Three years ago today, at this moment in time, I was where no mother wants to be. Powerless. Anxious. Waiting. Waiting to see if your surgery would be deemed a success. Waiting to see if you would be the same boy I had to hand over to the surgical team that morning. Waiting to see if you would be returned to my arms.
I didn’t expect today to be so emotional. Something about this year is different from the previous years. Maybe because so much has happened in the last three years. Maybe because you are a big boy now, a preschooler, and as each year passes, I am more and more thankful for the experiences you are having.
I am more and more thankful that you are still here.
We went to Dylan’s Dragon Walk this morning, to remember and honor the heart angels, the ones who are not still here with us. But they are. You see it in the ways their families carry them around in their hearts, keeping them here with us. Alive in them. The strength of these families astounds me, and I was honored to attend with you today. We blew bubbles in their memory, you and I saying as many names as we could remember, because it is so good to say their names and remember these warriors taken from us.
During the bubble remembrance, the song “All of Me” by Matt Hammitt was playing. I can’t listen to that song without crying anyway, and the intersection of everything: your heartiversary, remembering the heart angels, the bubbles, the strength, the heartache, the joy, and you, wrapping your arms around me in the middle of it all….It’s a wonder I didn’t melt into a puddle of tears.
“You’re gonna have all of me
‘Cause you’re worth every fallen tear
You’re worth facing any fear
You’re gonna know all my love
Even if it’s not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me
Is where I’ll start”
I have given you all of me from the very beginning, and I will continue. Day after day. It’s a long road, my sweet boy. We are three years post open heart surgery and almost four years into your life on earth, but your story – our story – is really just beginning. We write it every day.
I had another song that has been resonating with me lately that I wanted to share today, three years after the longest, most difficult day of my life. This one is for both of us:
Fight On, Fighter by For King and Country
You were scared, unprepared, for the heartbreak
Everything you knew faded out of view
Stole a piece of you
Be the one who would take all the arrows
Save you from the pain, carry all the weight
But I know that you’re brave
Don’t let anyone steal your fire
Fight on, fighter
Let it breathe, give it wings, set it free now
Time to make your mark, break the prison bars
Show them who you are
I know you’re stronger
Braver than you were before
You know you’re braver
Oh, no, you don’t have to be afraid
Together we’ll face it
So don’t ever stop, no matter what
‘Cause you’re gonna make it”