To our sweet Bodie,
I cannot believe you're 7 - how is that even possible???
(I know you refuse to accept that you turned 7 today, and are insisting that you are 6 until your party on Saturday, but since I was actually there the day you were born, I'm gonna go with my recollection on the date.)
I know this wasn't the best day for you.
I know that CHD doesn't take a break just because it's your birthday, that heart failure doesn't look for a "good date" on your schedule to rear its lovely head and throw symptoms your way.
I know you put a brave face on it and muddled through a long school day even though you were tired and nauseas and thought you might throw up.
I know all of that.
It's unfair and it sucks.
But here's the really important part that your daddy and I want you to know.
You are amazing, kiddo.
You really are.
I know every parent thinks that, but honestly, there is just something special about you.
When I was 17 weeks pregnant and Dr. Kim told me you would be born with half a heart, we realized we weren't promised any birthdays with you. And yet, we've already celebrated 7! 7!! And here you are, currently sitting in a rough patch, but thriving nonetheless.
You're doing all these things a "regular" 7-year old kid would do. You're reading (you really really are! It's slow, but it's there and we couldn't be prouder!). You're building Legos allllll the time. You love art and Star Wars and Dr. Seuss Books. You are obsessed with MacGuyver (ok, maybe that's not a typical 7-year old thing - you can blame that on a dad who grew up in the 80s. We'd like to think you're learning good survival skills by watching it with dad). You're thisclose to testing for your next belt test in karate (and usually grumble about having to go - like any other 7 year old). But you are NOT a typical 7 year old. You have been so so much in your life - and yet, are such a typical kid. I know you don't get how incredible that is - and that's ok. It's probably better that you don't.
But you should know, you are funny. So so funny. And you have this amazing, magnetic personality. Kids your own age may not necessarily be drawn to you, but it makes them put up with your shenanigans, which is pretty darn helpful for getting through childhood. But kids younger and older, and especially adults, are totally drawn to you. People are often telling me how much they love talking to you, how funny and sweet your stories are. That is God's gift to you - and to us, really. He has given you this sweet, engaging personality. So the physical body he gave you might not be all it's cracked up to be. But there's a lot more to life than having a good physical exterior. That part just gets old anyway. But what's on the inside - the sweet, funny, tenacious personality - that's there to stay, buddy. And that's an incredible gift to have.
And your love for life blows us all away. You have been through so stinking much, and yet still have a smile on your face and silly laughter in your voice. That is a gift. Tonight, as you were eating KFC and Rice a Roni for dinner in your underwear (you're welcome for not sharing that pic, buddy - also, I don't want CPS to take you away because I posted a pic of you in your underwear, so there's that), I was just marveling at you. At your insightful questions. At your idea to run around the table and have everyone give you 7 hugs. At you recounting all the kids at recess following you around as you ran around in your new eagle wings (by the way, buddy, I was thisclose to not buying those for you - clearly getting them was a good call, so thank you for the constant begging me to get them for you).
You, my sweet boy, are a gift.
In so many, many ways.
Please don't ever lose sight of that fact.
God is going to do amazing things with you.
He's already doing them.
He's already done so much in 7 short years.
We don't know the path that will get us from 7 to 8. But we pray it will just be the first of many of the next 77 years with you.
We love you, buddy. To the moon and back a million bajillion quadrillion times.
And then some.
Happy Birthday, big guy.