This is a follow up story to Kelly’s family journey. To read the full back story please click here.
“Five whole years. How? How has that time gone by that fast? Five years ago, we handed over a tiny three-month-old for his first open-heart surgery. I remember rocking him for hours the week before, unzipping the top of his footie PJs and just laying my hand on his scarless chest. I tried to keep prepping myself that after April 13, 2015, there would forever be a constant reminder to both him, I, and the rest of the world of his battle.
‘When he is older, how do I explain this?’ I would ask myself. ‘How do we tell his brother? His friends? People at the pool and the beach? Changing in the locker room?’ I didn’t know that I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Finn shows his scar to everyone and likes it when people ask about it. Sometimes he will say, ‘I saved Mommy from a great white shark, look, guys!’ Other times, he just tells people, ‘I had heart surgery!’ The first question immediately, either way, is ‘Did it hurt, Finn!?’ He just sweetly replies no and then wants to play.
There are so many emotions because of this surgery in the past four years. A significant amount of PTSD and questions I’ve lived with as soon as the surgeon came in and told us things weren’t going as planned. But here’s what I have found peace with today.
He lived. We all did. We made it through that time. And SO much of that is due to all of you. You were such a support during that part of our journey and writing those words is an understatement. Thank you is not significant enough.
I’ve relieved myself of asking why because that word can consume you. I’ll never know why and it’s okay. Sometimes I would ask why in the form of survivor’s guilt. Why did my baby make it through that and others don’t? Others it has been in the form of anger asking why my baby had to go through that. Why did our family have to endure this pain? But it’s okay now. I’m giving myself peace and leaving the ‘why’ because the reality of it is, why NOT? Somehow, this tough piece of the puzzle was just that; a part of our journey. There was a bigger plan and it was faith and hope, even the tiniest amount that kept us standing. We will continue to find those glimmers with every challenge we encounter.
Every moment is so precious. Even the tough ones that come with parenting. Sometimes it’s hard to embrace them but it’s important to. It’s all a part of something bigger in the end. Each moment, good or challenging, has somehow played a part in making us better people; more patient, more understanding, kinder. Pain is hard but it’s taken a long time for me to see over and over again how important pain is. It teaches lessons in its initial moments, helps mold you into a better person later on, and helps make the joyous times so so much more joyous than ever imaginable.
Finn’s journey is not sad. I know all of you have probably cried just as many tears as we have and that is the most incredible honor. That you could love this little boy so much without even knowing him. But don’t be sad for things he has gone through. His journey is about hope, fight, perseverance. The only things this little boy has been sad about his entire life are if he can’t have more Reese Cups or if we tell him he can’t jump off of our roof or take 11 baby goats home. Even during his toughest times in life, Finn has never shed one tear of sadness.
Lastly, as we celebrate today and reflect back on four years of both pure joy and pure insanity, know we also embrace and appreciate you. Yes, you reading this. Your love, your prayers, the sweet cards you have sent over the years to the PO BOX. Your dedication and help to all of our projects are so therapeutic to help us get through this journey and give back to others. We are SO grateful to each of you for sharing something so special and personal as your prayers and love to our family. Your devotion to encouraging our family has given us a very special gift in the form of a wild and full of life little boy named Finn and we cherish that gift every single day; so thank you.
And to Finn, we are so proud of you. Thank you for never giving up and for trusting us. We’ve brought you to the hospital so many times and no matter how many IVs, shots, and painful things you go through, you still love and love hard, tell us ‘thank you,’ smile, and laugh through it all. We are blessed to be inspired by you every single day.
Cheers today to five years. To life. To a warrior. To moments, all moments, every single last tough one and rejoiceful one. Cheers to journeys, whatever they entail. Cheers to hope, faith, prayer and the power of it all. Cheers to scars of all kinds, the physical and emotional and all of the stories that come with them. Cheers to the next chapters. Whatever they may hold, we’ll be ready.
Happy 5-Year Heartiversary, baby boy.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kelly Blumenthal of Prayers for Finn. Follow their journey on Facebook here and Instagram here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more stories from Kelly here:
‘Are you sure he isn’t cold?’ His swim instructor constantly asks, concerned over his very blue lips.’: Mom emotionally recalls son’s severe heart disease operation, ‘I know every angel was watching over him’
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