5/31/2012 8:09 AM
By Kelly Deeny
I turned 35 two weeks ago. I have no problem telling people my age or making it known that it’s my birthday. Not that I expect everyone to be as excited as I am, but while many people dread the anniversary of their birth, I look forward to reaching a new milestone. I don’t mind getting older—it’s quite simply a celebration that I’m still here!
This week my youngest sister gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, who decided to arrive a week ahead of schedule. I have a feeling he’ll fit in very nicely within our family! As I held that precious child in my arms I thought, once again, of all those children born with a heart defect (myself included). I marveled at their strength, determination and independence. So tiny, yet so resilient. Fragile yet strong.
My nephew came into this word a healthy child at nearly eight pounds. Wrapped in a cocoon of blankets and a knit cap I watched his little face as he slept. I wondered what he was dreaming about, pondered all the opportunities available to him. Would he play sports? Be drawn to music? Both? Whatever path he chooses he’ll always have the love and support of Aunt Kelly.
Later that evening my mother made mention that I weighed about two pounds less than Noah when I was born and how much effort it took for me to eat. How I’d sweat profusely from the work of it all. Oddly enough, I’ve more than made up for it!
That conversation reminded of the resilience of the relationship between parents and children. While I fought my own battles, my parents were also struggling to care for a sick infant while raising a four-year-old. All at the age of 25! I have so much respect for them and for all that they endured. Sometimes, while I’m in the midst of dealing with the after-effects of being a CHD patient, I don’t acknowledge the worry, fear and ultimately unwavering support from my parents.
The mere fact that I’ve lived so long that I can hold my nephews and niece truly makes every moment worth celebrating. Hmm… I wonder what age 36 will bring!
A graduate of Temple University's English program, Kelly Deeny recently completed book one in her juvenile fiction series. Using various forms of the creative arts, Kelly seeks to heal the emotional and spiritual scars that remain from her 1979 open heart surgery. While her ventricular septal defect was repaired and no physical limitations remain, she's just recently realized how vital the arts are to her healing process. Visit Kelly’s website by clicking here.