Defining moments and “This Is Us”…
Some may think it’s cheesy but this show hits so many tender spots for me that I can’t help but watch. I have three biological kids and one adopted, biracial son. Most of you know my story, but some of you may not…
I’ll never forget the scream I heard as I sat at the computer that afternoon. My kids were 8, 7, 5, and 3. There was always some kind of chaos happening in our house so my initial reaction was one of frustration.
“WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?!” I yelled from the office.
The next words out of Hunter’s mouth still haunt me: “Jayden’s in a fire!”
It’s funny how when something tragic happens everything feels like it’s moving in slow motion. It’s a blur but somehow you remember the smallest details so clearly. I remember exactly who I was emailing at that moment. I remember the exact words Hunter and I said. I remember the panicked feeling in my gut. I remember the smells and the sounds.
“WHERE?!” I screamed as I ran frantically down the hallway.
“In your closet!” Hunter was right on my heels.
When I got there the entire doorway of the closet was engulfed in flames. I just remember screaming his name over and over.
He never responded.
I saw some clothes gently sway on their hangers so I assumed the worst. I knew he was behind that wall of fire.
I’ll never forget the sensation I felt as I stuck my arm through that fire. You know how a red solo cup looks when you throw it in a fire? That’s how my arm felt. Like the skin was rolling up and melting right off of my arm. It was the worst pain I’ve experienced in my whole life. It took me years to be able to get close to a fire. In fact, the first time I ate hibachi was about 6 months later and when they lit the grill, I hit the wall behind me. I was terrified!
It’s funny how trauma affects us. How moments like this forge a new path in our lives. We can never go back to the moment before it happened. For some of us that is debilitating.
Thankfully, Jayden and I survived. We were blessed! We spent a couple weeks in the hospital but aside from some nightmares and a few scars, we have no permanent damage from our house fire that day.
But do you know what I did gain from that day?
RESILIENCE. DETERMINATION. STRENGTH. PASSION. COURAGE.
Sometimes, the bad things haunt us so much that we can’t move forward. We don’t understand why God allows traumatic things to happen to us or to those we love. But I can’t help but ask myself if I would have the same resilience today without some of the difficult things I’ve faced. The tough times gave me a chance to learn what I’m made of. They gave me a chance to walk through the fire and see if I would come out as gold.
I have no doubt that our house fire in 2009 is part of the reason I was brave enough to quit my stable insurance job and work for myself. I found strength that day I didn’t know I had. That strength has carried over into my life in ways I’m just now noticing. Pre-2009 Trisha never would have picked up and moved to Houston with no job. Pre-2009 Trisha wouldn’t have traveled across the world. Pre-2009 Trisha always chose safety and security over passion and dreams.
So what if that house fire hadn’t happened? Or what if I hadn’t stumbled through a divorce? What if I never had to deal with heartbreak or setbacks or pain?
I wouldn’t be living in Houston (and I’ve met some of my greatest friends here). I wouldn’t have traveled to India or China or Uganda or Scotland or Haiti. I wouldn’t be self-employed. I wouldn’t have the amazing relationships that I have with my kids. I would be safe and sound in my little “American Dream” bubble while my soul slowly died.
If you look back over your life, what moments stand out as the ones that have molded you into the person you are today? Is it the time you were at a dope Super Bowl Party with celebrities? That time that you got a huge paycheck? The times you were gliding through life with no cares at all? I can bet those moments–while really cool–aren’t the ones that have made you realize what you’re made of. I’m guessing it’s the times you had to dig deep to find tremendous strength and courage in order to keep pushing when you didn’t think it was possible.
Those are the moments that define us. Those are the moments that give us a new perspective. Those are the moments that make us who we’re meant to be.
I’m so grateful that God protected Jayden that day in 2009. And so thankful that I get to be one of his moms. I always tell him he’s the luckiest boy on earth because he has three moms who love him… a birth mom, an adoptive mom, and a step mom!