Please Never Forget

I'll forever remember how in the NICU, as she was trying unsuccessfully to insert a line into your tiny arm before the surgery, one of the nurses almost apologetically exclaimed repeatedly to the others around her, "He has really thick skin!"

My boy. My baby. The one we'd spent nearly 10 years waiting for. Only four and a half pounds of long limbs and duckling fuzz. But I knew you were stronger than any of them realized; because we had been told about the possibility of your heart condition (aortic coarctation) many months prior, and thus you had already begun teaching us to be stronger. To press on in the presence of insanely frightening unknowns.

"He has really thick skin!"

Your surgery was completed. An incision under your left shoulder blade and a splicing and rejoining of the valve that would have otherwise narrowed until closed. We grew, as parents, those days. I did not comprehend the level to which I would be catapulted into loving you until those nights in your room, trying to tune out the constant beeps of monitor alarms and memorizing your every breath and arm wrinkle.

"He has really thick skin!"

Had I been given the choice, I never would have had our story begin the way it did. But in this life we don't get to choose how stories begin or end, do we? We can only choose how we participate once we're in the middle of the beautiful chaos. Because of you, I never again have the option to tell myself, "I can't do this!" when I'm afraid of the future or overcome with doubt. I simply must venture forward. I simply must be strong. Just as you were those months before and after your birth. Just as you taught me I could be in order to withstand far more than I ever imagined.

"He has really thick skin!"

I knew that day in the hospital that you would recover, and mightily. They didn't know you the way I did already. They didn't know that you and I had talked for months about how you would overcome this and thrive. They didn't know your spirit emanated bravery well before you were born. Your dad and I looked at each other when we heard that sentence, sharing a knowing glance.

"He has really thick skin!"

Please never forget how strong you are. Please never forget you can go on no matter who or what hurts you. Please never forget there is nothing your glorious determination can not accomplish. Please never forget that you can do anything in the world.

Melissa Glenn, The Village Journalist

Krystal DonovanComment