On this day last year, I was boarding a plane home from a nice vacation at a beautiful resort in Jamaica. I was wrapping up one of the happiest, most fulfilling years of my life. I’ve always been a hard worker, but I taught myself a whole lot about motivation and ambition that year. And, on the eve of the new year, I said I was looking forward to being more ambitious in 2014.
Shortly after returning home to LA, I found out I was pregnant. We were so excited. I knew better than to wish the whole year away, but I couldn’t wait until September to meet my baby. Life was perfect. We were having a little boy, named him Luca, and he would be here in time for the MLS post-season, so he could even get a few games in this year. Plus, lots of my girlfriends were pregnant at the same time, with due dates only a few weeks apart for me. I was looking forward to the little group of friends that would be, minis of their daddies, all running around on the field post games.
Fast forward a few months and we find out Luca would be born critically and chronically ill and his outlook was grim. But, each appointment thereafter would prove miraculous is some little way. Luca would always show us something unexplainable by his doctors that suggested otherwise. And though we knew the reality of Luca’s situation, we held onto hope. And we were rallied around by friends and family, and even hundreds of people we don’t even know, for support during our days of waiting.
When Luca was born, he was sent straight to have his first open heart surgery. 14 minutes after to be exact. While most new moms are having skin on skin time with their babies, I was praying that I’d get to mine while his little heart was still beating. My first images of my baby were pictures sent to me by AJ. The first time I met my baby, he was laying on a bed, entangled in wires with a big patch on his chest that said “open sternum”, attached to a machine acting in place of his heart and lungs. I had just had a csection 28 hours prior and was wheeled out of the hospital screaming, thinking my baby was dead.
We spent a very special week with Luca. And that’s it. Just like that, it’s been four months since that week. Luca is forever just one week old.
And here we are now. Exactly one year later, and I’m about to board a plane back to LA, reflecting on the year I had. This year went a lot different than I could’ve ever imagined. I experienced ambition in a whole different way that I dreamed. Ambition to find light in my darkest days.
Why would I ever want 2014 to end? It’s when I learned I’d welcome a new baby into the world. It’s when I felt my baby rumbling around in my belly, safe and sound. It’s when I experienced becoming a mommy. It’s when I held my son. It’s when I kissed my son goodbye, forever. A new year means there’s more distance between Luca and me. A painful reminder that time is moving on without him.
So, in 2015, I’m still looking forward to experiencing more ambition. Ambition to live and love with a full heart, things my son never got to experience. Ambition to grieve and heal. Ambition to be the best version of myself.
Though the days are long, the years are short. And until I get to hold my sweet Luca in my arms again, I’ll carry his heart. I’ll carry it in my heart.