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Ups and Downs

Ups and Downs

In my work as a journalist, I hear happy stories and sad stories. Many I can write and move on with my life—the happy ones are the easiest. But the sad ones, well, some of those touch me to my soul no matter how I try to steel myself.

A local boy has cystic fibrosis and needs a double-lung transplant. He’s number one on the transplant list, but his time is slipping away with every struggled breath. His wife and mom are at his side and his family is flying in to make sure they say goodbye.

I don’t really know him—just in the way of all small towns, and through my stories about fundraisers for his transplant. But it’s his situation I can’t get out of my heart and mind. I have a toddler, and tonight we sat in the rocking chair to read “Goodnight Moon.” I read it, and then she read it back to me in her sweet two-year-old voice, I’m afraid I’ll forget. I bent my head to bury my nose in her hair, still damp from her nighttime bath.

Motherhood is special, and I know that no matter how old Olivia is, I will also hurt for her.

I can’t imagine sitting by her hospital bed knowing that the next moment may be the last I have with her in this world. Parents aren’t supposed to out-live their children—there’s just something wrong with that progression. It happens more than I like to think about, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

I kissed Olivia goodnight, said, “I love you” and rubbed her back for a moment before slipping out the door.

May I never take our lives for granted—may I never groan with impatience because she spilled the flour, but instead rub some on my face so we match. My baby will always be my baby, no matter if she’s ten or thirty or forty-five. I will always remember rocking in that chair and listening to her sing-song voice: “Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere.”

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