There are few moments in life when you feel completely and utterly alive.
For me, last Wednesday at 2 p.m. was one of those moments.
Both of my son’s grandmothers were 15 feet away from each other on their respective operating tables and under anesthesia at Florida Hospital. The surgeons were removing my mother-in-law’s kidney and putting into my mom’s body.
I wasn’t at the hospital for the surgery. My wife and I decided that she should go and be there with her mom and dad. Both my older brothers were also at the hospital in Orlando to be there with my mom and dad. I was on baby duty.
I knew the intense part of the four-hour surgery would happen around 2 p.m. — that’s when I went on a walk around a random lake near the apartment my parents are renting in Orlando, FL. I just couldn’t sit still. I carried my 13-month-old son in my arms. He had some peanut butter on his left cheek as he looked up at me and smiled.
One day, I’m going to have the joy of explaining to my son that his grandmother “Robi” is alive because his other grandmother “Birdie” gave her a kidney.
That’s the question that my mom asked my mother-in-law weeks before the surgery.
My mother-in-law’s response was direct and simple: “I want Watt to grow up with both of his grandmothers.”
Mom’s kidneys failed her over a year ago. She wasn’t responding well to dialysis. My dad, two older brothers and I were tested. None of us matched.
Sure, my mother-in-law knew my mom, but not that well. They didn’t grow up together. They didn’t live in the same town. They didn’t see each other very often. In fact, they’ve probably been together in person fewer than 10 times, total.
What do you say to your mother-in-law when she never complains or hesitates during the process?
What do you say to your mother-in-law when you’re scared and she’s not?
What do you say to your mother-in-law before she drives to the hospital?
What do you say to your mother-in-law when she’s the one donating an organ and not you?
What do you say to your mother-in-law when she gives your son the chance to have a relationship with both grandmothers?
There are few moments where life slaps you across the face and renders you speechless. It’s in these moments that you realize just how truly amazing life is.
Note: The surgery was a success and both of Watt’s grandmothers are doing well. Thank you for all the notes, thoughts and prayers.