It was typical morning in the NICU, a place that felt like home after months of daily visits. As I sat watching my daughter sleep, a nurse walked up to me with a package in hand. It was addressed to Peyton, my lone surviving triplet. I quickly opened the box, unwrapping a gift from the organization, “Tiny Superheroes.”
I pulled out a beautiful handmade cape, a bright magenta color with a yellow “P” front and center. Tears welled up as I read a sweet note from the charity. They heard our daughter was a longtime resident of the NICU and they sent her a special cape because she’s what they called, a tiny superhero.
It was random acts of kindness like this one that helped my family get through the most difficult days in the NICU.
I’ve always enjoyed helping others and giving back to my community, but I never realized how much of an impact one kind gesture can have on a person. In 2013, my husband and I were expecting triplets. It was a time filled with so much joy and happiness. We received cards and well wishes from strangers and the local triplet community took me under their wings. But half way through my pregnancy, our world came crashing down. I went into labor more than 17 weeks premature, giving birth to our triplets at 22 weeks gestation. Our first daughter passed away within two hours. Nearly two months later, our son joined her in Heaven.
My husband and I found ourselves trying to balance the heartbreaking grief of losing two children, while trying to stay strong for our survivor. As we went through the motions of planning two funerals and visiting our survivor in the NICU, a steady stream of friends, family and strangers sprang into action. The local twin and triplet community began dropping off frozen meals. Friends send gift cards for take out and sent people over to clean our home and check on our dog. It was little things that made a huge difference, allowing us to spend more time with our baby in the hospital.
Strangers began to hear about our bittersweet journey and found ways to comfort us. Handmade blankets, headbands and hats were gifted to our daughter, special keepsakes we will cherish forever. And people from across the country reached out to me offering their condolences. I received beautiful jewelry with the initials of my triplets and special artwork to remind me of my angels above.
Some gestures were extravagant, others were as simple as a card or a comment on Facebook, but each random act of kindness helped me and my husband. It reminded us that we weren’t alone in our journey, that people around the world were holding us up in prayer. It showed us that even though two of our children were no longer alive, they will never be forgotten. And it made us realize that there are so many good people in this world.
After nearly four months in the NICU, our surviving triplet arrived home from the hospital. As the weeks turned into months, and those months turned into years, we have never forgotten the generosity of others. These days, our daughter is thriving; a healthy and happy 4 ½ year old child. We talk about her triplet siblings all the time and we often share with her the kindness we felt from others. We always knew we wanted to pay it forward someday, and we found a way by creating a non-profit charity. As we help others with our own random acts of kindness, we know our daughter is learning a valuable lesson in gratitude, one that started when she was just a few days old.