There is a belief that our hearts have a predetermined number of beats before they give out. www.beholders.org write that a billion heartbeats is the length of a lifetime whether you are a human, hamster, or whale. This could be alarming if you are someone who drinks too much coffee with the resultant caffeine induced palpitations (like me!) My average heart rate is 80, which X 1,440 X 365 x35 is 1,471,680,000. I am already over my quota. Thankfully Wiki suggests that the average heart beats 2.5-3billion times before it takes a rest. I don’t know who is right, but last week I was more worried about smiling flower’s heart as we had to go to hospital to have it checked out.
80% of people with CHARGE syndrome have heart defects and and so it was with some trepidation that we trouped along to the cardiac clinic. There we met another blustery consultant who listened to her heart (in the brief pauses between screams of protest) and then did an echocardiogram (amidst more enthusiastic screams of protest at cold gel being spread on her chest).
Wonderfully, amazingly, her heart and all the tubes leading in and out are entirely normal. My own heart soared, high above the stratosphere of life. I was dancing along the clouds like a less than dainty, sugar plum fairy… This had been the last (anticipated) hurdle of discovery in a rather drawn out journey. There was immense relief that for once, she was in the minority because she was reassuringly okay. There was definitely a pot of gold at the end of this little arch of hope.
As I drove home I started thinking about my ‘cyber friend’ Sarah (speakuplibrarian.blogspot.com) who suggested before Christmas that I shouldn’t be too hard on myself in terms of my parenting skills. I remembered a few words I heard John O’Donohue say at a festival once: Develop the heart – lose the hardness – so it is a place where you can lay your head
January is a prime time for self improvement and resolutions. Most people are focused on getting their heart rate down by losing weight and exercising more. My list so far is fairly random and has included recycling more plastic, not being defeated by the tiredness monster, and signing, signing, signing so that we can develop it as a home language this year. I will probably achieve all these in part. But now I am thinking that maybe the best one to have would be to develop my heart so it is a place where I can rest my head. This immediately makes me feel less tired and more peaceful. There is a whole world out there quite capable of judging us. I wonder why it is that so often we are our own harshest critics. Smiling flower has a heart which beats soft and steady with a pulsing warmth. I want mine to be just like hers…