Monday, August 23, 2010

Every Heart Has a Story

At 12:00 CST there will be an international blog-sharing event called "Every Heart Has a Story."  I've never taken part in a blog sharing before, but this seemed like a fun thing to do.

One of the reasons I put together The Heart of a Mother and The Heart of a Father is because I knew that all of us heart moms, dads, grandmothers, grandfathers and survivors have a story to tell.  I knew Alex's story was helping people all over the world, but sometimes people contacted me asking me questions about tetralogy of Fallot, tricuspid atresia, Shone's syndrome and other heart defects which had nothing to do with Alex. People asked me how I survived the hospitalizations, the surgeries and how surviving all of the trauma affected my marriage and faith. Luckily for me, I came to know people who could answer these questions and it is those people who wrote for my books and shared their stories. Blog sharing is the same concept -- except it happens right here on the Internet. One person after another links to their blog and BOOM! They've shared their story. Instantaneous sharing. Wow.

Alex's story began in 1994 when he was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Most people will blog about finding out their child had a heart defect and the surgeries they've survived. Because Alex is sixteen years old, I'd rather not do that. I'd rather focus on where he is now.

On August 11th we celebrated Alexander's 16th birthday. He spent the day at Texas State Technical College where he is working towards an Associate's Degree in Robotics. It was the week before finals and he had three classes ending the next week.

After school, we drove home (it's about an hour's drive one way) and got a little snack before Toastmasters. I belong to Texas Stars Toastmasters and Alex was attending our meeting so we could take him to dinner following the meeting at his favorite restaurant -- a Japanese steak and hibachi restaurant called Nami's.

We had a lovely dinner at the hibachi grill. It's always so much fun to sit at the hibachi and take in the show. At Nami's the chef always does a neat trick with tossing an egg via spatula into his chef's hat, making an onion "volcano" and just generally impressing us with his culinary skills at creating a wonderful meal.

Friday night we had a birthday party for Alexander and he invited 13 boys over! Not all of the boys could make it, but I think we ended up with plenty of boys present. They had fun playing pool and video games. Two of the boys brought guitars and played some music for us. Alex and Ryan even broke out the gift Ryan bought and played a game of Magic. Although it was a bit noisy, it wasn't unruly. It was fun!

 (l-r back:  J.R., Alex, Nic, Ryan, Cheyne; l-r middle: Ryan, Max, Simon, Kyle, l-r front: Elliot, Philip)

I let Alexander invite the boys to sleep over and some of them did. Nic, Simon, Kyle and (little) Ryan had a robotics tournament the next day, so they couldn't spend the night but Cheyne, (big) Ryan, Philip, J.R., Max and Elliot could.  I wonder if this will be the last time Alex has boys spend the night like this? Our children grow up way too fast. Alex and Elliot are already in college. I'm so glad he had this opportunity to bring his friends together.

Here are some photos of the boys having fun:

Philip, Max and Elliot bought Alex the silly "Sweet 16" birthday card -- which they intend to share with the next birthday boy who will turn 16!  :-)  It's going to be a running joke amongst this cool group of friends. 

My wish for Alex is for him to continue to defy the odds regarding HLHS -- for him to continue to pursue his dreams (studying robotics and eventually engineering, and writing a sci-fi/fantasy book) and to maintain a close relationship with his family and friends. After all, if a person has his health, family and friends nearby, what more could he ask for?

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