Friday, June 7, 2013

Happy birthday, Catherine and Doug!

Last year I wrote about our dear friends Catherine and Doug on the 15th anniversary week of their son Parker's birth and death. Today is their shared birthday--they are the only couple we know who actually share a birthday. I get the feeling that Catherine's less pleased about that fact, but Doug doesn't seem to mind. :)

One year we kidnapped Catherine for her birthday
 and took her to lunch at Mother's--
here she is, blindfolded, with a sailor we found,
 who was more than happy to pose for a photo with beautiful Catherine!
The NICU-mom kidnappers (Kristin, Laurie, and I) with Catherine at Mother's
We met Catherine and Doug about 16 years ago, a few months after Parker died, when they joined the NICU Family Advisory Board. I was stunned by their commitment to honor Parker by supporting other parents going through the heaven and hell of the NICU. Their generosity and fullness of soul, inspired by their son, blew me away.

Celebrating Mike's 40th
As soon as we met Catherine and Doug, we were drawn to them. They are two of the kindest, most generous and loving, and spiritual people we know. They, and many other NICU families we've met, have been significant blessings we received from the difficult experience of having a 24-weeker. 

Together, we have celebrated joys and weathered storms. Doug rushed to the hospital the night Zacary died, and his quiet, calming, and loving presence was such a gift. Soon after I experienced my first miscarriage (of four), I remember attending a Precious Beginnings (the parent support organization we all founded) holiday party and being overcome with love and support...from the only people I could have imagined feeling comfortable around...because they all keenly understood loss.
Celebrating Zachary's birthday (the year after he died) with a lunch;
 Catherine with her son Calder and baby Kieran
The birthday group with balloons that
 would be sent up into the sky for Zacary
Catherine and Doug live only 15 minutes away but we never see them enough...between work commitments, kid activities, and other things that get in the way. But they are true soul friends. I am extremely thankful to Parker for bringing them into our lives. 
Mike and Doug dancing at a party
Many years ago we had a surprise b-day party for Catherine and Doug at our house--
here's Doug with Calder and Kieran
Opening presents--have you filled that Retirement Fund jar yet?
Celebrating my birthday at Mother's
I love lunch with my girlfriends!

When I was facing such stress and upset with the neurosurgeon's office last year, I sent a message to Catherine and Kristin, who are both nurses. They immediately sprung into action and called me, and they were so helpful and comforting. They bought me a gorgeous pair of comfy pajamas for my hospital stay, and I think of them both every time I wear them.
Catherine with a little Nicholas
And with more of our kids
Celebrating my birthday and modeling the scarves Catherine and Doug gave me and Kristin
Doug looking fetching
Amazing couple
They will be celebrating their joint birthdays by going to their son's baseball game--a favorite pastime for both of them! Love you, Catherine and Doug!

Girlfriend lunch last summer, crashed by Doug!

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