Here is the latest article that I wrote for Daddy's newsletter.
As we took the ninety minute drive up to Timpanogos Park, I couldn’t help but remember that almost exactly one year earlier had been the happiest day of my entire life. Not too many people can pinpoint the exact day on which their life felt absolutely perfect, complete, and fulfilled. But I sure can. One year ago we were driving to this same park with Carter bundled in his car seat. All of our children were with us. Our family was together. Our family was complete. Everything was absolutely perfect.
It was Carter’s first and only birthday, and we had quite the celebration planned. It started with a walk/run event which benefited Operation Smile, an organization that funds cleft lip/palate surgeries in third world countries. It seemed right that we participate in this event since Carter was born with both a cleft lip and palate. One year ago, Carter’s stroller was strapped full of his medical equipment. With the help of some of our railroad family, we navigated his stroller through the one mile path. We walked that mile proudly, but this year was different. I still walked that mile with pride, but it was a different kind. We were participating in this event as a memorial for Carter, not with him. Even though he wasn’t physically there, I was proud to think that our baby boy was indeed smiling down on us.
When we arrived at the park, it was cold. It was bitter cold. A storm had blown through early that morning, and buried the running trail with snow. I was amazed to see that despite the terrible weather, there were at least two hundred people who had come to support this wonderful charity. Over forty of those people were there to represent Team Carter. To say that the running path was treacherous was an understatement. There were parts that were a mix of sharp rocks, ice, and snow. Before the race started, the director announced that the participants would have to walk in some areas. It reminded me of the beginning of Carter’s life when a doctor informed us of what our baby’s life would be like. It was also a treacherous path, so we walked through the tough parts. As the runners lined up at the starting line, there were a lot of complaints about how cold it was and how terrible this run was going to be. Those were soon silenced with the thought that nothing had ever been easy in Carter’s life, so why should this be?
The gun fired and the race was on. The journey to the finish line had begun, and what a hard journey it was. Many of the people found it difficult to breathe in the cold air, much like Carter struggled to breathe through his damaged airway. There were several trips and falls, but each time the runners jumped back up and continued on just like Carter had continued to Keep On Keepin’ On. It seemed as though each runner who crossed the finish line had some sort of injury. Skinned knees and bruises were in abundance, but the runners beamed with pride at what they had accomplished. I’d like to think that at the end of Carter’s race, he beamed with pride at everything that he had accomplished. I know that I did.