Twenty Years Ago Today …
I look at the number and I can’t believe it: 20. Isaac and Molly are 20 years old today. How can that possibly be? How can it be two decades since that day, that day I remember in such stark detail that it has become part of my DNA. I can’t remember most of yesterday, but I do remember almost every minute of November 17, 1991.
I couldn’t possibly have imagined today back then, but the years, the images of my babies tumble in my mind like a time lapse. I can’t isolate one image from another because they scroll past so quickly. I hear snippets of their voices — as babies, toddlers, school aged children and, now, adults. I can’t figure out how they are this close to adulthood when I still feel so far away from it.
In an amazing example of serendipity, November 17 is also World Prematurity Awareness Day, this year being celebrated globally for the first time, as Africa, Europe and Australia join the United States in the observance. For me, every day is Prematurity Awareness Day. Literally not a day goes by without some image, some story, some memory, some lasting or fleeting impact of that day making its way into my consciousness.
Prematurity awareness is a part of who I am. Ironically, it’s really not a part of who Isaac and Molly are anymore. When I tell their tale to someone who has just met them, it’s hard for newbies to grasp. Ike and Molly are just so … normal. The pictures help bring it home, but unless you knew them then, you can’t imagine how far they have come. But even though they have put most of the trauma and drama behind them, little reminders creep up: an achy scar, organizational issues, unexplained illnesses that may (but probably aren’t) related to their early births.
I suppose it isn’t kosher to say that we “celebrate” Prematurity Awareness Day; I think its politically correct to say we “observe” it. Not me. I celebrate it. I celebrate Isaac and Molly’s birthday on this day. I celebrate the doctors and nurses and specialists who helped save them, and those who have cared for them since. I celebrate the work of The March of Dimes and the researchers that came before November 17, 1991, work that gave us the techniques and technology that preserved their lives. I celebrate the friends and family and strangers who hoped and prayed for them.
But mostly, I celebrate Isaac and Molly, not for who they were or how they started, but because of who they are and all they have given me. Twenty years of wonder. Twenty years of joy. Twenty years of being the luckiest mom in the world.
I hope you’ll celebrate with me. Take a minute to learn more about prematurity and the millions of preemies born this year who still have a long way to go. I hope you’ll remember the brief lives of those who did not survive, because their lives should be celebrated, too. I hope you will spread the word on this World Prematurity Day. Or take a look back at where Ike and Molly started by going back to the beginning of this blog, started one year ago today.
Happy birthday, Isaac and Molly. I can’t wait to share the next 20 years with you.