october 17th, 2012 (part 2): thankful

Every Thursday I look back at a specific day and time that was spent with my daughter Matilda as she waited for, received, and recovered from a liver transplant. She was in the hospital for 72 days and we remained in NYC until she turned four months old.

October 17th, 2012 - thankful

There have been times in life where I thought I understood the meaning of thankfulness. There were the years in college where I earned a full scholarship. There was the time my brother recovered from a horrible car accident with only a few scars. There was that year in Australia when I suddenly became very thankful for window screens, warm shower water, and cockroach-free living. And of course I felt the most thankful when each of my children were born.

But then there were these beautiful moments full of thankfulness while Matilda was in the hospital struggling to survive that held me together when I felt like falling apart. For the first time in my life I had my priorities straight. And it was breathtaking. Matilda was breathtaking.

The night before had stripped me of everything I thought I knew. Listening to a mother lose her child gave me a new perspective on the meaning of life. I was exhausted. I had not showered in a few days, I did not have a change of clothes, brushing my teeth was considered a luxury. But none of that bothered me, none of that mattered. I was with my daughter and today she was alive. I posted this on Facebook:
Tyler and I have rallied our spirits and have come up with a plan to hold Matilda more, snuggle more, sing more, read more, and enjoy every moment with Matilda more. She is a gift and we plan on keeping her forever.
We felt refreshed and new. We were determined to see this through. We were thankful. And just like that, as it had happened before, Matilda looked up at me and smiled.

In the quiet of the night on the day she was born, Matilda gifted me with the brightest smile. Then again, on the day she was baptized, through the tubes and wires, she smiled. When we got the news that the swelling in her brain had subsided, the goofiest grin appeared across her face. And now, when I needed it more than ever, after a few discouraging days and a heart wrenching night, Matilda gave me the best gift of all. And I was thankful.

We make life more complicated than it needs to be. Hold your family close, surround yourself with joyous moments, cast away doubt and fear, and be thankful, not for what you have, but for what you allow yourself to see.

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