Oh, it was a happy day indeed. Our first happy heart day came a year after Lucy's surgery and was my way of letting go of the fear and the guilt I had carried to that point, replacing it instead with gratitude and hope. Gratitude for the ways God carried us through a difficult time, and hope for the future - both Lucy's and our family's. Each year at the end of January, on the anniversary of that day, I take a deep breath, say a prayer of thanks, and spend time remembering the amazing ways we were cared for during our hardest moments. I remember so many gestures that, while simple, gave us back our breath and helped us move forward instead of staying stuck in fear. I never want to forget those things, the lessons I learned and the empathy and compassion I hope I will carry forward as a result. Though we may not make a big deal of celebrating the day each year, I will always be brought back to that place - the memories are years old now but still carry the immediacy and rawness I felt living through those days.
The kids, however (sharing none of my sappy sentimentality), saw this anniversary as the perfect chance to relive a highlight of our time at the hospital - riding the tram and eating at the Spaghetti Factory :) So that is just what we did. Oh, we also pranced around Grandma's backyard with a dozen heart balloons. Thanks to my mom and dad, and dear friends Jess and Matt for joining in celebrating the day with us and for being a tangible reminder of God's provision in our lives. You make our hearts happy and full!