Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014: Perspective

Wow! 2014 already...time is just flying. Now that we are a solid week in to the new year, I finally feel like we have caught our breath from the madness of the holiday rush. We had a very nice Christmas and New Year. For the first time ever, we stayed put. We celebrated as just the four (almost 5) of us at home in New York. Between my busy work schedule and Jason's recruiting and coaching commitments with Union, we unfortunately didn't have a lot of time to do much traveling. We did have a lot of family time though and that was very special. It seems that once hockey season starts and school and activities are in full swing , we tag team this family thing. It was a very busy fall (hence the blogging drought). It was so nice to have Jason home with the girls a little more and some time to just hang out and play and enjoy the fun ages of Ella and Avery right now.

We are starting the new year thankful for this family time and thankful for all we have. Both girls are doing so well. This month marks two years since we have been taking Ella to Boston Children's hospital. I can't imagine where we would be without the fantastic team of Doctors there. She has grown physically and emotionally. Jason and I have grown so much too. I feel so much more secure in her care and in her future.
My big girl skating on Christmas day!

My new perspective and evolving confidence was clearer than ever this week when a dear friend recently contacted me. She is pregnant (yay!) and will be delivering in Boston. Her bundles of joy will be at Children's hospital following their birth. I feel so honored that she reached out to me at such an emotional and exciting time in her life. We haven't been in touch as well as we should have, but the beauty of social media and blogging has kept us connected enough to know that I have experienced some of what she may go through. You can never be prepared for a complication in a pregnancy or a child that needs medical care.

Jason and I were completely blindsided by Ella's diagnosis. Even though my best friend had a baby a year before me and spent 70-plus days in a NICU, I never expected that I would be in that position of even spending one day with a sick baby. Since then I have watched friends near and far deal with their own NICU journey. Every time, the feelings I had back in June of 2009 come rushing back. I can't help but reach out with even just a simple facebook message to let that person know "I get it".  You learn to deal very quickly and you become a part of a "club" that no one ever wants to be a part of. Still all these years later, I carry the lessons learned and my experiences as a badge of honor. So when my friend called in her time of need, I felt those maternal/friend/personal instincts kick in. I know who is with me in this club and I know they are ready and willing to give as much support as possible. A few emails and phone calls later, I hope that we are well on our way to helping out! We can give as much "advice" as we want, but the truth is you can never really prepare a family for the roller coaster ride that life in the NICU brings. Talking helps...a lot. An immediate email response from a mom of some pretty extraordinary twins put it very well when she said, "The hardest thing about my NICU stay was that I didn't have anyone to talk to about it. Once I finally connected with others who understood it made it so much better." A network of moms, a coalition of friends to help you through every minute, every unexpected turn, celebrate every accomplishment is crucial. It is not an easy road to travel, but you can do it and you will come out stronger.

It's another reminder of how Ella has changed my life. I have said this so many times. I am a better person because of her...because of both of my children. I know that my friend is going to do just fine as she enters this new exciting time of her life and I (and many others) will be there, near and far to make sure she knows just how strong she is.

BU girls...all these years later, we finally fully understand the meaning of "that's what friends are for"