Updated: Apr 6, 2020
September 18th, 2015 was an incredible day! I got to stand an embrace my brother as he welcomed his son LIncoln into the world. I gave him a huge hug and told him congratulations. I remember the sense of pride i felt knowing my little brother was going to be a father and I remember thinking to myself what kind of dad he was going to be. Unfortunately, his son had been born too early. He was a micro-preemie. Lincoln spent months in the NICU. My brother was in the hospital every morning from the time he woke up until the time he went to sleep. He would sit next to his incubator and read to his son, sing songs to him, and tell him stories. I would go visit and sit there with him while he changed his tiny diapers, and held his hand. I was so so proud of my brother.
On December 6th, 2015 things took a turn for the worse. My nephew Lincoln was not developing. It was time. My brother had to make the most difficult decision of his life. He had to make the decision to take his son off of life support. My entire family rushed to the hospital to make sure that we were all there. That's just what we do. We are always there for each other. We weren't allowed to go in the back and had to wait in the waiting room, but we were there.
On April 13th, 2019 I came home from work. My brother and I had been living together for a few years now and my dad was staying with us. April 11th was my birthday, so my dad was there to celebrate with me. When I walked in the door from work, my dad said, "do you want to tell him?" to my brother. My brother then proceeded to tell me that my sister, who was pregnant, had gone in for her routine checkup and as they did the ultrasound, they couldn't find a heartbeat. I crumbled onto the couch. My dad and brother were in tears. We immediately packed up a bag and got in the car and drove to Flagstaff. We met up with my mom and headed to the hospital. My sister, her husband, and her two kids were there. We all sat together and cried.
My brother and sister are my best friends in this world. I love them both so much that it hurts. I have seen them both at the absolute rock bottom of their lives and both of them have come out of it with grace, with an attitude of wanting to live their lives in a manner that their children would be proud of. My sister and her husband do absolutely EVERYTHING with their kids. They take them on trips, and go camping with them. They volunteer at their school, they host events at their house for their friends. They truly embody what it is to be loving parents and I am so proud of them! My brother searched and searched his soul for a way to honor his son. One day, he decided to get his real-estate license. He is an engineer so I was curious as to what he was doing. Well, what he did was awesome! He started a group for traveling nurses to help them to find places to live. On top of that, he donates 100% of his commission to the children's hospital.
Life is not about our successes. It isn't about money. It isn't about our job, what we own, or where we have traveled. Life is about making a difference. My brother and sister are my inspirations. I think about my niece Penelope (Penny) and my nephew Lincoln every single day. My family is my life! That's why, if I have ever called you "brother", it's the most distinguished way I can think of to tell you how much you mean to me. While I have gotten to do some really awesome things with the sport of volleyball. All I have ever wanted is to help people. I want to make my niece and nephew proud to be a part of my family.
I have been asked more times than I can count, "how do you stay so calm during tight matches?" Well, the answer is perspective. Do I want my athletes to win? Absolutely! I love seeing their success. The perspective I have on life is much different though. The little things in life no longer bother me. All I can think of in those moments... Am I making my niece and nephew proud of me?