The future of any child is uncertain. My future is uncertain. Your future is uncertain. In life, as we all know, there are zero certainties and guarantees, except for one: we all float away into the big blue sky someday. You enjoy what you have for as long as you can. You take what you can get. You can get as close to certain as possible. At least in our family’s experience, we don’t know the meaning of certainty too well, and Natalie’s prognosis is only scratching the surface. We know what “for a long while” means. Maybe that’s the only close to certain thing we know.
When you have a child diagnosed with such a severe illness, the first thing you fear thinking about is what’s going to happen to them as they grow up. Over the past 5 years we’ve handed over our desire to control Natalie’s condition. We have learned to just leave the chips as they lay.
Natalie has reached the age of talking about what she wants to be when she grows up. That’s when you are forced to really face the big uncertainties and the big what ifs. Or at least you feel a little forced because like with every child, heart healthy or not, you want the best for them. You want to say “yes absolutely, you can do that”. But even with my six year old son who’s totally healthy, I can say “yes absolutely, you can do that” but how do I know that it becomes 100% guaranteed. The same with Natalie. She has been really interested in watching NY Med with me. When she comes into the room I always warn her with “this part’s going to be really bloody.. are you sure?” And when I try to cover the computer screen she gets really upset. She wants to see the heart surgeries, the bloody aortic surgery scene, and the gun shot wounds. While I sit there and get a little queasy, she smiles with her green eyes completely wide open. She waits for the next scene with something bloody going on and asks me all sorts of questions. She tells me that she wants to be a heart surgeon or a nurse. I tell her, “heck yeah!”
We’ve caught Natalie reading her daddy’s Anatomy books before. Well “reading”, because she really likes the pictures. Some of those illustrations are very realistic looking. She tells me that’s what she likes about it.
Does this make it certain that Natalie will become the next heart surgeon or veterinarian? Obviously not. I do wonder if Natalie is really into the whole medical thing because she’s meant to be or is it because she knows that she’s had surgeries and it’s sort of like putting missing pieces of a puzzle together?
None of us know and not even Natalie.
While her future is uncertain we do know that Natalie is a very determined little girl. She has already sailed through her 5 years of life with incredible strength and determination. More than all of my 33 years put together. No matter what she does, Natalie will get it done. I guess you could say that it is a guarantee that Natalie will fight to the end. Whenever that is.
She’s also stubborn enough to be a surgeon.