Hey there, newly diagnosed self. I’m still talking to you, chatting away. I know it’s all going in one ear and out the other. Overwhelming noise. Just confused noise. If only I could time travel to you to MAKE you listen. Mike has always said we are stubborn…
Actually, let’s talk about Mike. Seems quite relevant, seeing as it’s Father’s Day tomorrow and how this weekend he has once proved again, how he’s awesome with a capital A.
Mike and I have known each other since the year 2000. Little did we know when we met how things would pan out. It’s probably a good idea we didn’t have a crystal ball back then. I think we would have scared ourselves half witless.
Of course you know, Newly Diagnosed Self, of the history so far. How we met, married, bought our house, where we’ve holidayed. You were there :0) You also therefore know how he is kind to the core, patient, honest, fiercely protective and sees the world in a rose tinted way with only the good and very rarely the bad. A whole 6 foot 2 being of positivity where the simplest things in life are the best. Nothing is complicated.
I’m here to tell you tonight how all of those qualities are the very ones that will see you through this time and the days and years ahead.
He’s sitting next to you now, Newly Diagnosed Self. Take a look. The pain you have in your heart is in his heart too. You are blessed to be able to share this experience with someone who has that very thing in common. No one else in this world can imagine your pain apart from him as they are his children too. Half of you, half of him.
Look at the tears behind his eyes. Yet they don’t fall. So always and historically silently strong and yet again a stoic nature takes hold. Commendable bravery at a time when our world fell apart. Silently listening to the doctors delivering the grim tale.
Look at the way he holds you close and tightly, in that room you’re in. The doctors voices becoming muffled to your ears as your cries become more pronounced. He’s looking after you now, just like he’s always done. Just like a few days ago when you walked to the operating theatre to have the twins. He held your hand as you climbed up to have the spinal anaesthetic and didn’t let go until you were in recovery.
He raced to the neonatal unit to collect photos of the twins in their first hour so you could look at them overnight.
He helped you when the pain of the caesarean meant it difficult to move.
He was at the hospital first light to sit vigil with you at the twins’ incubators and stayed by your side until the sun set. We kissed the twins goodnight, neither of us knowing if they would still be there tomorrow.
Soon Newly Diagnosed Self, you will see him rise in the stakes of fatherhood again. When Reuben and I are transferred to Portsmouth neonatal unit but Zach has to remain in London (Yep, don’t freak out but that is round the corner for you….) Mike drives up to London every 1-2 days with little bottles of your expressed milk for the nurses to feed to Zach. Two hospitals in two counties, miles and miles apart, each day. He’s tired but he never comments on this.
You see, Newly Diagnosed Self, it will be Mike that gives you the best advice you will ever hear. You will get a LOT. It’ll come from all angles; therapists, doctors, friends, family. Even strangers. Yet listen to the one that is closest.
Amongst all the trauma and fear, Mike just said ‘all we have to do is love them’.
Let’s think about that for a second. It sounds so simple. How can such a complicated prospect of our life ahead be made that simple? There’ll be surgery, decisions, bad news, medicines, hospital commitments, lack of salary, heartache. I can hear the cogs of your mind working overtime with all the terrifying questions right now, Newly Diagnosed Self, but think about it. All those things ARE scary, they ARE challenging, yet you will cope. You will face them because you love those boys (and Harry) more than anything in the world. Mike is right. We just have to love them and by doing that, you’ll do your best. The rest will take care of itself.
There’s been so many examples of ‘we just have to love them’ that Mike has been at the centre of, Newly Diagnosed Self. It’s not just the fact that he’s the bread winner, working whereever and doing whatever to provide for us. It’s things like the time he held Reuben on a beach in cornwall at the seaside edge for a whole hour, ignoring the strain on his back, just so Reuben could feel the waves across his toes. Like the times he puts Zach high up onto his shoulders when his little legs are tired and his Ataxic wobbles are too much for him. How he instantly covers Reuben’s ears as he always knows when things are too loud and might scare him. How this weekend he took all three camping, to give them experiences like other children have. Then when Reuben was poorly, he drove him all the way back to me before going back again so the other two boys can finish their camping fun. I would love to list them all, yet I think it’s important you just see them for when they happen as you’ll be in awe of that husband of ours.
Perhaps we knew when we married him that Mike could be a potential candidate for father of the year. High 5 us, Newly Diagnosed Self!! I should have seen it when he supported us to train and qualify as a midwife, albeit I didn’t get to do that job for as long as I would have liked. When our cards were dealt, our life changed and Mike stepped up just like I knew he would. Often people say to me how I display such strength in all this. Yet, it’s Mike that is the backbone. He’s the one that silently carries on and whilst I’m worried or flapping about the next hospital stay or appt, he keeps calm and grounds me. He works all day and picks up the medicines on the way home. He works all day yet phones to see how clinic went. He works all day, then reads all the doctors letters at night. Amidst all that, he makes our life fun and happy, maintaining his cup half full attitude to every aspect of our life. Even when things hit the proverbial fan.
On my birthday this year, Mike asked if I would renew our wedding vows. So on June 2nd next year, we shall reaffirm what we are blessed to have. Amidst all of the worry and heartache of the last 6 years, we are stronger than ever. A complete unit. I thank him for what he does, but mostly for our happy life and what he has given me. I see so much of Mike in all three of the boys. Where else must they have got their kind natures and bloody astronomical bravery from. I will so much look forward to sharing another beautiful ‘wedding’ day again – it was probably the best decision I ever made doing it the first time round!
So thanks Mike. Not everyone is as lucky as we are.
I often look and think no wonder the world isn’t full of as much love as it should be. It’s probably cos most of the love is in my house. ❤️