My girls. They are my reason for living. Every. Single. Day.
Annalise was born on August 7, 2008 at 11:24 am. I pushed for two hours with her…she weighed 8lbs 12oz at birth and came out face up! From day one, she was curious about the world around her and didn’t want to miss a thing. She remains that way to this day. Never a good napper, always fighting bedtime, Annalise is the child that takes the most out of each and every day. Her infant year was trying; bad nappers tend to be a bit cranky. Though, if I could have bottled her personality during her toddler years, I would be a millionaire right now. I think we had all of two meltdowns from the ages of 2-4. She was sweet and polite, mild-mannered and lovable. She was the kid in preschool that would console other children if they fell down on the playground. To date, at 6 years old, she is smart, girly and a breath of fresh air. She is my ray of sunshine, my warmth on even the coldest day. Annalise is my lover and my nurturer.
It is astounding at how two children who come from the same genetics and are raised in the same environment can be so different. Elena was my Christmas gift in 2012. Born on December 20 at 2:11pm. I pushed for all of 4 contractions and 11 minutes with her. At 7lbs 7ozs, face down, I probably could have sneezed her out in comparison to Annalise. From the start, Elena was seriously the happiest baby I have ever seen! Would only cry when she was tired, would put her down for a nap and 20 seconds later she would be fast asleep. When I tell you she was always happy, I really, truly mean that. As we turned the corner into her toddler years, Elena developed a spitfire of a personality. The girls babysitter starting referring to her as “Baby Adolf,” partially because she was emphatic when she wanted something, and because her baby babble was sounding QUITE German! Judge all you want, but the name stuck for a good 6 months or so. She’s my climber, my go, go, go, nonstop child. Loving and affectionate, but determined and stubborn at the same time…yes… just like her mother, thank you very much!
I watch Elena as she faces cancer and chemotherapy in awe. It breaks my heart what she has had to go through in ways I cannot even begin to express. Shortly after we started treatment, I hated every aspect of it, obviously, but most particularly hated that she was too young to understand any of. She was rebellious to the core when it came to anything that had to do with being in the hospital and I can’t tell you how many times I prayed for her to have the understanding needed to make this experience easier on all of us. About a month in, I was looking at both of my girls and actually wondered how different things would be if it was Annalise that had been diagnosed. Yeah…I have not told many people that. It was not my proudest moment, that is for sure. I wasn’t choosing which child was my favorite or anything awful like that…I was just desperate for a sense of understanding that I feared Elena, at 18 months old, would never possess. Not 10 seconds after having that thought, I was bawling my eyes out, angry with myself for even thinking about it. It took me days to shake that meltdown. It wasn’t until a couple of days later that I had an epiphany. I would never want to have to choose which of my children had to go through this awful disease. But I didn’t get to choose. Life chose for me…and life chose Elena for this journey. Life chose my fighter and spitfire and spared my soft little girl. Life gave Elena the most compassionate and caring big sister to get her through this fight, while ensuring she was brave enough to face it. I don’t necessarily relish that fact, but it’s there, and even in the smallest way, gives me some peace of mind.