In a few weeks it will be twenty years since Kendall and I first met. Yikes! I think I’ve already told the story about meeting her at a wedding at the Bel Air Hotel in August 1989. I was a month shy of my 30th birthday and Kendall was practically pre-pubescent at age 23. I had just by chance read her book (which I had taken out from the library) and recognized her from the cover. “Are you Kendall Hailey?” I asked in the blazing heat of the outdoor cocktail reception. Our path took many twists and turns following that hot August day. How would we have responded if Glinda the Good Witch had floated down in her bubble and told us over smoked salmon tartlets that fifteen years later we would be married? Would we have choked on our kosher rumaki if Glinda then mentioned that twenty years later we would have twin boys together? Twenty years?! We were both in our twenties then and had countless life experiences ahead of us, both together and apart. After several attempts at a relationship back in the early 1990s, Kendall and I went our separate ways. I got married and had a child. Kendall got engaged to someone else. But in the end we found our way back to each other, thank God.
These past 76 days have certainly been the most trying period in our lives. Kendall’s long-awaited and joyful pregnancy ended abruptly without warning and with great tragedy. Our beloved son Oliver died in our arms after 12 agonizing hours. Our other son Charlie has spent the past 11 weeks in intensive care and has about that many left to go. We’ll be at his side for much of Kendall’s 43rd birthday today.
Despite the daily terror of this situation, there’s no one on the planet I’d rather be sharing it with. I’m so moved every time I see Charlie gazing up with love at his mama. He is smitten and so is she. No one should have to experience all that Kendall has gone through these past months and I’ve never loved her more for the way she's moved through it all. She is a woman of amazing courage and strength, and Charlie is the luckiest baby in the world to have her as his mommy. And we are the luckiest parents to have him. Yesterday was another jittery day filled with endless bradies and desats. Because our son’s white blood cell count was up, a new antibiotic was started in case he has yet another infection. I only pray this does nothing to delay his surgery scheduled for tomorrow morning.
For today, Charlie has asked me to help him wish his mom the happiest of birthdays. He specifically requested the participation of some of his favorite performers: Charles Nelson Reilly, who he is named after, Harpo Marx (née Adolph), Shelley Winters, and Queen Latifah. Kendall, here is a very special message from your baby boy: