Deca

4 Jun

1: Update

I’ve mentioned this in past updates, but my wife and I are foster parents. In 2016, we began fostering a 4-year-old boy who’s now an 8-year-old boy. In 2018, two of his biological sisters (now 13 and 14) joined us. We never planned on 3 children, that would be too much serendipity. But the Universe, unsympathetic to our aesthetic ideas on thematic arcs, said, “No. You’ll parent three. Three is what you’ve been prepared to handle. It has to be three.”

As I type these words, we’re in the final stages of adoption. Without revealing anything that might put us in legal murkiness, the duration of our childrens’ particular case is in record-breaking territory. All told, our kids have been dealing with impermanence for nearly 5 years and we’ve spent the majority of that time working to change that. We’ve been playing The Long Game so long, we sometimes forget there’s an eventual finish line.

We love them like crazy. We’re so proud of them. They’ll be adopted soon. We can’t wait.


2: Asshole Hat

When I began this online journal 10 years and a handful of months ago, the term “blog” wasn’t yet regularly inspiring eye-rolls, but the internet marches on. Nevertheless, this wasn’t my first blog and I’d learned a couple of lessons from previous blogs that I decided to bring to Tips On Triplets.

The biggest lesson: stay on topic. This was never meant to be a spot for silly cat videos or career self-promotion or political meanderings. This was meant to be a parenting blog about the unique experience of having and raising triplet children. Sure, there’d be art, there’d be storytelling. Tone: mostly light and funny with the occasional swollen-heart moment. Then 6/4/2011 happened and TOT quickly transitioned into a blog about grief.

While I’m very politically opinionated, I made the decision right from the jump that I’d leave politics out of my writings here. Conservative, liberal and anything in-between, I didn’t want to alienate my readers by spouting off about gun legislation or socialized healthcare. I might care deeply about how you vote and what you believe, but, I decided, this blog wouldn’t. All were welcome, particularly parents, especially triplet parents.

That said, 2020 was a hell of a year and, throughout, I found myself embroiled in many debates about topics that were thrown into the spotlight by COVID-19. In particular: masking, social distance and vaccines.

I’ve watched in horror as well-meaning, loving friends (most of whom are parents themselves) drank the Kool-Aid of Personal Liberty, choosing an entitled sense of “freedom” over health, safety and love for their communities and families. In my weaker moments, I’ve derided and lashed out directly at these people, losing friendships in the process.

“What am I doing?” I’ve sometimes thought later. “No one has ever been scolded into changing their stance on anything. What’s my endgame here? I’ve sacrificed relationships and convinced exactly no one. Am I part of the problem?”

And the thing I’ve come to recognize is this: I have an admittedly low tolerance for parents who are unable to consider a reality in which they might one day be sitting where I’m sitting.

Or, putting on my asshole hat to say it more plainly: You’re not invulnerable. Your loved ones are not invulnerable. It can seem inconceivable that the universe is so cruel a place that the people you love most would be taken from you. In a way, I’m happy for your naiveté. And the last thing I want is to inspire people to live a life of perpetual paranoia. But ten years ago today, I sat in a tiny room with my wife and experienced a reality I was never built to handle. And that reality, I promise, isn’t eager to salute you for playing fast and loose with your health, the health of your loved ones, or the health of your community.

This isn’t a political blog, but nevertheless: Listen to the experts. Honor the science.

Vaccinate yourself and your family.


3: Ten

Speaking of that tiny room, I recall a question forming in my brain that day that I’d wind up asking myself often in the ensuing weeks and months:

How will I feel in 10 years?

And it looks like, somehow, 10 years is here.

I wondered if it would still hurt as much as it did that day. (It doesn’t.) I wondered if it would still hurt at all. (It does.)

I wondered how people keep moving with their lives, how publicly it was appropriate to grieve, how soon was too soon to think about more children, what this meant for my career, what other people who have gone through similar circumstances do to cope. I wondered what a soul is, where Rudyard, Desmond and Oscar were and how much they understood.

Etc.

And while lots has happened over the past ten years, I’m surprised at how recent June 4, 2011 still feels. I remember Dr. Chao examining my wife, turning to the nurse and saying, as poker-faced as she was able, “Do you understand what you’re looking at?” I remember Carey’s breathing. I remember the nurse who cried as I cut Rudyard’s umbilical. I remember the quinoa salad Katherine dropped off at the hospital for us. I remember the smell of the boys. I remember my dad’s voice on the phone when I told him. I remember using my phone to update the blog with this entry, my sons’ bodies two feet away. I remember our pastor friend, Jerry, smiling sincerely and saying, “Oh, look at them,” before pronouncing a blessing on three boys who had been dead for hours.

Truthfully, I’m grateful that this still hurts, ten years later. It seems strange to say, but I hope it hurts forever.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the profundity of the insights, over 10 years, have flattened. I wish I had new wisdom, but I don’t think I do. I still miss them, still wish they’d lived, still dream of three troublemaking 10-year-olds in our house. I’m wondering if they’d be complaining about having to wear masks to school on their birthday. I’m wondering how well they’d get along with the three we’re adopting.

And I wonder how it’ll be at 20 years. Or 30 years. Will I always do this? “Would Desmond be married by now?” “Would Oscar be an accountant?” “Which one would have had children of his own first?” Will I always speculate on what might have been?

I really don’t know. I suppose I’ll continue taking it a year at a time.

But for now: Rudyard, Desmond, Oscar. I met you and said goodbye to you 10 years ago today. I’m still proud of you boys. Your mom and I still remember, still think of you every day.

Here’s to a decade of loving and missing you.

3 Responses to “Deca”

  1. noelleandphoebe June 5, 2021 at 3:53 pm #

    And I’m still here reading, year after year, wondering if there will come a year when there’s no entry to read, enjoying each word, pondering the connection I feel to strangers and talking to others about the blog I read with just one post each year.

    Thanks for writing, Jeremy.

    – Noelle

  2. Mom June 5, 2021 at 8:17 pm #

    Miss you and Carey and miss the boys. ♥️

  3. Erin Burtoft June 10, 2021 at 11:30 am #

    Beautiful post, and heartbreaking all at the same time. I wish they had lived. I wish I could have met them and held them instead of just wonder about them. I do know they are proud of you and Carey, and the three set to join the Bear ranks. Love to all 8 of you! 🙏🏼❤️

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