I’m not sure if 2020 is going to be a year to remember or a year to forget. This year has been a non-stop battle of fear versus hope. This battle has played out personally, professionally, and within Brungot Farms. At times, my entire world has been out of control; as a matter of fact, I can’t really think of any time this year that I've felt I was in control at all. You know what I mean by “in control”, right? You wake up without worry, smiling and happy, and grateful for the days ahead and behind. Honestly, I believe the entire world is going to need PTSD therapy after 2020. Anyone else afraid to be caught coughing or sneezing in public? I’ll hold that bad boy in, no matter how painful! I’ve watched people with lasers in their eyes for taking our baby girl Adaline out in public, sitting in a restaurant, or walking through the grocery store. But, at the same time, I've seen their faces light up from her contagious smile. She may be just a baby, but she’s unknowingly powerful in her ability to show us what really matters in this world.
I’ll start with her first week in this world, just before the pandemic really set in. She was born in the middle of the 2nd quarter of the Superbowl. Yes, she was our half-time show; as a matter of fact, our Superbowl played out for days. I couldn’t tell you who was playing or what the score was, I don’t even remember a single commercial. I can, however, tell you details of the delivery and the worry with complications. There was no sense of time, only fear, and attempting to trust the medical staff to take care of both Adaline and Larissa. I have the vivid memory of standing in the corner of the NICU at Seton Main, watching three nurses working on Adaline. I was by myself and powerless, wanting to be with my wife, and knowing that she wanted to be here with her baby. It was a long, sleepless night to say the least. I remember talking to the charge nurse, absolutely numb from head to toe, and her telling me “let us take care of Adaline, you go take care of mom. We need two things, her colostrum and her up here as soon as you can get her here. Those are the two things that will help Adaline get better right now." That was the HOPE I hung onto as I tried to find my way back to Larissa’s hospital room. Ultimately, I had to ask for help to find her as I couldn’t get out of the maze of hospital hallways and elevators. This HOPE overpowered the fear that had 100% control of my mind for hours!
This battle of HOPE played out for 5 days. During this battle, there were many people and organizations that helped. One organization we have been supporting for several years: the Ronald McDonald House. Every year, we hang wreaths next to the family room doors at the Ronald McDonald House at Dell Children’s Hospital. Many people have asked over the years why we did it and honestly, the answer was really because it was the right thing to do. In 2020, that answer is getting an update.
When the nurses came in to discharge Larissa, they said, “great news, you get to go home today!” Without hesitation, both Larissa and I responded, “we’ll sign the papers but we aren’t going home!” We weren’t leaving that hospital while Adaline was still there, we were staying and helping her fight to get better in the NICU. We had never been in this situation before, but we knew there was no way we were leaving her side. Through the transition, the hospital staff had arranged a room for us in the Ronald McDonald House right outside the NICU doors. It was a Godsend in the three-hour cycle that we were living in. There was only about an hour that was not set to task and we had to decide to eat/sleep/shower. That room was our SAVING GRACE! The Ronald McDonald House took care of us, so we could take care of Adaline. Plain and simple!
Five days later, I was sitting in the Jeep, at the door where we walked into the hospital, waiting for the staff to bring my wife and child to me. I was nervous as could be to drive them both home. Our little 5 pound 14oz bundle of joy was ready for the big world and dad & mom for some rest (so, about that rest...YEAH RIGHT)!
HOPE carried us through this journey and HOPE Wreaths, handmade by Larissa and me, will hang in the Ronald McDonald House every Christmas in honor of the care they gave us through this journey. We know there are always needs for giving, however, we hope this time you will consider giving towards stocking the pantry at the Ronald McDonald House.