A Mya Rule

That in families we all take care of each other. In February we took Mya out of school so Ellie wouldn’t get sick for heart surgery. It was a difficult decision for us to make. Mya started preschool in August right before Ellie was born and loved it. When Ellie was in the NICU, when we had a million doctor’s appointments to go to, when therapists came to the house only to see Ellie, school was the one thing that was just for Mya. A consistent schedule where she could learn with friends without overhearing words like heart surgery and Down Syndrome. As I sat in the hospital with Ellie in December thinking of ways I could keep these two loving sisters apart, a doctor mentioned something I had honestly never thought of, taking Mya out of school before surgery to keep Ellie from getting sick. I never wanted Mya to have to sacrifice her life because she has a sick sister, I didn’t want resentment building so that one day it would tear them apart. Travis and I talked about the decision and used the word fair over and over again. But I realized keeping someone within your family safe has nothing to do with fairness. We are a team, as a family we work together for the well being of all of us. A week before valentines day, when parents were getting cards with chocolates ready for their kids to bring to school, Mya took a 2 month break from school. She cried on her last day as she said goodbye to her teacher, and I cried too. I didn’t picture myself making these decisions. I didn’t want Ellie to have to go through heart surgery and I didn’t want Mya making sacrifices by association. But then the most amazing thing happened. I took a deep breath, I put the bottles of hand sanitizer away, I watched Mya and Ellie cuddle together in my bed without being scared that Ellie was getting another cold from her sister that would have us racing to the emergency room. We secluded ourselves indoors to prepare for surgery and no one got sick. We took little adventures as a family, we stayed in our pj’s all day, and when Ellie arrived for her pre op the day before surgery I could confidently claim that Ellie was healthy and ready for open heart surgery. And I think a few years from now Mya will be proud of herself for taking a break from something she loves for someone she loves. And maybe when I think about sacrifices, learning a true lesson of love isn’t giving anything up. As a family there will be times when one of us needs more support, more give, from the rest of the family. It won’t always be Ellie. Mya will need us too. And I know that as they grow up, supporting each other will always be the fairest decision.


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