Twenty Years Ago Today...by Joyce
I hurried home from work that day. I remember needing to clear all the dinner dishes first. I wanted to be able to focus all my attention on TJ the remainder of the evening. He was a wise soul, some might describe it as an old soul. Born that way truthfully. Such a good baby and then he entered his two's, not terrible as often described, more like terrific. He had become so protective of his baby sister. It was as if he intuitively knew that she would always need him.
As I watched him that evening play around the family room, I still wasn't sure how to tell him that she would be going to the hospital the next day. For an operation that we hoped would save her but one that we also knew could take her life. Once the kitchen counter had been cleaned, I went to my room to change into something more comfortable and to stall for time I'm sure. I returned to the family room and scooped him into my arms. John turned the television off and we moved into the living room and sat together. The three of us.
Being as careful as I could with my words, I described to TJ that sometimes babies have boo-boos on the inside of their body. We can't see them but they still need to have a band aid, just like your knee when you fall on the playground. Then I told him it was Sarah's heart that needed a band aid. John told him the next day we would be taking Sarah to the hospital but that he would be home to sleep with him that night. John and I wanted to keep TJ's schedule and activities as normal as possible. He seemed unfazed by what we were telling him. I was prepared for him to cry, but he didn't.
He just wiggled himself off my lap. He went back down to the family room, put his toys away without being asked and then sat next to Sarah. For the rest of the evening, until bedtime. When I look at this picture today I can see the worry in his eyes, the concern on his face. He had nothing to compare it to at that age, but I'm sure he sensed the worry in our voices and the concern on our faces.
On that cold February night, we went to bed thinking we were about to have a short hospital stay. Our baby girl was going in with a broken heart and would come home with a mended heart. As I kissed TJ goodnight, I prayed that he would get through these next two weeks with few emotional scars. Never did we realize our lives were about to change, forever...