Every year around this time, I sit down to reflect on another year without my dear Emma. It has been six years since that tragic day, and yet this year it feels more real than the previous five. Over the last year I’ve become the very proud father of yet another pair of twins – this time twin boys. The boys are not identical, like Ella and Emma, which I find very refreshing. Each boy has his own personality and body type.
This year, the boys have reminded me again how wonderful it is to be the father of a newborn. Six years ago, I was the father of two newborns, but given the amount of time we spent at the hospital, I never really got to experience what other fathers experience. This time its different. I’m not getting up everyday at 8am to ride my motorcycle over to Evergreen Medical Center or Children’s Hospital or both. This time around, I’m gaining weight because I don’t have time to be disciplined about my diet and exercise, I go to work and I feel like a zombie because of no sleep, and I’m spending money left and right.
I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m the happiest man in the world because in some respects I feel like I got a “do-over”. Believe it or not, I’m actually enjoying the hardships this time. They are new to me. They are fresh. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the lack of sleep sucks, but I’m having a blast. I’m barely finding 5 hours a sleep at night, but I wake up each morning to find my beautiful wife who is already playing with these two amazing boys. Those small moments make me smile. When I stop to think about how awesome this is, inevitably a tear finds its way to my face as I’m reminded how new this experience is to me. It reminds me of what should have been.
Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve cried at least a half dozen times. Probably more. Troy, whom we now lovingly refer to as “Big Snack”, has been increasing his baby fat at quicker rate than his brother Drew. The other day, I held Troy in my arms and the shape of his body totally reminded me of Emma at the end. Before she died, she had retained fluid and became heavily bloated. At the moment I held Troy, his face somehow morphed into Emma’s face, and it caused me to cry for like 30 minutes. The loss of my daughter is something that I will never get over. Holding her in my arms as I watched the life escape her body will haunt me forever.
In the last month or so, I’ve told a few random strangers about my twins. One person was from Ethiopia, the other from China. Each of them told me I was “rich”. Curiously, they both used the same word. We Americans sometimes lose perspective on what that means. It helped bring clarity to the whole situation.
Today, as I listen to the Beatles over and over, I will obviously remember Emma for what she was and what she taught us all. I will cry for what could have been. I will also cry for what I have today; two more amazing children, one incredible little girl and a partner whom I could not live without.
I am indeed, a rich man.