I’m 20 years old. My marriage is in shambles, and, as such, I’m the sole breadwinner, working two jobs just to pay the mortgage. But this isn’t a sad day. I sit in a carpeted hallway, expectantly facing a closed white door. I have a whole day off—and adventure awaits!
It seems like forever and unfortunately my eyes keep wandering to another door that conceals a bedroom down the hallway. But I tell myself to never go down there...ever.
I’m just about to get sucked down the hall, when I hear a little noise, something I’ve been waiting for.
I open the white door and can hardly contain my joy. My very own princess, my perfect baby stands in her crib. Curly hair frames her face, and she giggles when she sees me. We are Heaven—to each other. I whisk her up, and we spin.
The morning is a blur of reading, singing, and playing. I hold her on my hip and cook up new ideas for lunch. But I only finish when she’s tasted the final product, and she points her cubby finger in approval.
After she eats, I clean her up, and her long eyelashes start to flutter. But I don’t just want to put her in bed. She falls asleep, finally closing her eyes after staring into mine with such love. And I hold her there in my arms. I don’t care how we’re both so young, or how tired I am from working too many hours, or how worried I am about divorce. My baby, well, she’s MY world.
After a while, I bring Ruby to her crib and cover her with the best blanket we own.
It’s only then that I can’t resist the pull down the hallway. There’s another crib in there, an empty crib. Tears flood my eyes as I remember my baby boy who died. And I must have been there a long time. After an eternity of silence, I hear my little girl down the hallway.
I rush to her, whisk her up again and hold her tight. She hugs me back, always making everything better. I wipe my eyes so she won’t know anything’s wrong, kiss her on the forehead, and ask what adventure we should go on next! We pull out her blocks, and instead of focusing on things that are broken and sad, the two of us begin building.
I thought of this memory because I threw up blood this week. Turns out I needed to come off my blood thinner, but it was still a scary experience considering everything I’m going through.
And that night as I told myself that despite pain, more intense cancer treatments, and the fear they inevitably bring, what keeps me strong is my family and friends.
In life we often have two doors to chose from. Regardless of our circumstances, instead of regret and bitterness, choose love.