Friday was the Trips 5th birthday. When speaking about my children, the pregnancy, birth, and growth, I really try to be Makir Tov to Hashem for all of the true miracles associated with these children. First, their conception after many years of yearning. Second, the amazing pregnancy. Yes, it was high-risk, fraught with concerns and fears. But looking back on it, it was a dream multiple pregnancy. I had great medical care and passed each milestone with flying colors. Even at the end, I was able to walk the stairs, down in the morning and up to bed at night. I went into labor in my own bed at 35 weeks. At the time, the national average was 32 weeks and my hospital's was 34.
The Trips' birth went smoothly and all three were over 5 lbs, which is huge for triplets. They all had to stay in the NICU only because I had not had a Strep B test and because it is standard operating procedure for triplets. Even so, they were only put in the "Feed and Grow" rooms.
We were all discharged from the hospital together on Day 4. All the books and articles you read during a multiple pregnancy prepare you for leaving your babies behind in the NICU. The nurses and doctors were all astounded to be sending us all home together. Miracles at every corner.
In the 5 years of their lives, the Trips continue to be little miracles (Bli Ayin Hara, Poo Poo Poo!) They have had none of the complications usually associated with multiples. There has been no RSV, OT, PT, feeding therapy, speech therapy, etc. They hit all of their developmental milestones and are right on target on their growth charts. All three are doing wonderfully in school, socially and academically.
On their birthday, I am again reminded of these miracles and express thanks to the One Above for what he has done.
This child has grown up with challenges we could never know or try to understand. He is severely visually impaired and of short stature among tons of other things. Once again, in His great goodness, Hashem granted this child miracles time and again.
Hashem placed him in a home that would not only care for him through his illness but enhance and promote his growth and success. His parents have an attitude and approach to their lives and challenges that is to be admired. His siblings, 2 healthy and another (surviving) with the same condition, are outstanding children. The community they live in provided care and support for the family's every need. They held bone marrow drives and parlor meetings, volunteered, and also gave them space when it was needed.
This boy is blessed with incredible strengths, including a gifted mind. After some slight delays mostly caused by his visual impairments and recovery from the transplant, by the time this child was in school, he was able to hit all educational milestones and more. He is fully mainstreamed in a black hat Yeshiva day school. He reads Hebrew and English braille. He has the makings of an incredible Gabbai, with a talent for knowing the tefillot, their halachot and pronunciation perfectly.
For his Bar Mitzvah, the expectations were a little different then for a sighted boy. Since the halacha is that you must actually read the Torah, he was not allowed to layn. So instead he:
1. Davened Kabbalat Shabbat
2. Had the Maftir aliyah
3. Layned the Haftorah (without a single pause or error!)
4. Davened Mussaf
5. Made a siyyum
6. Gave an incredible pshetl (d'var torah) that he wrote himself
7. Had the incredible poise and presence of mind to stand, shake hands, and thank each speaker, seeking them out if they mistakenly forgot to go over to him.
1 a: a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability b: an illustrious warrior c: a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities d: one that shows great courage
This man has served 2 Tours of Duty in Iraq and currently works in a position that is involved in the protection of our great nation. 12 years ago, he got a notification that he was a near perfect match for a little baby boy who desperately needed a bone marrow transplant. He did not know this child or his family, but he went forward with the painful donation without hesitation.
Since he lives about halfway across the country, he had yet to meet the boy, or his family, but he had spoken to them and had some written communication. A few weeks ago, he got an invitation to the boy's Bar Mitzvah. Not being Jewish, he showed the invitation to some Jewish friends. They told him that a Bar Mitzvah was a pretty big deal. So he responded that he would attend and flew in for the event.
Now, I am not sure even his Jewish friends could give him real insight to the particular Bar Mitzvah he was to attend. This was no glitzy, Hollywood affair. This was a very religious, modest, weekend event with only family and close friends attending. There was no band, sign-in board, candle lighting ceremony. There was a lot of davening, divrei Torah, rabbis, and kids. He and his ponytail were going to stand out.
When he was introduced Friday night by the Bar Mitzvah boy's father, he received a standing ovation. The Bar Mitzvah boy thanked him in front of the whole community for saving his life. I am sure this weekend he was hugged by more men (and no women!) then ever in his life. And yet, he hung around until the bitter end. Saturday night and as we said goodbye and thanked him for coming, he was still smiling and said "This was something else. I would not have missed it for anything."
Clearly, a hero. I was honored to meet him.
מה רבו מעשיך ה' כולם בחכמה עשית מלאה הארץ קנינך
Mah Rabu Maasecha Hashem Kulam Bechachmah Asita Malah Haaretz Kinyanecha
How great/many are Your deeds Hashem, All of them You have made with wisdom –the earth is full of Your creations.