Because sometimes a status update just isn't enough.

Because sometimes a status update just isn't enough.

04 May 2012

The one in which I get mushy

*Author's warning:  Totally sappy Mommy-blog about to unfold.  My son Kacey is currently in Afghanistan and today is his 24th birthday.  I'm a giant blob (blog??) of Mommy-ish memories.

Most. Precious. Face. EVER.

Dear Kacey,

Happy birthday to my beautiful boy.  Even though it was 24 years ago today, I am still awash with the same emotions that I felt back then:  the fear, the joy, the desperate hope that you would be okay and that I could take you home and keep you safe forever.

I still remember the first time I saw you:  A nurse had taken a poloroid photo of you, all hooked up to monitors and IVs, your tiny body completely broken, as you struggled to live.  She wanted me to see you while you were still alive, because no one believed that you would be for long.

You were so perfect...  At 9 lbs 6 ounces and 23 1/2 inches long, you looked more like a two month old than a newborn hot off the presses.  You had lovely dark hair, deep blue eyes, and the most precious chubby cheeks.  My heart ached to hold you and touch you, but I wasn't allowed to even see you.

The picture the nurse handed me is something I treasure to this day:  The first glimpse I had of my new baby boy.

Your birth was so traumatic.  You had no heart beat for over 15 minutes, and the doctor had to break all of your little bones to deliver you as quickly as possible, with the hope of saving your life.  Your dad was in Japan and I was in California, with your aunt Andrea there to hold my hand and comfort me.  She saw you born but never said a word to me at that moment about how positive she was that you were dead.  You were blue and lifeless, classified a stillborn.  

I kept asking to see my baby and no one would look at me or talk to me.

When they rushed you from the delivery room, I had no idea why.  All emergency doctors were called to the Neo Natal ICU, and no one bothered to tell me that you were clinically dead and that I hadn't given birth to a perfect, healthy baby.  It wasn't until hours after you were born that a doctor came to my room to tell me that you were breathing and your heart was beating, but you wouldn't be fine.

You had been without oxygen or a heartbeat for way to long to ever be "okay."

Hours and hours later, I was finally allowed to go see you.  There you were, this chubby, big, perfectly formed boy in a room full of frail premies, in an incubator and hooked to every monitor imaginable.  

I couldn't pick you up and hold you because your little bones were broken, so I sat next to you and held your tiny hand, memorizing your face so that I would never forget it.

Every breath could have been your last but you, my Kacey-doodles, were a fighter.  A quiet fighter, determined to live and to be more than anyone thought you could or would be.

You came home on Mother's Day, 1988.  I will never forget the phone call I got that morning when the hospital let me know I could come and get you and you had been cleared to come home.  

Best. Mother's Day. EVER.

We had to hold you on a pillow so that we wouldn't hurt you, and I spent every night lying awake listening to you breath.

Your prognosis was grim... "IF" you survived, as the doctor's kept reminding me, you would never, ever be "normal."  

"There WILL be brain damage," they assured me, "We just won't know how much until he's closer to a year old.  He could have CP, he could never walk or talk... we just don't know yet."

Night after night I would lie there in bed, afraid to sleep, afraid I wouldn't hear you take your last breath.

You never did.

You grew and became strong and did all the things babies are supposed to do, when they are supposed to do them.

You walked and talked and cried and laughed and the doctor's told me at each appointment, "Don't get your hopes up... sometimes severe brain damage can take over a year to identify."

You turned 1, then 2, then 3... 

No brain damage.

Just a healthy, precious boy, growing and filling our hearts and our home with the special kind of funny that only you can bring.

Identify this, Doctors:

That's my "brain damaged" boy in the middle...

You are now 24 and have defied every odd known to medical science.  You are intelligent, happy, funny, strong, determined, joyful, silly, and everything you could possibly be, and more.

I mean, I admit there have been moments...  For example, this particular look does not exactly do you justice:


And I have an entire book of "Kacey-isms" that keep us rolling at family get togethers...

("Did the lights flicker??  Oh never mind... I just blinked.")

And of course, moments like this...

But you are my miracle, Kacey.

You are also my hero.

Be safe, be strong, and most important, come home soon.  In one piece.  I mean it.  

Kacey on the left, my son Brennan on the right... The day Kacey deployed to Afghanistan.

Happy birthday, baby.

Love you forever.



  1. I am a pretty new reader and I love the blog. This post made me all misty. What a great story.

    1. Thank you :)

      I love new readers!! And old readers... and sometimes readers...

  2. Goddamn you, Dani, and your sappy emotional lovefest. You made tears come to my eyes. Tears!! (Bitch).

    So happy that he became a strong and healthy boy. Happy birthday to him. And I second the motion that he return to you safe and all in one piece.

    Hugs, girl.

    1. Every party needs a pooper and today it's meeeeeee!!!


  3. Tears are streaming down my face and dripping on the computer... Shit, Dani!

    Happy Birthday to your baby and cheers to his mama. xoxo

    1. Thanks, doll!! I love not crying alone. <3

  4. My eyes are full with tears. This is beautiful. And he is soo handsome!

    1. Thank you! He is so handsome, isn't he? Beautiful inside and out.

  5. *sob sob sob* What a great day for you Dani and how fab to have such a talented wonderful son!

    I hope that he comes home soon so that you can give him a big hug.

  6. I am not a mushy person, so my incessant blinking while reading this post is NOT because I'm crying.

    Ok, maybe a little.

    What a touching post. You've got yourself some handsome boys Dani!

  7. I will NOT cry!! I will NOT cry!! I need to go find a kleenex. There's something in my eye.

  8. Excuse me, but this went beyond a mushy warning...where was the get your damn tissues warning? What an amazing story. Happy Birthday to your hero! Have a cupcake momma!

  9. *Sniff* Be safe, Birthday Boy, and thank you.

  10. Such an amazing story . . . :::thunderstruck::: . . . {{{Dani and Kacey}}}

  11. Holy shit woman! Thanks for making me cry. I sat in that chair and held my firsts ones hand just as you did only mine did not make it. My wonderful second born is going to turn 24 soon too. Time does fly. Your son is a doll btw :)

    God bless you and your son and bring him home safely.

    1. (((HUG)))

      You never forget those moments, do you? Even though I am so fortunate that my baby made it, and is strong and healthy, I always feel that ache and that grief that I felt sitting there with him, wondering if I would ever get to bring him home. It never goes away.

  12. You done good, Mom.
    Reeeeeeeal good.

  13. Awwww... thanks :) I think so, too.

  14. That was freakin' beautiful. And it's mom's job to embarrass your kids for as long as you want.


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