Children running free through the yard; the sounds of laughter filling the neighborhood; the smell of a barbeque wafting through the air. As the hustle and bustle of back to school now takes precedence, these moments become memories of an epic summer.
When you think of an “epic summer,” a big vacation or a life changing event might come to mind. But for my surviving triplet, epic means something completely different. Simple activities like blowing bubbles and taking a trip to Target were epic in our eyes. It’s those little things that are so big to our family. Last summer, Peyton turned one-year-old. While most kids were walking and even saying a few words, my daughter was still a little baby. She and her siblings were born four months premature, a big reason why she is now our only survivor. Peyton has faced so many struggles since day one and continues to overcome obstacles more than two years later. A year ago, she wasn’t crawling, not able to even say mamma or dada. It was like watching a child grow in slow motion. And a year ago, we were reminded of how fragile her health was. A simple cold turned into pneumonia; Peyton’s lungs still premature like the rest of her body. Unable to fight off the illness at home, our daughter was back in the hospital, the same place where she spent several months as a newborn, and the same place where two of our children passed away.
Boy, what a difference a year makes. This summer has been epic! Our tiny baby has blossomed into an active toddler. My husband and I watched in awe this summer as our little ball of energy began to run everywhere, even the length of the University of Illinois football field! Gone are the days of her “blob stage.” Instead, Peyton can be found scaling furniture and using sign language to make up for her lack of words. Gone are the days of staying in hibernation, worried about every single germ. These days, Peyton loves to join me for our weekly grocery shopping or a trip to pick up donuts, which she responds with a loud “yum yum”!!!
Our healthy girl experienced her first State Fair this summer, getting up close and personal with new animals and plenty of fried food. Peyton learned to kick a ball and how to blow kisses, and she signed for more as she watched fireworks light up the night sky. Our perfect little preemie is growing up before our eyes. Each little excursion and activity symbolizing another exciting milestone. And that in itself, makes for an epic summer in our eyes.