I passed you in the hall today. I recognized you immediately, even though we’ve only spoken a few times.

You held my son’s heart in your hands.

I remember staring at your hands as your calming voice reviewed the risks of open heart surgery. The whole time I focused on your capable, experienced hands, comforted by the fact that they’ve operated on the tiniest and the most complicated hearts.

I wondered if you know how often families like ours think of you with gratitude. I wondered about the weight you must carry, the weight of thousands of little hearts and the hearts of their mommies and daddies, too. 

I wondered if you know when we talk about Henry and his special heart, that we say your name with pride. We chose you after careful consideration—after speaking with other families and colleagues. We chose you, and no one else, to save our son.

Every night, when I tuck him into bed, I rest my hand on Henry’s chest, a ritual of gratitude as his heart gently beats underneath my palm. It’s a reminder to let the stresses of the day melt away, to be present in that quiet moment, and to feel grateful for my family.

Laura, Grateful Mom of Henry