For Ale and little Frankie.
About two months ago, the Momyers* (including me) were excited about our December reunion. I initiated the coordination to ensure we had all saved the same date to get together. How difficult is it for few friends to get together? Honestly, the planning to get together for few drinks for moms who are lawyers (Mom-yers) can resemble an international diplomatic forum because Gaby lives miles away, Brenda is in a partnership track in her firm, Marcia works from home, Ale is the most professional of mothers and has a husband who-must-travel-all-the-time-for-work international lawyer and I spending my time trying to succeed in one of the top five law firms in the city and all this while we are raising our kids. The Momyers finally came to a mutual agreement and set the date, I was so looking forward to this reunion that the pile of documents at home did not bother me, nor did the planning of my daughter’s birthday party or getting the decorations up in time for the holidays.
A few days went by and we were all still talking almost every day thanks to mobile phones and various apps; the excitement of our reunion never dampened even when we were juggling a hundred things at the same time: same old routines, swimming lessons, time reporting, etc., got us back into the familiar rhythm of our lives, until around noon on a Monday almost six weeks ago. I heard a ping on my phone as soon as I returned to my office with a fresh cup of coffee. It was a new message on the Momyer’s chat-line. I checked my phone, expecting the usual silly messages, instead the message on the screen had me stunned. I sank on my chair and read the message one more time. It simply said: Momyers, please pray for little Frankie, he is in the hospital fighting for his life, from Ale.
Ale’s youngest son was battling a virus infection with very slim chance of survival. It started as a simple infection like many toddlers get, evolved fast and had taken a turn for the worst leaving the one-year old in the intensive care unit of the hospital fighting for his life. It was hard to keep track of the immediate messages that followed, all of us (lawyers in the end) started asking Ale for information. We would have done marvelously at a trial if we had been asked to cross a witness. Hell, that witness would have admitted to anything given the speed with which we fired questions to Ale. Once all of us had some answers, we got into action. We lawyers have this “professional deformation” natural to those who study law and have practiced in an institutional setting – our instincts kick in when there is a problem and regardless of what the problem is – a lost toy that will prevent our child from sleeping that night, or blood donors required for our friend’s kid, we will make damn sure there are no excuses and whatever it is gets done. There is one universal truth in lawyer’s creed, there’s no such thing as something that cannot be done. It does not matter if it takes a Herculean effort, days without eating or sleeping, sitting at the reception of someone’s office for a month or simply a miracle, you have to get it done. So we did: we called, we tweeted, we posted, we met, we wrote, we pleased, we prayed as efficiently as we could to help Ale and Frankie.
The first time I saw Ale in the hospital she looked worried but she was resolved to get her baby out of that hospital fully recovered. Ale’s ability to remain centered amidst all the chaos and uncertainty was remarkable. She was the only one in her family who kept it together, everyone else looked like they were going to lose it at some point. While the prognosis got worse, Ale remained certain that if a miracle was all that was needed to make her baby live, then she would ensure that a miracle happened. No buts, no ifs, no excuses, She was sure she should close the “deal”, against all odds.
I was the skeptic. Yes, faith and prayers are alright, but truly, how can we expect a miracle of that magnitude? Could we remain as positive as Ale? Could I really be part of that miracle? Well, despite my doubts, I reminded myself that we had all been part of the same legal team once when we all practiced at the same firm; the firm where we had christened ourselves as the Momyers. And as part of our training in that law firm, we were told to zero in on closing the deal and follow the leader of the team leaving aside our own doubts. This time around, Ale was the leader and we here her team and we supported her with anything we could possibly do. I convinced myself that the miracle would have to happen.
Ale remained unmoved through it all. Rain or shine or any disheartening news; she simply said we still have a chance, so work on it. The first few developments came about three days after she arrived to the emergency room of the hospital, her little kid endured the multiple procedures the doctors put him through. The doctors marveled at how he was progressing but could not make any promises of what could possibly come. Ale soldiered through it all. At no point in this ordeal did she ever doubt that she would be taking her baby home. Around ten days into the hospital stay, the child was sufficiently stable and making progress. Ale seemed in high spirits so I asked her and all the other Momyers – Gaby, Brenda, and Marcia – if we could have our reunion at the hospital cafeteria so that we could all meet Ale.
Ale agreed to see us in a restaurant around the corner once her child was asleep. Ale walked through the door of the restaurant. She looked tired but optimistic, like a lawyer who knows she is winning although the judge has still not ruled on the matter. As always, we had the most wonderful time and we ate whatever was put on the table and we talked. While the food went in, many things came out of our chests and were put on the table. It felt great. While our reunion was not the glamorous dinner we had dreamt of – with fancy food and trendy ambience – we had gladly traded all that for a chance to just be together.
A week after our reunion, I stopped by the hospital to see Ale. Visitors were restricted because the little boy’s immune system was depleted and the doctors wanted to ensure that the possibility of contracting any disease was the minimum. However, the kid had survived.
I got a visitor’s pass thanks to my sister, who was one of the attending doctors for Ale’s kid. I stayed with Ale for a while and we talked about almost everything, and particularly about how, at no time during the ordeal, had she accepted any result other than the full recovery of her child.
“Perhaps is the law firm training” I said.
“How do you mean?” she asked.
“Well, you know how all those years we worked at the firm we simply could not allow ourselves to fail? Maybe we learned that we can do anything we have to. Maybe, we just cannot accept any other outcome but the one that is needed.”
“Perhaps it is that, who knows, because I never accepted any other outcome than this,” Ale replied.
“Well, whatever it is, you made a miracle happen,” I told Ale as I touched her arm.
“We all did,” said Ale as she hugged me.
I had never thought I would ever be part of a miracle, but as I headed out of the door I heard Ale call my name. I turned back and I heard Ale say, “Merry Christmas” with a big beautiful smile on her face as she held her little miracle in her arms.
Merry Christmas to all Momyers and their little miracles.
© Paola Sanchez, 2015
* Who are the Momyers?
I call myself a “mom-yer” because in addition to my full-time job as a mom, I also work as a lawyer. And I am sure there are many of my kind out there – some may be a Mom-her (“Mom + Teacher); a Momger (Mom + Manager); and some Momtor (Mom + Doctor) and the list goes on. But whatever they are called, they are out there in the world, juggling memos and mobile phones; and hopefully not using the memo as a diaper.
This is the story of my life. I am sure you have more to share from yours.
Welcome to the world of “Momyers”.