I first heard his heartbeat when he was still inside me, the sound thumping back through grey monitors against white walls. It seemed impossible then. I couldn’t see him. I had no idea who he was, but I could hear him, like a roll of thunder inside me.
When we were rushed to the hospital 6 months later, I heard it again, through wires taped to my belly, the sound rushing toward me. Each beat a reminder that he was alive. That he was okay.
When they rushed him into the world, they pulled the wires from my stomach and sliced him free. His wings unfolded beneath the surgical lights and his heart pounded in his chest. The blood rushed through him. He took a breath.
3 days later, I heard his heartbeat change.
2 holes in his heart.
1 breath after another.
We moved forward. We held him close, then let him take the lead. He broke away. He headed toward the mountaintops. He wanted to fly.
We held him back.
We listened. We heard it. And they did too.
One year ago today, they stopped his dragon heart. They held it in their hands. They closed the hole, then breathed life back into him. They made it beat again.
For one long moment, we stood on the edge, willing him awake. And then he came back to us.
I told Bob tonight that we can never be the same. Not really. Because we stood on the edge of all of that, and we knew that nothing else mattered. Just him. With his fierce little roar and his sweet-tooth fangs. With his dragon heart.
I drew him a dragon heart tonight from this reference.
Today, he played baseball and ate lemon cake and we celebrated HEART DAY. His dragon heart is strong and fierce, sweet and kind. And I’m sure, over time, all these things will make more sense, and they’ll have more meaning and a lot less shine, but for now they are so bright that I can barely see the path in front of me. It’s all possibility, friends. It’s life and light and love and him, and he’s got so much more to do.
He’s shining, with every beat of his dragon heart.
And he is serious, oh so serious, about cake.