Monday, April 9, 2018

Family Vacation

The thoughts and feelings are so different at the start of a vacation compared to the ones you have on the long drive home. The hope is that things will be magical. You have so many fun things planned. Go running on the beach with your beautiful wife (didn't even come close to happening). Spend quality time with each child. Watch the kids laugh, play and grow closer to each other. I should learn by now that things will never be like my perfect world I have created in my head. Whatever it was or it wasn't, memories were created and now they are forever mine. Like...

Carrying a breast pump through Hard Rock casino.

Putting Jo Jo's feet in the ocean for the first time.

Jake surfing and then being sick for the next 3 days.

Abby's face getting fried all except her eye lids. The only part of her face where sunscreen was applied.

Jumping over waves with Ally.

Watching the smile on Kade's face as he swam without fear in his Spiderman floaty.

Kylee sleeping on couch cushions in our room the last night.

The perfect weather. The week we are going home.

Of course there are all the memories that didn't happen. For now they stay in my head as hopes and dreams. But maybe that's how it's suppose to be. Maybe that keeps us coming back. Maybe it makes life bearable, something to look forward to. May God grant us the time to go back to the magical places where hopes and dreams can turn into memories that we can forever keep and forever cherish.

To my dear wife and children, I say I love you more than words can describe. Please know that I tried. Please know that there was so much more I wanted to give each of you. Jenette, I'm sorry I get so lost in my thoughts. Kylee, I'm sorry you are the nanny, but please know you are an angel. Abbz, I'm sorry we didn't complete your 4 things. Jake, I'm sorry sickness robbed you of catching a few more waves. Allz, I'm sorry we didn't eat at a fancy restaurant with the whole family. Kade, I'm sorry I'm not more patient, something I will work on. Fo Fo, I'm sorry I didn't dip your toes in the Pacific one more time. What I am not sorry for is that for a week we were all trapped together. Trapped in a far away place. Where life disappeared and all we had was each other. It was far from perfect but to me it was beautiful.

I am already dreaming of the time we can be together again in the warmth of the sun, watching the waves roll in, where time can stand still and for a few short moments it can just be us.

Until we meet again Carlsbad...

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Josephine Denice Darais (born 7.14.17)

It was around 2 am on July 14th. Jenette said, "Something isn't right, I think I need to go to the hospital". "The baby isn't moving." I could tell Jenette was growing increasingly anxious. There were other times when the baby hadn't moved, but this time was different, something wasn't right. Jenette offered to let me stay in bed while she drove herself to the hospital to get monitored. I will forever be grateful I didn't accept that offer.

Driving to the hospital I remember thinking, man we are almost out of gas I will have to stop on the way home and get some. Boy was I clueless. I had no idea what would soon transpire.

At the hospital, they hooked Jenette up to the monitors to check baby's heartbeat...Nothing.  The only sound was Jenette's heartbeat and I could see the look of horror come across her face. As if out of nowhere a doctor showed up with an ultrasound and quickly found a baby's heartbeat. "There's a heartbeat!?!" Jenette gasped with a sigh of relief. The temporary joy was soon eclipsed by the fear on the doctor's face. There was a heartbeat, but it was the heartbeat of a baby struggling for life. Within seconds the scene went from a peace-of-mind-check-up to strangers pushing my wife out of the room as fast as they could. What the hell just happened. I'm now all alone, standing in a room without my wife.

Minutes later, 3 or 4 to be more precise, a nurse came back to the empty room, "Congratulations, Dad". It didn't seem like a congrats was in order. You just hit the door frame with my wife's hospital bed and took her away in a mad dash to the operating room. Oh, don't worry it gets better. Soon they led me to the war zone. I went into the room where they had performed a crash c-section on my wife. My dear wife was out cold on a metal table. The top half of her still covered in her street clothes. Blood was all over the floor and what seemed like 10 people or so working on stabilizing our sweet daughter. What kind of nightmare did I just walk into. I was in shock.

Two things I will never forget about that scene. First my sweet wife. There she lay completely unaware of what was happening, soon to come out of her anesthesia to be awakened to the hell I was now experiencing. Robbed of her perfect delivery. Robbed of the moment when the doctor hands Jenette our precious daughter and she holds her for the first time. I wanted this so bad to be a nightmare and Jenette could wake up. But it wasn't and seeing her on the bed, half naked, all cut up, broke my heart into a thousand pieces.

The second thing I will never forget is the first time I saw our sweet Josephine. I will never forget this moment. I know this is hard to imagine with a newborn, but the second I walked in the room she turned her head and opened her eyes and looked right at me. Through all the pain, those eyes, those amazing eyes spoke to me and told me it was ok. I know angels told her to look at me.

I would spend another hour in that room as trained angels both here and there worked on our daughter to get here stabilized and ready for transport via life flight to the NICU at Utah Valley Hospital where she would spend the next 3 weeks of her life.

So what happened? Josee had what's called a true knot in her cord. This knot at some point tightened to where it was starting to slow down blood flow. This led to a low heartbeat. Scary low. They never had to do chest compressions but she was fading fast. She came 6 weeks early.

As we sat in American Fork hospital for the next 2 days separated from our baby we were left to wonder. Is Josee going to be ok? How much stress was her body under? How long was she experiencing this horrible situation? The doctor couldn't give us much hope. He was careful. He didn't know. Later I would find out that he was very worried. She came out a very sick baby and we didn't know how or if she would bounce back.

There have been many miracles in the last few weeks but I will speak of three.

Miracle #1, Jenette. How did she know? The baby had times of not moving before. It would have been so easy for Jenette to just fall asleep and check again in a few hours for movement. But she didn't, she knew something wasn't right. She knew. She listened. Through angels unseen and babies unborn, Jenette was told to go to the hospital. "Jenette, get to the hospital". "Mommy, I'm in trouble please help me". You listened Jenette. You listened. And for that I shall be forever grateful. You truly are an amazing woman.

Miracle #2, Timing. The doctor said we only had minutes. A few more minutes and our baby would have been gone. I was one red light away from losing our daughter. But for us that night all the lights were green. All the staff at the hospital just seemed to be right there. No calling and waiting for doctors. The right people just started showing up. The timing had to be perfect. And it was perfect, we were on God's time.

Miracle #3, Healing. At first Josee was hooked up to everything. Ventilator, cords, tubes and monitors. We later found out babies that went through what she did often don't have a good outcome. What was going to be her outcome? It was the deepest darkest hell not knowing. One by one things started coming off. Josee was bouncing back. Not only was she bouncing back all her tests were coming back normal. EKG, NORMAL. Reflexes, NORMAL. Neural exam, NORMAL. Lab work, NORMAL. Brain scans, NORMAL. The surprise of the doctor clued me in to his worry he had previously so kindly tried to conceal. He couldn't believe it. She became known at the NICU as the miracle baby. And a miracle she is. Saved by the grace of God. Saved by the love of an amazing mother.

I'm not sure how many miracles I will witness in my life but as of late I have witnessed many. Josee, someday I will tell you how Mommy saved your life. I will also tell you about how God blessed your body to be completely healed. I will also tell you how you scared me so bad that you now owe it to me to be a perfect teenager. Mostly I will tell you how special you are. I'm not sure what you're to do in this life but I know it will be great. I know you will be great. In just under a month you have managed to bring us closer to God. You have reminded us that miracles can happen. You have shown us what is important in life.

 Oh how we love you baby Jo Jo.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Tempus Fugit

I can't believe it's been 5 years since I last wrote. I'm not sure why I stopped I just know I want to start again. So much has happened the last 5 years and I won't attempt to sum it up in a post. Eventually the important events will come up in my mind and I will write about them.

This post goes to my Kylee. My other children that may read this don't worry your turn will come. Kylee is 16 now. And I find myself an old man. I will be 40 this year. I'm really struggling with that concept which I will write about at a later date. 40? Are you kidding me? Back to Kylee. Where did the time go? Where did my little girl go that wanted to play barbies with me and give her horsey rides? It all just slowly slipped away.

I know that I often get in the way of our relationship. You aren't little miss innocent in this equation but I will take most of the blame I'm the adult(Actually I'm just a kid in an old man's body). I get frustrated a lot. I'm the dad who gets frustrated...and I'm...sorry(name the movie?). I think it boils down to fear. Fear of me failing as a parent. Fear of you making the wrong choices. Fear of people hurting you. Fear of seeing you sad. Fear of you missing out. I should understand that fear is the absence of faith. But fear is also an indicator of how much you love something or someone. The deep love, the love you can't possibility understand at your age, that I have for you is also the root cause of my struggles as a parent.

I want to carry you on my back. Hop on Ky Ky and daddy will take you wherever you want to go. I will wade through the deepest, coldest river for you. I will walk through the darkest forest and safely see you through. I wish I could carry you on my back through it all. Through all of life's challenges. But life isn't set up that way.

Amongst my frustrations, my imperfect parenting in general, please know this. I will always love you. I will always be here for you. I will be your biggest fan. As you begin to wade the waters of life know that I know you will make it. You will figure out how to get to the other side. One day we will all be on the other side of the river where the grass is green and the sun is shinning. There will be no more fear, just peace and joy. There will be us, all of us, where time can no longer slip away.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I Want To Be More Like Jakey

In a pool full of people there was Jakey swimming around in his Spider Man suit. He wasn't worried if he looked cool for all the other kids. He didn't care what anyone else might be thinking. He was just so happy that he had his Spider Man suit so he could finally swim without sinking.

Where do we get so messed up along the way? When do we start caring so much about what others think of us? We let fear of others take away opportunities to enjoy and experience. What wisdom it is the words, "...and become as little children...".

Jakey, I hope that in my lifetime I can achieve just a small portion of the innocence that you displayed today. You truly are my Super Hero.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Across Worlds

It's hard to look at life the same these days knowing that grandpa is in a different place. More than ever I wish I could talk to him, but where he is I cannot go. For now, I can only go to places in my mind that run deep with memories of Grandpa Barney.

As I knelt down to pray last night things took on much deeper meaning. I told Heavenly Father to say hello to grandpa for me. What an amazing thought. A message sent across worlds, to my grandpa, who now walks without pain.

Perhaps in time, our now distant worlds will be allowed to cross. Perhaps, he, can send a message to me. Talk to me grandpa. Send me a message of hope, show me how beautiful our lives can really be.

Grandpa, I love you across space and time.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Moment Sprinkled in Time

For many years my grandpa Barney has dragged a hose around his yard trying to keep it watered. He has worked hard to keep his lawn green. He is now dying of cancer. In the last week or so we have been working on a sprinkler system for him. Knowing his departure is drawing near, we have been working hard to at least get the front sprinklers working so he can see them. Last evening we finished the front yard and it was time to show the boss. He was in the family room and too weak to walk outside, so we sat him in a chair and carried him outside on the front porch. With tears in my eyes I turned on the front sprinklers and we all stood and watched Grandpa’s face light up with joy. "Damn good job" he said. No grandpa, you’ve done a damn good job at being a man. Grandpa, I’m sorry you won’t be around to use your sprinkler system, but may you rest easy knowing your lawn is green and that we love you so much.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I watched two people I love dearly cry yesterday.

First was my Grandpa Barney who has terminal lung cancer. Grandpa Barney, tall, strong, full of work, lay helpless, weak, discouraged, weeping for reasons why. Yet as we left his room, his request was clear, please raise the flag in the front yard. Grandpa, I stand tall and salute you, I honor you, I reverence in your example of work. Hang on grandpa the time is drawing near when your tears of pain shall be replaced with tears of joy.

Second was my grandmother Darais. Tears left her eyes as she listened to a familiar hymn that was being played by my daughter Kylee. The melody took her to days gone by when she was a little girl listening to her grandmother play the same hymn. I have never known one stronger in the faith than my grandmother Darais. Thank you for showing me what pure is really like. May you drift off tonight to your childhood street in California where so many sweet memories await you.

We all cry for different reasons in this life. I long for the day when we shall all cry for the same reason, the reuniting of all that was lost but found again, to be enjoyed with our loved ones forever more.