|Lola, Cal & Claire|
Cal was born in December of 1998 and was a typical, feisty boy until his sister, Claire came along when he was 2 1/2 years old. Something about her birth and her life in general changed him. He grew up. He "got" things. He tried like hell to make sense of this new life we all faced, and most of all, he reminded us what really mattered most -- the precious moments we had with Claire NOW. This was very hard for the rest of us to see, but Cal seemed to always understand.
I remember feeling guilty that he couldn't just be a 2-year-old without a care in the world. I wished that he didn't have to understand that there was this chance that his baby sister, Claire, might not live one year. He used to ask us, "Mom, when is Jesus coming for Claire?" I would cry & cry after he left the room because that just wasn't fair for my baby to have to worry about. But the gift that came with this awareness was the gift of PRESENCE. We all quickly figured out -- in part because of Cal's young wisdom -- that we would have a lifetime to grieve for Claire after she was gone, but we could make a shitload of memories NOW which would sustain us down the road. We were bound & determined to MAKE THOSE MEMORIES. And have loads of fun in the process. Our outlook quickly shifted, and that is where it's remained for the past 10+ years.
It was again in the winter of 2006 that Cal (then age 7) uplifted us once again. We had just learned that Lola would be born with the same condition as Claire, and it literally knocked the wind out of us. I remember crying for a day or two straight, trying to make sense of WHY this was occurring a second time. Why couldn't Lola be born without a disability? I remember Cal asking questions about Lola and her health. I could not assure him that she would be OK, but I told him that we just needed to pray for her. He said, "Mom, I just want to know her...no matter how long she's here." I was never so proud in all my life.