Four and a half years ago our almost 4-month-old baby girl had just had open heart surgery. On the day of surgery I fought back tears, tried to be brave, and smiled and waved at her as she was carried away by two loving nurses into surgery.
Without surgery Bekah wouldn’t have lived past toddlerhood. The four hours of surgery were probably the most nerve wracking four hours of my life. Sitting in the waiting room while she was back there and not being able to see how she was doing was hard, but we knew that she HAD to have surgery, and that she was in the most capable of hands.
This past week, our little girl went off to her first day of preschool, and once again I found myself fighting back tears, trying to be brave, smiling and waving as she walked off to play with her new friends and loving teachers.
As we left, we watched as Bekah tried to get a little boy who was missing his mommy to come and play with her and another little girl. She just gave us a little smile, a wave, and she went off to start her exciting year at preschool.
On the way back to our house Chris and I talked about how on the day Bekah was born we stopped dreaming for who and what she’d be someday. Instead, with her first little gasp for air, as her lungs began to fail her and her heart began to flood her little body, we entered survival mode, where each second felt like its own lifetime.
Even as things settled, we didn’t dare to imagine moments like this, where she’d be old enough to go off on her own. During the five minute drive back to our house from preschool, we reminisced about some of her firsts, and lumped the day in with those bittersweet memories that we’re glad we have, even though it means time is flying past.
And, as we pulled into our driveway, we were once again thankful for each of those 70 days we spent in the NICU and the 10 days we spent in the PICU at Akron Children’s Hospital, because without those days we couldn’t have had a fantastic first day of preschool.