We attended the Boston Children’s Hospital marathon lunch a few weeks ago and had the pleasure of hearing a few runners talk about their connection to CHB. One runner was running in memory of his sister. He spoke about the care she received at Children’s and how it affected their whole family. He is now a grown man with a family of his own and he said the one thing that constantly sticks out in his mind is how his mother cared for his sister throughout her journey. Several times he said, “there is no greater love than the love of a mother for her child”.
A few weeks later we spent the morning at Children’s with Mae. She had a sonogram for her kidneys followed by a catheter procedure. Afterwards, I sat nursing Ellie in the lobby and overheard the woman next to me calling a family member to tell them that her daughter had been brought in for heart surgery and now she was waiting. They traveled from Germany - the trip had been long and sleepless for this mom. She described the days leading up to surgery very matter of factly and without any concern for herself. The woman on the other end of the phone told her to make sure she gets some rest and expressed great concern for how she was holding up. To which the mom responded “I’ll be just fine. As long as she’s ok, I’ll be ok. I can eat and sleep later. I just need her to be ok.” There truly is no greater love than the love of a mother for her children.
Drew makes motherhood look easy. He was a good baby, a great eater, sleeper, good rule follower. He’s a sweet, special kid. The moment Mae arrived motherhood took on a different meaning. Drew’s birth was nothing but joy and celebration, Mae’s birth came with all aspects of motherhood wrapped into the first few moments. I immediately fell in love, became fiercely protective, started advocating, was incredibly fearful, nervous, overwhelmed and uncertain of how life would unfold. I had to go way out of my comfort zone. I had to give every part of myself to ensure that child would be ok. And so I did. I got educated. I got resourceful. I found my balance between assertiveness and ease. I never let up. In an instant I understood motherhood in a whole new way. Just like the mom in the lobby, more than anything, I needed Mae to be ok. Through it all, I needed Drew to be ok too.
Over the past two years, I've accepted that Boston Children’s Hospital will always be a special, meaningful place for our family. As soon as I embraced this notion, I started to see the deep, unbreakable, unwavering strength of a mother’s love everywhere. It’s in the faces of the valets who tell you to “take your time Mom” as they help you unload and reload your car seat, stroller and kiddos. It’s in the touch and tender ways of the nurses, the reception staff who always greets us with a smile. I hear that love coming through the phone when I call for an appointment and the person on the other end says “you’re all set Mom, have a great day”. I feel that same love in every aspect of the care we receive - from the surgeons, doctors, nurses, and clinic staff.
For all of the worry, fear and anxiety that needing a childrens hospital can bring to a parent, Boston Children’s Hospital fills it’s hallways with more love than you can imagine. You see it across the lobby, in the eyes of the children, the parents, siblings, grandparents. Every time I sit in a waiting room and my eye catches the gaze of a fellow Mom, in that moment we are bonded. We need this place. I'm not the only one. In those moments, I know someone else in this world feels what I feel. I sit in the Down Syndrome Clinic and I know the Mom across from me knows the challenges and joys that fill my days and the worry and fear that often fills my heart. I know she sees me in a way that no one else can. I know she’s giving everything she can to her precious kiddo. I know her fears. I know her heartache. And I know the incredible love and joy she experiences.
This year we were very lucky. We only had one overnight at Children’s. When I sat down to think about what Children’s has meant to us this year, moments like the marathon lunch stick out in my mind. As we settle into our life as a forever family of BCH I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for this amazing community. On the eve of Mother’s Day, there is no better way to describe the power, force, and passion of this community than to compare it to that of a mother towards her children. Every visit to BCH provides an opportunity to feel the warm embrace of a mother’s love. It’s the love and compassion and fierce determination of everyone at BCH who is helping move the mission forward that gets our family through the hard parts and makes the routine things easier. Until Every Child is Well. A mission like that must be fueled with love.
Thank you for joining us on this journey and for helping us make a big difference in our small corner of the world. Andrew and I wish each of you a very warm, love filled Mother’s Day. xox
*All funds raised go directly to the Tapley Family Fund in support of the Cardiology and Down Syndrome Clinics at Boston Children’s Hospital.