I can remember those days in the NICU like yesterday. I don’t usually let myself go there because it is a place I like to stay for a while, give myself time to cry if I need it, and sometimes like tonight – I don’t want to leave.
I knew he would love her, because he already did, so much. But seeing his love in action, was something else I could never have imagined if I tried. I think I loved him even more after seeing him with her, if that was even possible.
When she left our world, and we said goodbye, we mourned differently, but I never doubted how much he cared for her. And when people would ask if he had any children, he’d share Jenna with them. To this day, if you ask him how many he has, he’ll include her in his answer, and say two.
It’s been three years since we said goodbye, and I have to say the pain is not searing anymore. It doesn’t feel like a fog or a living nightmare like is used to. It’s sort of just… life. It’s our new normal. We talk about her, we have her pictures all over our house, we share her with anyone willing to listen, and she will always be our first.
On Father’s day we might get a chance to go visit her, leave her a giant bunch of the pinkest gerber daisies we can find and celebrate the fact that regardless of how things unfolded, she made us parents for the first time. And what a privilege it’s been to share her with the world.
The truth is she gave us more than we could have ever given her. She opened our eyes to a deeper love, more compassion, and the chance to see life as a gift.
Because it really, really is.