What a difference a year makesLast year, just before Thanksgiving, Ricky, Aiden and I were in Dallas preparing for our baby's first surgery.
Eating turkey and spending time with family was not exactly on the forefront of our minds. Doctors appointments, fear of putting our 9 month old under anesthesia and forever changing our baby the way God made him was.
Once the surgery was over and we returned home, Thanksgiving forever held new meaning for our family.
After several weeks of casts, cast removal, dressing changes and healing, we then had to focus on making it through Christmas and the entire month of January keeping Aiden healthy enough for his next surgery in February. And although we did our best to "get into the holiday spirit" for the kids, it certainly had a different feel. The tree was up. The lights were strung. The picture with Santa was taken. But behind all the "ho-ho-ho's" were two very scared parents.
We made it through the next surgery without a hitch - and our little boy, who turned 1 just a week before the operation, was given the very best birthday present imaginable...10 fingers and 10 toes!
Then we again faced the casts, cast removal and dressing changes. And again we avoided public places, kept the kids from being around other family members if they had so much as a sniffle and fretted about the next sugery, scheduled for May.
While May is usually my favorite time of year - the buds in full bloom on the trees, the air crisp and clean, the flowers blossoming - this past May was less than enjoyable. Aiden's allergies flared and when we touched down in Dallas a few days prior to his head surgery, his breathing was labored and something wasn't right. We anxiously awaited word on whether he would be healthy enough for his operation. The thought of having to cancel it and go through the waiting and stress another time around was awful. But then thinking of doing the surgery and having something go wrong because he wasn't 100% was gut-wrenching. May was definitely not turning out like we had hoped.
After discussing with all of the doctors on Aiden's team, the decision was made to move ahead with the cranial vault surgery. We prayed. We waited. We held each other in the waiting room. And thankfully, our baby made it through without issue.
Fast forward to now. It is a week before Thanksgiving once again. Aiden's hands, feet, and head are healed. He's gotten over the pain of the surgeries. He's using his hands and walking on perfect little feet. The swelling is gone. The incisions are fading beautifully. But, as parents, there is still much healing to be done for our hearts. We will never forget the feeling of handing our baby over 3 times in 6 months to be put under anesthesia. We won't soon forget the worry, the stress, of waiting for the surgeon to come out of the OR and let us know that everything is okay.
This year, however, we are so very thankful that we will get to experience the joy of the holiday season as it is meant to be felt. We'll fill up on turkey, put our healthy babies to bed and think ahead a month, not about the next surgery, but about the wonder of Christmas and how much we love this time of year.
What a difference a year makes.