You were born in a blaze of courage. In a time when we knew nothing of our future, our survival, the state of our emotional and physical health, we clung to the notion that you would be. You were the shining star in our darkest of nights, the light that carried us through our most difficult time. You were the inspiration and the strength that made us all believe that we could carry on, despite our deepest fears and insecurities.
A year before your birth, your father survived a near fatal accident. They say that I saved him, but I say that the accident saved BOTH of us. For it was the day that would change us forever: the trauma we both endured from experiencing and surviving such a horrific event permanently burned into our souls. We had two options: either admit defeat and sink into the abyss of hopelessness that threatened us constantly, an option that seemed quite appealing some days. Or, we could be courageous and allow this accident, which we felt was no accident at all, to be our second chance at life. We could face our new reality with a fierce and bold passion and allow ourselves the space to be something new, something better, something we had always envisioned. From death, we could choose to live.
We found out about you only 6 short months after that ill fated day in the desert. It seemed surreal, that an almost certain death was so quickly replaced by a new life. The thought of you invigorated our spirits after 6 months of doctors appointments and surgeries and one disappointment after another. I remember the look on my mother's face when we told her about you, a look of complete awe. "Finally, we have good news!" she cried as she held me close. Finally, just as we were beginning to lose steam after months of struggling to stay afloat, we learned that you were coming to be with us. And just the idea of you, the notion that we had somehow created a brand new little soul while circling in and out of darkness, it was just the push we needed. You filled us up with courage and forced us to leave behind our grief, our sadness, our heartache. Instead of just surviving, we started truly living again. Because if you could have the courage to come into our lives at such a vulnerable and fragile time, then surely we could have the courage to pick up the pieces and move forward.
To be truly courageous, however, means more than just putting on a brave face and fighting on the front lines. To be truly courageous requires you to admit your fears and insecurities, to face yourself in the mirror everyday and acknowledge the truth: that sometimes you don't have all the answers. There were days when we didn't really know how we could make it all work: would your dad ever be able to hold you? Would you ever know the same joy that your sisters felt when their strong and fearless Daddy held them up in the air and swung them around? Could he teach you to throw a baseball, tie your own shoes, play the guitar, when he was still relearning to do these things himself? There were nights when we felt strong enough to voice these concerns, brave enough to cry into each other's arms and wonder how. But these fears, our doubts, Daddy's uncertainties: they became the fuel for a fire that reignited our souls. Suddenly, Daddy's physical therapy was about so much more than just a simple recovery. His exercises were soon focused on holding the baby, lifting the baby, carrying the baby. Our focus began to shift as we prepared to meet you, broken and scarred, bruised and battered, the pieces all started to come together. And with only 8 weeks left before your due date, we drove to Houston for what we hoped was the last surgery, a surgery that would take 8 weeks of recovery. "Just in time", the doctor told us. Just in time.
Your Daddy not only kept his arm against all odds, but he actually learned to use it again. He was there to catch you when you were born, played guitar to soothe you through the long infant nights, and lifts you up higher and higher each and every day. You don't see his scars as anything other than Daddy, the deep lines marking up his body nothing more to you than another thread in the fabric that makes up your hero. Your father has had more courage than any person I have ever met, his faith and passion, his ability to rise from the ashes and become something stronger and more beautiful: he leaves us awestruck. But part of that courage came from you. It is a part of you, as you are a part of him. This is your legacy, the truth from which you were born, a boy born in a blaze of courage. For all of your days, people will tell you this story, our story, the story of a family who refused to just give up and accept the never ending tidal wave of bad news. You are our living proof that through faith and love and hard work, the most precious and beautiful moments are still to come. You are our living testimony, and we are yours. Be courageous, my son. Never lose hope, never give up.