Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Heart of a Father Update

Dear Friends:

I still can't believe it's done. :-) There were so many times I wondered if I'd ever be able to complete The Heart of a Father. I was so picky! I could have finished it dozens of times, but it never felt right. It seemed to be lacking something. So I held on and held off on publishing it.

I'm so glad I did.

Now it feels right! It looks right! It IS right! :-) Thanks, Dad! Without Dad, I'd still be wondering if I will ever finish the book! He was the key ingredient to me finding a way to finish the book.

I've been receiving emails from contributors and readers who are very happy with the book. It's not an easy read. Neither was The Heart of a Mother. These books are not books read for pleasure. They're read for comfort, for education and for inspiration, but not for pleasure. Reliving the times in the hospital or difficult times in our marriages due to the stress of dealing with a sick child on top of everything else -- those things aren't easy to read. But the most amazing thing happens when I write about my experiences or read the experiences of others. I feel a kinship, a connection, that I don't feel with anyone else. Instead of feeling isolated and bereft, I realize I belong to a very special group of warriors. This sense of belonging makes me stronger. It makes me actually feel capable.

Ironically, when I was in that situation (at the hospital mainly), I felt anything but capable. When Alex was in the hospital, I felt like a zombie. I couldn't remember anything. I felt so useless and ineffective. It was awful! That's why I couldn't wait until the catheter was taken out and I could change diapers, when the wounds healed enough that I could bathe Alex and when he was off the ventilator and I could feed my baby. Until I could be the hands-on mom I was used to being, I was a wreck. I hated for anyone to ask me how I was doing. I was fine as long as no one asked me that. I had a mask of composure that I was able to wear, but for some reason, when someone said, "Wow! You really seem to be holding up well!" or "How are you doing?" That's when the mask would slip and the tears would fill my eyes. I wasn't doing well; I was in agony. My baby was sick and I felt powerless to do anything about it.

Most days, I don't even think about those times. I'm raising a teenager. Oh yeah, he was born with a heart defect. Alex's heart defect is always there and I'm the mom who asks if meds have been taken and teeth brushed everyday, but I don't stress over Alex's heart defect anymore. I wondered, when we were in the throes of dealing with his condition, if I would ever have a morning where I didn't wake up and rush to his bedside afraid he might not be with me anymore. Would I ever go to sleep without thanking God for having one more day with my children and without tears accompanying my dreams?

The answer to both questions is "yes." I've had many days where I hardly think about Alex's heart defect. We're too busy with swim meets, robotic tournaments, Boy Scouts, Tae Kwon Do, art lessons, piano lessons. Yes. There were days that I just tumbled into bed too exhausted to worry about Alex. Too happy to let those thoughts infiltrate my mind. The days have come and I hope there will be many more.

The book is done. :-) Dads now have a say! Dads now have a voice! :-) The moms have told their stories and the dads have told their stories. Some of the men who wrote are husbands to the women who wrote for The Heart of a Mother, so some readers will have a chance to see how the children they read about are doing 10 years later. That was exciting for me. To watch these young heart heroes grow up and realize their potential. Wow. Those stories empower me. They give me hope that Alex will beat the odds and grow up to live a full life, too. I think all of us heart parents need that thread of hope.

We've done three book signings -- one in Austin, Waco and Killeen, Texas. We have two more scheduled for July -- one in Georgetown and one in San Antonio. If anyone else would like a book signing, please let me know. We've had two television interviews -- one with Dad and me in Austin and one with Jess McCain in Sacramento. Dad did an interview for the radio in Austin. A wonderful newspaper article has been written about David Nowell. It's been a busy time.

For the latest updates and links to television interviews and newspaper articles, check out our websites: www.heartfather.com or www.babyheartspress.com.

Have a great day!

Anna

1 comment:

samantha said...

very interesting to read and informative blog....Thank you for sharing this great fountain with us.I loved it. Thank you for having the courage to be real......
Samantha
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