|Two princesses - Samantha with Cinderella|
I woke in the wee hours of Sunday morning with a single, jarring thought.
Today was the 29th of September, a day that snuck up on me again, as it so often does. A day that people would wonder how I could possibly forget. A day that should be so perfectly etched into my memory that the other 364 days of the year would be moments of nothingness, mere blips on the calendar in a daily practice run of preparation for this monumental occasion.
I exaggerate, certainly, but really, the 29th of September often passes like any other day, usually one clad in crisp, sunshine-soaked air, blue skies and the amber hue of the turning leaves, another school day, another day at work, another busy weekend... They're all pretty much the same.
And, when I awoke with that sudden memory of the date, I thought I'd try something a little different for Samantha's 7th Heartiversary.
She knows about the wide, white scar on her chest. She knows it's the badge of a near-perfect heart. When you ask her about it, she will tell you, in a matter-of-fact tone, that a doctor fixed her heart.
Seven years ago, Dr. Spray, a top pediatric cardiac surgeon at CHOP, stopped her beating heart, re-routed the blood flow, and, with meticulous precision, patched and sewed up the gaping space between the ventricles that allowed oxygenated and un-oxygenated blood to mix in a state incompatible with life beyond a few short and very ill years. Sammi's recovery was quick, and the routine visits to her cardiologist are now few and far between.
And Sunday morning, when Sammi awoke and came to join me for a cuddle in my bed, I decided, this time, to tell her about the celebratory date that has usually just been kept in my own mind throughout the day every September 29th previous. She's old enough to revel in her own celebration, to understand what the date means. So I told her that it was the 7th anniversary of the doctor fixing her heart.
When I told her, "Happy Heart Day, baby," she said, "Thank you, Mommy."
My heart is happy, too.