Three years ago tonight I was sitting in the NICU of the Jewish General here in Montreal thankful that my youngest son had made it through the worst part of his pneumothorax without a chest tube and hopeful that he continue to get stronger. The fact that I still get upset stomachs and a little freaked out every year when I look back at this site and the pictures of him in the hospital is something that will probably never stop. I don’t welcome it, but it does make me feel a little more human. It also makes me appreciate how fragile and short life can be. I look around at friends whose kids have been in the hospital and we all seem to have the same look; a little older, a few more lines in the face and a much softer tone in our voice. I’m not in anyway saying that we let these little guys get away with anything either but there is this bond between parent and child that really grows strong after something like that. Jacques was merely hours old when all this happened, yet even today, all I ever see is this little fighter who is so determined. He wakes up in the morning and just never stops until his head hits the pillow and even then we have sometimes have a hard time convincing him that he needs to sleep.
Now when you look at him play with his brother, friends and cousins you would never in a million years think that he almost didn’t make it though that first night. Our paediatrician always says that kids heal fast, that they are practically made of rubber, but I am tempted to say that they are like memory foam. They might bounce back to their original shape but deep inside that remember everything like a sponge and use that to grow and fight harder to regain their original shape.
Denise and I are so lucky to have been blessed with 4 awesome children, each with their own special gifts and ways of making us smile, cheer and burst our laughing as well as occasionally pushing all the wrong buttons. Yet we are truly blessed by their health and great spirits. There are so many kids that are less lucky and don’t bounce back so well. Their parents have it so much harder and often struggle to make sense of something that was never supposed to happen. Having gone through the first 5 days of Jacques’ life, Denise and I are always aware of what might have been and we have never forgotten. Even though life with twins is as busy as it is, we’ve tried to be there for those who needed someone to listen, some advice or a few minutes of respite to catch their breathe and make it through the next few hours. We did it because we knew our fiends needed it, we did it because of how much we needed it and appreciated it. We’ve always tried to pay it forward and this year, thanks to my new job we are continuing to do just that. We are giving to the Montreal Children’s Hospital who just happen to coordinate all the logistics of transporting sick kids to the various children’s hospitals in Quebec, the whole province: top to bottom, east to west. They do it all: helicopter, ambulances, nurses, first responders. The whole works. My buddy John is a top notch Paramedic in Oz and one of the best lifeguards I ever had the pleasure to work with, but this Paediatric Marine Corp makes him look like a boy scout. We owe them Jacques life and we can’t ever thank them enough. So do us a favour, and in the name of Les Boys: Freddie & Jacques, please give generously to your Children’s Hospital wherever you are and then reach out to your friends or colleagues that are going through a rough patch and can’t seem to see the light past the mountains of kids appointments, treatments and just be there. Be supportive even when they say they don’t need it, because I can guarantee that behind their pride they are so very thankful you are there.