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The Story of a 'Heart Mom'

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I am a heart mom, and our family is full of stories. Stories of joy and of a journey with unexpected hurdles and the glorious victories that come with having a child born with a rare and serious heart condition. Our world is complicated, but beautiful. It is hospital grays and multi-colored rainbows, equipment and tests, setbacks and successes. Our world is chaotic and wonderful, filled with love and full of potential.

I am a heart mom, and our family is full of PROMISE.

Although we’d made the trip to the hospital many times before, something about this time felt different — weightier. I peered out the window and saw a world of restless clouds and thundering skies. A world that may threaten storms, but then deliver a beautiful field of brightly colored wildflowers along the otherwise colorless highway. My nerves tightened, and I forced myself to take slow deep breaths, focusing on the cheerful spirit of the blooming wildflowers. I breathed in their glorious blues, and pinks, and oranges, and pushed aside the angry skies above. Their beauty was effortless and filled me with hope.

I am a heart mom, and I am full of OPTIMISM.

As our journey brought us closer to the hospital, the cloud-filled sky merged with equally gray, towering buildings. Fast-moving vehicles replaced the wildflowers, and the frantic grandeur of downtown snapped my mind back to the task at hand. We were not going on a vacation. We were making this trip because our daughter was sick. Her heart was no longer working the way her body needed it to, and it was time for her to have surgery again. While I understood the necessity of our trip, the reality of the coming days began to fill me with the same nervous energy buzzing in the city around me. We arrived at our destination, but our journey was just beginning.

I am a heart mom, and I am full of APPREHENSION.

Our time spent in the hospital brought us in contact with many different people. The individuals who cared for our child are varied in their titles, but similar in spirit. I saw the bold confidence in the faces of her doctors and surgeons. I felt the steady, caring touch of her nurses as they led her back to the operating room. They were unwavering in their strength and filled me with courage. They believed in themselves and they believed in our family. They helped me believe in our ability to get through this.

I am a heart mom, and I am full of FORTITUDE.

The faces of the others I’d seen in the hospital lingered in my mind as we waited expectantly for our daughter’s surgery to end. The faces of the loved ones who had hurried past her room with their arms clutched tightly around themselves. Afraid that if they loosened their grip, all of the fear they kept bottled inside would come spilling out of them. Worries that they wouldn’t be able to mop up and stuff back inside. I could feel their pain, and I could feel their prayers. They were mine as well. In that place, our struggles were our own, but we were united in the hope that the raging storm would pass, and we would remain untouched.

I am a heart mom, and I am full of EMPATHY.

The days that followed were a blur of medications, sleepless nights and concern. Through the turbulence, we cradled our girl with the sound of our singing; tried to settle her with consistent calm. When she finally awoke, we greeted her with relief brimming from our faces, reflecting the badges of bravery she wears in her smile. I prayed that our quiet strength assured her that the storm had finally passed, that she could begin to heal, secure in the knowledge that the most difficult part of this experience was now behind her.

I am a heart mom, and I am full of PEACE.

Our warrior girl returned home with her wings outstretched, soaring through the sunshine and back into the comforts of familiarity. The storm that accompanied our daughter’s journey did not end it. Her story is not over. This path that life has set us on is often daunting, but we will each continue to fly with our faces to the wind and strive to land victorious.

I am a heart mom, and our family is full of RESILIENCY.

I am a heart mom, and our family is full of stories. Stories of intimidating journeys and beautiful endings. Stories of promise, optimism, apprehension, fortitude, empathy, peace, and resiliency.

I am a heart mom, and our family is full of LIFE!

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Originally published: October 17, 2017
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