August 28th, 2013 | Written by Joe
Clara is approaching 8 months old and it’s fun to watch her grow and learn. She see a physical therapist every week to practice rolling, crawling, and her motor skills. She also started meeting with an occupational therapist to learn how to eat. It’s fun to watch her gain confidence in her abilities week by week.
While there are many characters in Clara’s story from doctors to therapists to family to friends who graciously donate breast milk to our heart family friends who have been an amazing support group for us, there is one character who deserves the highest praise.
Joanna. My wife.
I often say she is the strongest woman I know but I would add that she’s also the bravest person I know too. She is the rock of our family with her patience and humility.
One year ago, today, Joanna and Clara had the fetal intervention procedure done. We tend to downplay Joanna’s role in the procedure because our focus was so much on Clara’s outcome but Joanna’s focus, patience, and determination to do everything she could to save Clara’s life is the greatest gift she’s given to our young family.
Joanna doesn’t like the attention put on her but I couldn’t let today pass without expressing my love and admiration for such an amazing woman. She is a precious gift to me and one I don’t take for granted. Six years ago, this week, we started dating and she has endured me and my sin. She stood up to the challenges of our first year of marriage and fought each day in prayer for me. She has forgiven me unconditionally and continues to love me well as each day passes. She loves our daughter with a fierce joy that is a pleasure to experience.
We tell Clara, “be strong and courageous little one, the Lord is with you,” whenever she goes in for a heart surgery or catheterization and I am confident she will know this truth because she has no greater example than her mother. Even in the face of Clara’s unknown future, she has a mom who exhibits a faith in God that manifests itself in strength and courage.
Joanna, you are the love of my life and my words cannot express the deep appreciation and joy you bring to my life. You have made me a better father, a better husband, and a better man. I love you!