, even though many of her days were filled with sickness, feeding tubes, and endless medical procedures. I won’t pretend that I knew her well, but in my encounters with her – I couldn’t help but love her. She had something that made you want to do better with the time that you had. To witness this family laughing, smiling and loving with every bone in their bodies was truly inspiring. In fact, my 2012 New Years resolution was inspired by my friend and her daughter. “To make more with my days” is written prominently in my kitchen and is a constant reminder to me that I must make a conscious effort to do more, make more and love more with each of my days.
Today I am sad, because I have been very close to loss in my recent past and I remember how grueling and painful the first few days are as if it were yesterday. I haven’t written a blog in a while – and I might say it is because I am busy. But honestly, it is because I am tired and consumed with my life in my modest home in my small town. I look at writing like I look at working out – I’m often too tired to start but when I am done I am filled with a renewed sense of energy and zest for my life. In this moment of reflection and sadness I need to write. I need to make sense of the sorrow I feel for my friend and inspire myself to make more of my days once again. If there was ever a time to dance in the rain – today is a day to learn to dance!
On Easter Griffin and Carter were six months old. To say that I am overwhelmed when looking back at the past six months of my life would be an understatement. I am overjoyed at their progress, and completely in love with the life that Tim and I have created for ourselves. However hectic and tiring it may be there isn’t a day that doesn’t end with me thanking God for all that He has given me. I am humbled to think that I could be surrounded with so much love. From October 8th until April 8th we have made our way through what I hope will be the most difficult experience of our lives. Griffin weighs 10.4 pounds and Carter 10.9. They smile, coo and immediately look in my direction when I walk into a room and they hear my voice. I am so love with these two little men, that I can’t help but miss them terribly during the few hours I take every Wednesday to get out of the house by myself.
Griffin and Carter’s journey into this world has given me another gift in addition to the gift of two beautiful sons. I find myself calmer, more loving, and more in awe of Kennedy and Addison because the instant I look at the boys I am reminded how blessed I am to have the girls and just how fragile life can be. Spending any amount of time in a children’s hospital is life changing. I believe it makes you a better person, more compassionate and definitely more empathetic – or it least did me. I am reminded that my children are a gift to cherish and to do the very best I can to help them become amazing, loving and kind adults. I’m not ashamed to say that before the boys I was pretty strict. Not mean, just strict with my girls. Punctual bedtimes, proper attire, polite manners, learning ABCs and 123s, finishing veggies, and all the other “rules” I read in all my child rearing books held an important place in my parenting style. I always led with love, even before experiencing Griffin and Carter’s fragility – but now leading with love has become my highest priority. My girls rarely have perfect hair anymore, they usually choose their own (mismatched) outfits and I let them leave the table before finishing veggies (and I still give them dessert!). I just don’t really care about that stuff anymore. It just doesn’t seem that important. Kennedy and Addison are pretty amazing – the joy they bring into our lives is overflowing. My friend and her beautiful daughter, along with our own brush with immortality showed me just how special and perfect they are – messy hair, muddy feet, dirty finger nails and all!
I write this post sitting at my kitchen counter, sipping a glass of full-bodied red wine, listening to Sarah Bareilles radio on Pandora. It has been a long day, a long weekend, a long six months for that matter. Kennedy is on day three of the flu and is asleep in our bed. Addison may be on the verge of sickness herself as this is the second night in a row she has been asleep by 6 pm. Griffin and Carter had two doctor’s appointments today and Tim is recovering from a couple cracked ribs from his rugby game on Saturday. So as Addie fell asleep on the couch watching Mickey and Tim did physical therapy exercises with the boys on the floor and dinner cooked in the oven I thought now was as good a time as any to gather my thoughts. I hope they don’t sadden you but remind you that all that you have in this world is to be cherished and is temporary. Today Griffin’s occupational therapist complimented me on how calm I am, and asked if I ever got frustrated. Well of course I get frustrated but it is so fleeting that it doesn’t leave a blemish on the gratitude I feel for the life I have been given. My friend’s example of how to love a child, watching my sons fight to survive and losing my mother give me a perspective that I will forever regard as a gift from God.
If I have learned anything from the path that I have walked and watched those close to me walk it is this: this is temporary. The good and the bad, is only for this moment – take it in and do what you can to be better because of it.