to my daughter’s heart surgeon,
my daughter was born with Down syndrome.
and as many other children with that beautiful extra chromosome,
she was also born with a congenital heart defect.
a sizable ventricular septal defect,
more commonly known as a VSD.
we met with you prior to her surgery.
we wanted to interview you and ask all of our questions.
you humbly answered each one.
you took your time.
and acknowledged our mommy and daddy hearts.
acknowledged what a big decision this was for us.
and for our family.
you gave us your personal email address,
and encouraged us to email you with any additional questions that we had.
you told us that no question was too small,
and encouraged us to ask as many as we wanted.
we emailed you on three different occasions,
and you responded.
answering one of them within twenty minutes!
you calmed our frightened hearts.
and we scheduled the date.
and a week ago today,
you fixed our girl’s heart.
i know it was just a typical tuesday at the office for you.
but for us,
it was a monumental day.
one that we will remember for the rest of our lives.
and when you came into the family lounge,
to give us an update at the end of her surgery,
i asked if i could hug you.
i hope it didn’t make you feel uncomfortable.
it was the only way i could think to thank you in that moment.
you didn’t just fix my daughter’s heart,
but you fixed mine, too.
as it turns out,
i also have a heart defect.
but the hole in my heart is hidden.
it can’t be seen by the trained eye of a cardiologist.
or by the hands of a skilled heart surgeon, like yourself.
i didn’t know the defect was there until she was born.
i could feel it the first time i held her.
a hole in my heart.
a hole that kept a distance from people that were different than me.
a hole that made me look at other families like mine with a shred of pity.
and the thought, “oh that must be so hard.”
my defect can’t be fixed with a surgery like hers.
it can only be fixed with education.
and the understanding of others.
before my daughter was born,
i was nervous around people with disabilities.
i didn’t want to say the wrong thing.
or be offensive in anyway.
and over the last seven months,
she’s forced me to acknowledge my heart defect.
she has stitched it up.
day by day.
she is educating my ignorance,
and is healing my heart with shattered expectations.
and a smile that radiates pure joy.
so you see,
while you were fixing our daughter’s heart,
you were making sure that she could continue to fix mine.
her work isn’t done.
not in our family.
or in our community.
we know that the sky is the limit for our girl.
she is going to grown and thrive.
she is going to do great things.
and she will continue to help us heal our hearts.
because i know that lots of other people have holes in their hearts,
just like mine.
and together we can fix them.
so thank you.
thank you for fixing her heart.
for saving her life.
it is because of her,
that i now look at ‘typical families’ and think,
“you wish you had our girl.”
You can follow Lindsey’s journey on her blog, Things I’m Learning Now.