Sometimes, if only for a minute, I forget that I am a heart mom.
Then reality wakes me up, and it all comes flooding back.
Sometimes, I get downright angry. Why does my experience with motherhood have to include things like syringes and dosing information, sutures and heart function? I see people's Facebook posts in which their children do things like ride their bike, write their name, or tie their shoes for the first time-at the age it's considered developmentally "normal" to do so. I hear someone's three-year-old speaking full, clear sentences and watch their six-year-old pick up a chapter book and go to town. I get mad (and let's be honest here-I get really sad, too) that things that "should" be simple for any child are not simple for either of mine. I fume at their struggles, curse the medications that make my kids throw up or not want to eat, and seriously consider hurling my home blood pressure monitor and stethoscope across the room.
People tell me they don't know how I do it. Well, join the club. I don't know how I do it either. Perhaps the easiest way to respond to that is that #1-I really don't have a choice and #2-I guess I don't know anything different. Maybe that makes it a bit easier. I don't know, because both of my kids have walked eerily similar paths that don't even come close to what I once imagined parenthood entailed. Maybe that question should be posed to people like my friend C, whose heart "baby" is not her first child. Or her second. I think that woman deserves a medal. Raising five children, on her own, the youngest of whom is a heart kiddo. How does she do it? I imagine, though, that her answer would be very similar to what I have said more than once to that statement: What else can you do but pick yourself up and go on?
So when I start having a pity party at the sink as I am washing the latest batch of syringes, I try my best to remember this: my children are the lucky ones. So they aren't potty trained. So what. So they have to take meds every day. Yeah, that sucks. But you know what? They're here. I know for a fact that there are many heart parents that don't get to hug their children, or read them a bedtime story. Heart problems kill more children every year than all cancers combined. We have stared the beast in the face and managed to come out the other side-at the moment. Something that cannot be said for every family that's walked this road.
Come to think of it, I love washing syringes.