Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why I Walk

This is my sixth year walking for March of Dimes. I walk, speak, and work on behalf of March of Dimes to honor my sons -- the one who has the most amazing laugh in the world and the one who is forever etched in my memory.

My sons were born at 26 weeks and weighed less than two pounds each. It was, by far, the most frightening and memorable day of my life. And it was just the beginning of months of heartbreak and fear.

@s brother died within an hour of being born. We didn't have time to grieve because we had to be strong and give @ every ounce of our strength and love to help him survive. He was in intensive care for nearly four months, had several surgeries, and spent a year on oxygen after finally coming home.

We finally felt confident to celebrate on his second birthday. It took that long just to feel confident that yes, this amazing strong fighter of a kid would get to be a kid.

@ is five. This year we celebrated his birthday with a trip to the Academy of Sciences and I decorated a cake with a construction theme. I still can't handle birthday parties -- as much as I celebrate @'s life now, his birthday is also the day my heart broke.

Why do I walk? I walk because...
  • I want other families to know their children's birthdays as no more than the most amazing day when that beautiful child entered their lives.
  • I want other families to drive past the hospital and not actually have a favorite parking space.
  • My son knows he was "tiny tiny" and "really sick" when he was born. And he knows that we walk together so other babies won't be born that way.
  • When my son did his "family booklet" for kindergarten and there was a blank line for "brothers," I couldn't let him write a zero.
  • My sons have each had a profound impact on my life.
They both remind me every day about what is truly important in this world. How little things can hold the greatest fascination. How what seems like a big deal most often isn't even close to nudging the needle on the big-deal meter of life.

I walk because I know that -- experiencing what we have -- no matter what comes our way, he and I can learn from it, grow through it, and use our experience to help someone else. He's five and he already believes in that. What more can I ask?

Peace, love, and laughter.

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