Hi friends! This would be Aunt Jennifer/Aunt Sennifer/Aunt Hutch/Aunt these-babies-can-call-me-whatever-they-want . . . signing in for the first time. I’m Clayton’s big sister and proud new aunt of CJ and Keagan.
My dad used to say that “every day is a good day.” That’s become my life’s motto, and in the case of my little peanuts, it’s their reality. Each day that they are with us improves their chances of survival, and with each day, they continue to amaze me. The medical details are intense and can be overwhelming, and I know my brother is extremely protective of his family and what details need to be shared, but all I will say is that the little peanuts aren’t doing anything doctors don’t expect, and they are chugging right along. Keep the positive thoughts coming though because they will need them for a long time.
Instead of elaborating on the babies, I thought I would tell you how their parents are doing. Having been a parent for six years now, I know that once you have a kid, you cease to exist. J For some reason, people just forget your name. Now you’re known as “so and so’s mom or dad.” I’m used to fading in the background at this point, but Clayton and Kendra are inspiring so they deserve a little attention.
Being a new parent is scary. It’s scary when the kid pops out at full term, weighing 8+ pounds, and doing everything you’d expect a new baby to do. What Clayton and Kendra are facing is unpredictable and beyond challenging, but they handle it with such grace and courage. They listen attentively to their doctors, ask questions, and maintain control over CJ and Keagan’s care. Instead of freaking out over their circumstances, they roll with it. I truly believe their calm demeanor is what’s keeping these babies stress-free and thriving. Babies pick up on that sort of thing.
I’ve always known my brother was a good man too, but this experience has shown me just how strong he is and how caring he is. He is so in tune with everyone’s needs, and he has firm priorities. He gets the sacrifice piece and has taken on his new role as daddy like a total pro. He’s been through a lot in the last few years, and anyone else in these circumstances would play the “why me again” card, but he doesn’t. Life happens, and while this isn’t what he may have pictured for the past six months, “it is what it is” (which is what he would probably say), and he makes the best of his life. He is phenomenal as a man, father, and husband. I am so proud to be a part of his world.
Kendra is inspiring to me. I have loved this woman since she came into my life, but watching her over the last few days, I have come to respect her on a whole new level. Looking back, I was a wimp when I was recovering from a C section. Seriously. Someone should have slapped me and said toughen up, lady. I think Kendra could run a mile right now, if we’d let her. She changes diapers, pumps around the clock, sleeps on uncomfortable hospital beds . . . I admire her strength. Most new moms are weepy messes and allow that to be an excuse. Kendra is strong. She is beyond strong. She is handling this with such courage, and she has the most amazingly positive attitude. I think her positivity keeps us all thinking good things and prevents our minds from wandering to the worst case scenario. These babies couldn’t have a better mother, and I couldn’t have a better sister. I may already be an experienced mom, but Kendra is teaching me more about motherhood than I think she realizes.
Through this ordeal, Clayton and Kendra’s strength as individuals has kept them going, but more than that, the love they have for each other keeps everyone going. They take care of each other. They rely on each other. They are role model parents and spouses, and as you think about our new babies, please think of them too. My request for you is that you pray for the babies to grow and get stronger, but at the same time, say a prayer of thanks that CJ and Keagan have the parents they do. I am certainly grateful for both of them