Going Home

October 21, 2013
Topics: About Us

It is taking me some time to process the giant life change I am in the middle of right now. Last Tuesday afternoon, one day shy of three weeks after his heart transplant, we got to bring our son Caleb home. And it was one of the happiest, and most surreal, days of my life.

We finished packing up our apartment at the Ronald McDonald House, where we've lived for an entire year, and our van looked like the Beverly Hillbillies. We squeezed our two boys in the back and drove off like four goofballs, singing and laughing and clapping and SO excited to go home together. We stopped at a Starbucks drive through and bought cake pops to celebrate. I was too happy to even care about the mess that accumulated in the back seat!

There was a "welcome-home" parade of people lining the streets leading to our house, people holding signs and waving and cheering and crying and we did the same in our car. We even opened the doors of our van so people could see Caleb and he could see them. It was cold and raining and there were horns honking and kids jumping up and down and SO many pictures being taken...and I felt like our community, our friends and family, were giving us huge hugs as we returned.

When Caleb walked into our house, HIS house, for the first time, he was in awe. He walked from room to room with excitement, constantly exclaiming, "Look, Mommy! Over here, Mommy! Let's go in this room, Mommy!" My favorite moment was when he went up the stairs for the first time. When he got to the top, which took a little bit, he stood up and said, "Ta-da!" He knew it was a big deal. And it was.

It feels SO good to be here that my joy and relief FAR outweigh the new schedule of medications I have to maintain. I know it will get easier and easier, and it honestly feels like such a small price to pay to have Caleb alive and strong and healthy. This is what it looks like when we set out the meds each night to draw up all the syringes for the next day:

And here's why I don't mind it one bit:

As his mother, it brings me happiness I can't even describe to watch him delight in his new environment. Every little thing is a joy to him. Taking a bath, walking in the grass, rolling around on the floor wrestling with Jonah, and climbing up the stairs by himself...he takes it all in with so much enthusiasm that it motivates me to enjoy these small moments in life, moments that would seem mundane to most people but feel like Christmas morning to us. We are having the time of our lives, just being together in our house.

This is a reality I just didn't know would ever happen and now that it's here, I refuse to have a "this feels too good to be true" attitude. This IS true, we ARE home, Caleb IS going to grow up and live his life and so are the rest of us. There will be no cautious waiting for the bottom to fall out. I have a new reality now and I thank God all day long for what He has done and the way He has sustained all four of us.

I know our future is still unknown and I understand very well that problems could develop at any time. But I won't waste my life and my blessings by allowing a disclaimer to my happiness that says, "Well, things are really good now, but..." None of us know what tomorrow will look like, but I know that today was freaking great and that's enough for me.

Katie Kinnaird

Katie Kinnaird and her husband Daniel have two sons, Jonah, their 4-year-old family entertainer, and Caleb, their sweet 3-year-old who received a heart transplant in September 2013 after spending nearly a year in Riley Hospital. The Kinnairds, who live in New Castle, Ind., welcomed a daughter, Lucy, in October 2013. Katie regularly updates their family's journey on her blog, Caleb's Heart.

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