Over the past 2 years, I have transformed into who I am now and I imagine that I will continue to evolve over the years as different emotions come to the surface. There was the pre-diagnosis me…the me that just lived every day. Laughed, was more introverted, was easy going and care free, was unaware, but was also a stickler for schedules and routine. Nothing got between the babies and their nap time! I dreaded vacations, outings, activities and time away from home because nap times would get thrown off and frankly, I preferred the safety of my walls. It was easier. That is what happens when you have triplets, you become intense! You live and die by routine. A big part of that old me died the day Hayes was diagnosed.
I remember waiting in the hospital waiting area while Hayes was in surgery to remove his tumor. I sat in silence with my face in my hands and waited and cried and dreaded different scenarios that played out in my head. Just 24 hours before, I had been home with my kids, playing with toys and caring about pointless things like what I would wear and how I should do my makeup. How quickly life shifts on its axis.
I remember the moment when Steve’s phone rang. It was the doctor telling us he had finished surgery and he wanted to meet with us and go over how it went. I remember the distinct and crushingly overwhelming desire for the surgery to have been a success. We didn’t want a partial tumor removal, we wanted to hear he had removed it all. That is all I wanted to hear, all I cared about. I couldn’t hold back the anxiety ridden tears as we headed to that meeting because I needed to hear this so much!
We walked in, sat across the table from the neurosurgeon and heard the sweetest words. He shook his head in shock and told us that he couldn’t believe it but he had removed the entire tumor…a complete resection. It was a miracle! While I knew we had a long road ahead of us, I also knew that this was my second chance with my baby. I was getting more time and I was never the same, the new me was born.
I now began to find joy in the simple things. A smile, playing with toys, and seeing Hayes sit up again, those things became my happiness. When our family was blessed to be together again, we grabbed those moments and didn’t look back. We were never again going to be held back by schedules and routines because for us, that wasn’t living. Being together, being a family…this was our second chance and we were living! Any day away from the hospital was spent together. Last minute trips to St. George, walks as a family down to the food trucks, trips to the grocery store, sitting on the couch as a family, impromptu walks in the heat to the candy store, getting the babies out of bed to play at night when everyone else was sleeping…this became our joy.
I am so grateful for that second chance we were given. I have thousands upon thousands of videos and photos of times that I now appreciated, moments that before would have gone unnoticed. Everything was big, everything was fantastic and everything was beautiful! I used to wear Hayes around in a baby carrier, in fact, for probably far too long. He was so long and really had outgrown the carrier, but I didn’t care. I wanted him next to my skin forever. Every blink, every smile, every giggle…I wanted to feel it and see it all because this was my second chance and I now knew how quickly life could change. Never again was I taking this beautiful life I had been given for granted.
Now, when Steve asks if I want to take a last minute trip to California, I say without hesitation, YES! I dread the fact that Hayes isn’t physically with us, but this is what he taught me. This is the gift he game me. To realize that every day, every second and every moment I can find joy. Happiness is found in the simple things. A nap can wait, the babies can get grumpy, the house can be dirty but those memories, those moments are fleeting. Summer is just beginning and my goal is to be present. All of my kids need the me that lives and sees beauty. This is my second chance!