We took the boys to the circus for the first time Sunday, March 15th. We were scheduled to go opening night, but I had the flu and was too busy laying in bed planning my funeral. Anyhoo, Mom and I hit the Wal-Mart before we went and found these $3 light sticks and two boxes of candy (which I smuggled in inside the diaper bag on the advice of a church friend no less, hehehe). Tradd loved it...Jackson? Not so much. I literally was having to restrain him for the first 15 minutes. He was standing on my lap, pointing to the top of the arena crying, "Mama, let's go home now!" Lee and I switched boys and he settled in with Daddy.
The circus hasn't changed since I was a kid...still the lions, motorcycles in the big ball, and the elephants. Yes, the elephants made a lasting impression on the boys. For the next few days, when someone asked them about the circus, they promptly reported, "We saw big elephant poop." Great.
Most of you know that I don't have a sister...I have sister-in-laws, best friends, and a wonderful mother, but no sis. My replacements? My cousins, Ally, Nicole, Elizabeth, and Lauren-Summers are my sisters. We share an unusual closeness...a certain sisterness stirs around us. We have laughed together until we've peed our pants, have held each other when tears came, and have stood witness to each other's lives. They know my heart inside and out...actually they are my heart.
As with every mother, the day my children were born is burned into my mind. I remember each moment and each face...especially one. The day before I was to have the boys, I spoke with my cousin Nicole over the phone (she lived in Las Vegas at the time) and we were both upset that she would not be in South Carolina when the boys were born. I remember crying together on the phone...happy and sad all at the same time. The next morning, I tried to call her, but she didn't answer. Little did I know that after we got off the phone that day she bought a plane ticket to come home. She flew through the night...for me. When I saw her face peek around the curtain, I was overwhelmed. A perfectly wonderful day was made more perfect because she was there.
2007 brought Nicole her own miracle. This time we shared her pregancy over the phone. All the while, I was saving my pennies to buy a plane ticket for October. There was absolutely no way I was going to miss her moment. In July, Nicole traveled home to go Fripp Island on our family vacation...and we joke now that Hudsen was determined to be a Carolina Girl from the beginning. Hudsen Blease Hold was born July 14th, 2007 after spending only 27 weeks in the womb. She weighed a mere 2 pounds 7 ounces.
Hudsen spent the next 58 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She benefited from technolgy and a staff of nurses and doctors that were remarkable. To give back, Nicole has decided to join in the effort to raise money for the March of Dimes. No one is working harder than the March of Dimes to understand the cause of prematurity and birth defects. Premature birth touches half a million babies and their families every year.
On April 25th, I will walk with my sister and her miracle. The "March for Babies" walk that we will be participating in, offers hope by raising funds for lifesaving research, education and innovative programs that offer solutions for babies born too soon or with birth defects. We would love for you to walk with us as we honor Hudsen and babies like her who are simply born too soon. Please visit www.marchforbabies.org/hudsensbigbrothers to sign up to walk with us or to help us reach our fundraising goals.