It’s 12:24am. I just got back to the Ronald House from the hospital. Alida spiked a fever of 102 and was clearly restless. They decided to do labs at midnight to do a culture. So I decided to see if holding her for a couple hours before her labs would help her rest. It did. She played with my necklace that reminds me of an angel wing and fell fast asleep. As I held my little peanut, I was overcome with emotion. For the first time in almost a week, I cried. I really cried. And since writing is always therapeutic for me, I decided what better time to put my thoughts into words. At 12:30 in the morning. It may not make complete sense, so bear with me.
I had felt emotionally strong and almost closed off the last few days. Historically being a rather emotional person, this felt odd to me. Oh, your daughter just coded. Huh, interesting. They have to reopen her sternum? Oh, this is practically humorous. A friend told me I would cry when the adrenaline wore off. I think she was correct. But the emotions I felt tonight were not what I expected. I expected to feel, “oh my gosh, I almost lost my little girl – again – I can’t keep track of what number this is” and “how could they make such a ridiculous mistake?” and “why her!?” and “haven’t we been through enough!?” While these thoughts did pass through my mind, they were more like observations and potential thoughts; they weren’t what really settled in my soul.
What really shook my soul tonight was this: how did I get so lucky? I am so grateful, it aches. It brings another flood of gut wrenching emotion as I write this. I was holding the most amazing, beautiful, strong warrior in my arms tonight. She has taught me so much about what is important in life. She has taught me a lifetime time of lessons in such a short period. Wow. The last two years have changed my life in immense ways, because of two little people we were blessed with. Not only do we have an incredible heart warrior, she has an amazing twin sister. Today we brought Lucie in the room only briefly as she has a stuffy nose. Lucie immediately spotted a stuffed animal and balloon on a table. She squealed with delight. She knew it was for Ali. She grabbed it and ran it to Alida’s bedside. I lifted her up and she tucked the animal under Alida’s arm. She went to rub Alida’s abdomen, instinctively knowing that is where she is hurting. I told her to touch her head instead. She planted a kiss on her sister’s forehead and touched it with her hand while saying “rub, rub, rub” – that’s what we do when we have an owie. Brian and I looked at each other and choked back emotion. Then we had to take a crying and upset Lucie out of the room. Watching their love (and arguments) will be an incredible journey.
The people in our life. Most of them I didn’t know before the girls were born. The flood of prayers, thoughts, energy, and love we have received has been overwhelming. We have meant so many incredible, genuine people in the last two years. We wouldn’t have met most of them if it wasn’t for a career change due to the girls. I think part of why I have been so strong the last week is because I knew these people were all cheering Alida on, and because I know God has our back. He knows how to show us what’s important and lead us down paths that may seem foreign, frightening, and unbearable. But He helps us through to the other side, stronger, more open, and even more grateful than before.
A journey of growth. Our careers have lead us down a path of self development. It’s been hard and rocky. It hasn’t been easy for me to take a hard look inside and realize I struggle with self love and work tirelessly and perfectionistically at doing a million and one things in an effort to achieve a ridiculous standard I set for myself in hopes of finally feeling like I can love myself. I am learning how to show up and say this is me. And I am okay, more than okay. Eating a chocolate muffin at 1am does not mean I have ruined weeks of eating right and working out. This struggle and learning how to be vulnerable and authentic with myself will help me set an example for two little girls that are watching and learning everything I say and do.
This same journey of growth has lead us to living a life with passion, purpose and intention. We only get to live each day once. Be present. Don’t wish away years, months, weeks or days. Holding Alida tonight was a very precious moment for me. I missed out on so many nights of holding her as a baby, I sure as heck wasn’t going to wish away tonight by saying, “why her!?” I cherished every moment knowing that by holding her I was pouring love and energy into her that no one else could give her. I studied her long eyelashes, her sweet puffy lips, all of the pokes and scars on her arms and legs that reflect her determination and strength; I held her little feet in my hand and thought about all of the great things they will allow her to do in her life. Walk. Run. Dance. Meet new people. Travel the world. Walk down the aisle. Oh baby girl, what a life you have ahead of you!
It’s so easy in our electronic, multi-tasking, more is better world, to rush around, missing moments, missing life. Stop. Breathe. Enjoy life. Enjoy the little moments. Don’t spend your days on the side lines. Start living. Have gratitude. Always. There is always something to be grateful for.
It’s now 1:15am. My tissues and chocolate muffin are gone. I think that means it’s time to go to sleep, in a bed that I am very grateful for, and wake up tomorrow to see what opportunity awaits.