So Brooky’s Birthday party was a smashing success. It was the most difficult party we’ve ever planned, but it was the most fulfilling experience of life. To paint the picture Brooklyn (as many of you know) is our CHD (Congenital Heart Defect) Warrior. Sheltaya learned of the defect early in her pregnancy, but since Brooklyn was able to spend a month at home, we thought the issue worked itself out. In late August early September 2016, she was told to take Brooky to the hospital prepare for the worst. Her little heart was too weak to sustain her little body and everything would begin shutting down. Well as we all know Brooklyn has defied the odds and by the grace of God celebrated her first birthday July 15, 2017.
I would love to be able to share she is out of the woods and everything is OK, but reality doesn’t allow that. I am overjoyed however that she is here and we can all see God’s miraculous hands at work in her little body.
The celebration is wonderfully painful as Brooky is too ill to leave her hospital room so we have to shuttle people by 2’s up to see her. It’s exhausting and downright frustrating, but amazing at the same time.
A quick confession. I had a major breakdown in the supermarket. I went to pick up the cake (which BTW Bekka at Giant Eagle in the Homestead Waterfront did a great job on) and tears welled up the minute I saw Brooky’s precious little face on it surrounded by a Minnie Mouse theme, of course. Understand we have been in a constant state of “Lord I believe, help my unbelief”, over the course of this year, so seeing that cake made it real. The young lady in the bakery department saw the tears and said, “oh my goodness, wait until you see the smash cake”. To which I replied, “If you don’t shut up” (lovingly) because holding back the flood gates was becoming impossible.
I left her with tears still intact in the tear ducts that were about to give at any moment, and walked to the register with Brooky memories flooding my mind. I saw Taya in labor trying to push out the princess, I remembered holding her in my arms for the first time, I saw her in church taking up 1/16th of her car seat (lol), then I saw the hospital where she went in swollen with slits for eyes and her gaining about 10 lbs. of fluid after one of her surgeries. There were so many memories I fought to maintain my composure. Not to mention the fact that Giant Eagle tapes the pic you gave them to the top of the cake so that you don’t lose it, so while attempting to keep it together, I also had to look at the princess’s big brown eyes (epic fail).
I put the cake on the belt to the register, wiped the well (of tears) before it dropped and thought I was home free. Well the cashier saw the picture and gasped “Oh my, is that the picture on the cake, she is gorgeous”. And that’s all she wrote! At this point I’m breaking down telling Brooklyn’s story to anyone who will listen, and I only realized I had suffered a complete melt down when the cashier came out from the behind the register and encouraged the entire line to give me a group hug. Yup Brooky shut down a line at Giant Eagle!
I share all of that because in the midst of the joy and celebration that Brooky has made it an entire year, we as a family and a Brooky community are still extremely emotionally fragile. I listen to K-Love on a regular basis (don’t judge me) and I can go from obliviously singing joyously at the top of my lungs to having to pull over on the side of the road because I’m crying profusely. Now I truly know what pain is. I know how it feels to realize love doesn’t always conquer all, and despite our best efforts we are completely powerless to change this situation. We know what it means to be in holy desperation. What it means to cry out to God not sure if anyone is even listening, but holding out hope and faith that He hears and He knows.
I love that people keep praying for us and our family and that we are able to sustain our love, our marriage and our familial relationships during this not so perfect storm.
We are so overwhelmingly grateful for the outpouring of love and support we have received with this beautiful princess. She truly lights up our lives and makes our struggles look easy. But we also hurt on a daily almost hourly basis as her status increases and decreases. As her heart stabilizes and blood pressure drops, or her breathing rate is normalized while her trach gets blocked. There is rarely an easy day with Ms. Brooklyn but we wouldn’t trade it or her for the world.
Happy Birthday Brooklyn We love you to life and praise God that you are our little smiling miracle baby.
Please keep the prayers coming because as we may fall apart, we know we serve a God with a purpose and a plan. He hears the prayers of the righteous that are going up when we can’t see clearly enough to pray for ourselves. God bless each one of you for taking time out of your busy lives to love on our little princess and our family.
FINALLY, please go out and do a random act of kindness on behalf of the princess. It reminds us that Brooky’s struggles will not be in vain. #IBrookyChallengeYou
The Birthday Princess