When two worlds collide

“Iz!  Be careful!  You have to move out of the way after you slide!”

“Ok – Mama!”

A huge splash, a kid crying…or laughing in the kiddie pool.

I look around at my friends.  My arms empty without my boy who is spending some quality time with his Lola and Nana so I could have some time with just my best girl.

We’re laughing about something.  Making plans for dinner.

Sweating away in the Texas heat as we watch our kids play in the water, play in grass, eat the luau themed food.

It was so…normal.

A woman a couple of lawn chairs over – someone I had not ever met – was a part of this playgroup I’ve been absent from for so long…you know…since we have been complete hermits for Evan’s health, looked over at me and asked me a question.

Dressed in work out gear, not dolled up, kind smile and easy to talk to….completely casual..my kind of person.

“So, you must be the mom who’s son has a heart defect?” she asked.

Completely surprised…not used to being asked that in this world…my normal world.. and not in the Heartland.

“Yes.  Yes he does.  He’s 6 months and at home with my mom and aunt.”

“My son was in the hospital for an extended period of time, too.”

I smiled sweetly.  I had been a part of these conversations before.  The next thing out of her mouth would probably be…”My son was in the hospital for a couple of days with the flu.”  Or “My son has ADHD…so I know what you’re going through.”

I braced myself….remembering that I was amongst friends and there were children around…I was not about to go all “Jersey Shore” – The Situation vs. Ron..at  playgroup and try to be diplomatic.  Digging deep in my soul….trying to remember that people just don’t get what it feels like to have to a child with a congenital heart defect and they try to relate their problems with yours.

“I’m sorry to hear that.  What was the reason for the hospital stay?”

“He has a very complex heart defect.  And had severe airway issues.  He was on the ventilator for 3 months.  We were hospitalized for 4 months.  He’s had open heart surgery and a total of 18 surgeries.”

Before I could even stop the diarrhea of the mouth that was pouring out….I began peppering her with question, after question, after question.

With grace, with patience, with complete and utter understanding…she answered them.

One by one.

Her boy and my Evan having almost identical defects.  My Evan has a few more defects but has been blessed to have a good airway unlike her boy.

“Which kid is yours? I asked.

“That one…” and she kind of laughed as she pointed to the little boy, about 2 years old, who had been climbing every chair, splashing in the pool with the big kids, keeping up with others all morning long in the Texas heat.

And then she looked at me and said, “It will get easier. There is hope.”

And I lost it.

My two worlds.

The world of normalcy I forget I still am a part of.  My friends, my family, playgroups, dinners with friends, date nights with Craig…

The world of heart defects  – the Heartland – I spend a majority of my life in – medications, feeding tubes, doctor visits, therapy….

Suddenly…my two worlds colliding.

We chatted about feeding issues, therapy, valve replacements, surgeons, our favorite ICU nurses.

Our conversation being interrupted as one of us would call out to our kid to be careful, to eat their food, to be nice to their friends….

I kept looking at her boy – in awe at what the kid has been through.

I kept looking at her – not in a creepy way – how normal this conversation felt.

How normal she was.  No tears about talking about her journey.

How strange and comforting it felt to be talking about all the things I spend hours on the internet discussing with my Heart Mamas online.

But, talking to someone, in the flesh, who has been there…truly gets what it feels like to wonder…”Is my child going to die today?” and not be judged for that thought.

Talking to someone outside the hospital walls…because in the hospital there’s only one world…there is no normal in that place.

Having a conversation with someone surrounded by the comforts of the life you used to have – play dates, chatting with friends – and seeing her live that life….with her son who has battle wounds just like my boy.

I used terminology I only use with my Heart Mamas online or in the hospital as we talked.  Breathing a sigh of relief that I didn’t have to explain what a Saturation was, a graft, intensivist…all these words that my dear, dear friends try desperately to understand for my sake…but just can’t.

And thank God for that.

We traded war stories of our boys constantly throwing up – their gag reflexes on overdrive from being intubated – and laughing about how we are always on stand by with hands or paper plates to catch the projectile vomit coming out of their mouths.

Laughing about it.

I laughed about it…never thinking I’d have a conversation that felt so normal midst the abnormal of my new life as a Heart Mom.

But, I did.

My two worlds colliding.  God orchestrating something that my soul needed today.  How beautiful is that?

God showing me through a complete stranger and her son’s fight…that there is a life after all of this.  That life does go on…and it’s a pretty great one.

Thank you sweet, Hudson, for giving me and my Evan a reminder that no matter what…there’s always hope.






  1. So glad you got to meet that mom and make a new connection! {{{HUG}}}