This I Believe

Julia - Centennial, Colorado
Entered on November 18, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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My belief of enjoying life has been shaped based on my earliest moments of life.

I was born on September 16, 1991, which was 13 weeks earlier than expected. My twin Laura and I went through many complications after we were born. Among other major difficulties, the doctors thought that we would have cerebral palsy and, combined with everything else that was wrong with us, the odds of Laura and I surviving were not good. Despite this barrier and many emotional occurrences that tested their strength through the next months, our parents remained hopeful. They came to visit us everyday and my dad even took pictures using a little inspecting light because flashes on cameras weren’t allowed. Our relatives came from all over to see the barely-over-two-pound twins in the hospital. Our cousin Gwen, who was 15 at the time, saved up what little babysitting money she had to buy us doll’s clothes from Wal-mart. People at my parents’ church prayed for us everyday and the nurses at the hospital were like angels. Our parents put their lives on hold for their sick babies, and never left our sides. By the time Laura and I were finally normal, healthy babies, 81 days later, the hospital bill was hundreds of thousands of dollars. Luckily, our dad was working for GE at the time and if it had not been for the kindness of the company insurance, our hospital bill would probably not be paid off, even now.

Today Laura and I are perfectly healthy and enjoy our lives. We realize how lucky we are to be alive and how wonderful our lives have been, but we also realize how unlucky others have been. It is shocking, saddening, and angering all at the same time when we see children who are inflicted with the same hardships we faced so early in life, yet we survived. I can not grasp why we got away unharmed while others did not, but even so, God had a definite plan and why He let Laura and I live normally and others not will forever be a mystery.

Every time I look back on our first months of life, I am reminded how kind everyone was in that situation to my parents and family, and how our lives are probably different because of it. My parents have taught Laura and me to not take people for granted and to live life to the fullest. I follow what they have taught me, but not only because I was most likely not going to get the chance to live. I enjoy my life and freedom fully for those who can’t because I feel compelled to do so. For all I know, I could be one them, not being able to walk or even live. My experiences have taught to cherish every moment and to not let disabilities or hardships discourage you from soaking up the sun of life.