“We are family! We even have a baby with a C-H-D!”

Today’s post is from one of my sisters.  Candice is the middle child and I’m the baby of the family.  Chonnie is the oldest and has taken the reigns of our business we once shared pre-Evan and has a newborn at home.  She wrote a beautiful blog a year ago for my boy.  You can read it here.

Candice has been my “keeper” since college.  She’d call me every now and then and rescue me from dorm food.  She’d slip a $100 bucks in my checking account for beer grocery money.  She took care of me.

Now, she still does.  I’ll never forget the conversation we had when Evan as born. We were at my parent’s house and Craig and I had a conversation the night before about our will.  Candice and her husband had been named guardians for Isabelle in our will.  We weren’t sure what we were going to do for Evan.  I could not ask someone to take on the responsibility of raising him…with his future filled with question marks, surgeries…perhaps a lifetime of them.

Candice, Evan and I were in my parent’s room and I was giving Evan a feed.  And I told her that Craig and I were going to re-do our wills. I was prepared to say, “We are going to talk about who will get Evan if something happens to us.”

She just looked at me, picked up my son – feeding tube coursing through his nose, unafraid to hold him like so many people had been – treating him like he was something other than a baby – and looked right at me and said, “We get him too, right?”

Just like that. Claiming him when I wasn’t sure if anyone would want him.  But, just like years ago…she has always taken care of me…and now she’s decided to take care of the best of me….my Evan.

It was October 14th, 2011.  A day I will never forget.  My parents were visiting my family and I to celebrate Grandparent’s Day at our children’s school.  Then, we get a call…the call I will never forget.  I will never forget the sound in my sister’s voice as she tells us, “Something’s very wrong with the baby.” I will never forget the sound of heartache in her voice as she tries to help us understand the news she has just gotten from her doctor.  I will never forget her pleas and the agony in her voice as she cries, “What are we going to do?” 

That was the day we found out that Evan – my nephew who’s birth we had been excitedly waiting on – a new buddy for my son, Garrett, who at this point, had been the only grandson – may not make it to term.  As a mother, I ached for the possible loss of a child; as a sister – I wanted to protect her and take her pain away; as an Aunt – I wanted answers.  What is this condition?  What can the doctors do?  I researched what I can – trying to feel like I’m “doing something” in such a helpless situation.  I prayed – prayed for God to give this beautiful boy – who has been loved since the minute we found out he was coming – to have the strength to fight.  I prayed for my sister and her husband to have the strength to leave it in God’s hands. 

Forward, nearly a year and half later, my beautiful nephew – who’s smiles melts your heart – who’s strength gives you hope – who’s will has overcome everything the doctor has said.  Congenital heart defect – bilateral cleft and palate – I can give you so many research information on these complicated medical issues.  I can show you what research says regarding prognosis, treatment, etc. I can do that – to raise awareness regarding heart disease and children.  But, I won’t. 

What I want you to know – from an Aunt of a child with these conditions – I have learned that there is a fighter in each of us.  A fight to keep going – a fight to live life – a fight to make each day count.  There are days where the daily frustrations of work, homework, kids not listening (as parents you know we all have these) can be overwhelming – sometimes I forget what’s most important. 

Then, I remember.  I remember that day.  The day we got a call.  The day all of our lives changed forever.  The day the fighter in all of us got just that much stronger. 

–          Candice Matthews (aka Tita Candice J )



  1. I (we) still miss you at Zen…on your mornings when you are on your way to Children’s – get up extra early…come to Zen…(we’ll get a bouncie for Evan)…make Scones (heee.heee..)…make yourself a bubble tea…and go have a great appt at the hospital…i love u.