Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hope Picnic

What a wonderful day we had today at our first Hope Children's Annual Picnic at Brookfield Zoo. It was perfect weather, the kids were happy, we left on time.... and I left my camera at home :-(  I was so sad, it was our very first Heart picnic and a first family outing in a pretty long time but after a while it was a little liberating to not be constantly running around taking pictures, rather I saved the 24 pictures I was allotted on the disposable camera I had to purchase for pretty special photos.  I hope they turned out as I have to wait at least 24 hours so that we can get them developed tomorrow. Really, I don't know how we did it 10 years ago when we had to wait for photos to be developed before we got to enjoy them. But just as photo technology has changed for the better, so did medical technology. And that is why we were at the zoo in the first place...

It was a day of celebration. Personally I celebrated our small and big achievements with Jasiu this year, well 7 months and one week to be exact. Today we got to meet so many amazing families with amazing kids just like Jasiu who are all such strong warriors words don't do them justice. Its hard not to get emotional, but I finally got to see the children behind the numerous blogs and caring bridge pages I read about every week. They are all doing so well, you would not be able to tell that any of these kids is sick, yet alone gone through multiple open heart surgeries. Today, there were just having fun and enjoying the day, sun and friends. Most of the kids in our circle of heart friends are still quite young so the kids didn't get much out of it as the parents did, but it was almost therapeutic to see families that know EXACTLY what you went though and are experiencing and feeling and to see each and every one of those kids thriving and sharing our stories and words of advice, etc.

Jasiu was his usual happy self and showed off his killer smile all over. Emily was also a great big sister and was pretty well behaved, such a big girl she is already. We got to see so many of the wonderful staff from Hope that we would have loved to thank each and every one of them personally, but there were so many people and just not enough time.  We did however stay in a quite a large crowd, because we can hardly call it a line, to see our beloved Dr. Illbawi. Every time I see him, I get goosebumps, this man and his team of surgeons literally held our son's heart in his hands. He did his magic, two such precise procedures, his hands guided by our wonderful God to do such miracle work. It is just amazing to think about and something I still have a hard time grasping. It's so overwhelming to think that these babies, kids and young adults are all here because of this very man. He has such charisma even if you didn't know him he would probably smile at you walking down the street.  He got to hold Jasiu for a picture (on my disposable camera so I hope it comes out). I did get a small video which is not the best quality, but it will be cherished forever.  I can't even describe our gratitude and though it's his job, taking the time out to see these kids, meet the parents and just see us for a few minutes at at a time is just so good of him. He won't remember all of our names, but we so remember him and pray for him to keep doing what he is doing. It's just so wonderful, wonderful wonderful !!!!

There is one thing that really struck me today and it was before we even entered the zoo. A woman also on her way to the heart picnic noticed I had my tickets in my hand and asked if were also going to the picnic. I smiled and said yes as she was holding the same envelope. Than she asked me something that wouldn't seem like anything significant, except to probably another heart mom. She asked "Which one, which one of your kids [both sitting in our double stroller] had the heart surgery". It was so amazing that our Jasiu looks so good to the naked eye he doesn't look like there is anything remotely wrong with him. It meant so much to hear that I can't even describe it, I'm literally tearing up while I even type this. We are truly blessed that Jasiu even with half of his little heart can be doing so well. Truly just amazing and I don't think I will ever be able to grasp it.

Now since I did not have my camera and our camera phones are so outdated, I only snapped these up on the marry-go-around.  Emily is a pro at these and it was her idea to go, but it was Jasiu's first ride and boy did he hang on to that bar for dear life. The look on his face was priceless as the animal he was sitting on started moving. Just too funny.  So here they are, not great quality but visible. When we finally get out other prints from Jewel ( and they are half way decent) I will share.

Almost holding on all  by himself

The marry-go-around PRO :-)

Jasiu and Dr. Illbawi

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