I hope that if you have read this blog for any length of time that you know that I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. When Lauren was first admitted to the ICU on that terrible first night, there was another young family there with their own little Lauren. Their little girl had been in surgery the day before for a serious heart condition and they witnessed Lauren being wheeled in after first crashing in the emergency room. They saw the doctors working on her, watched our panic as we saw our little girl hooked up to all of the machines for the first time and watched as we unraveled in each others arms with the sudden and shocking news about our little girl's heart.

A few days later, they introduced themselves to us and our friendship has been strong ever since. It began with our two little girls: their shared name, birthdays three days apart and sad little hearts. It has grown to a relationship of understanding. To have another mom who is going through similar worries, struggles and victories is such a blessing. I believe that this family was also placed in our lives for a reason.

We live an hour apart from each other so the times that we get to see each other are exciting events. I love it because, as we move away from our time in the hospital, we can still connect and talk openly about how we still worry and struggle and love every little victory that we see in our girls. Children who go through heart surgery often have delays and we have seen speech, feeding and mobility delays in our little ladies... all of which they have or are overcoming!

Last week, we were able to attend one of our favourite nights of the year - DreamNight at the Aquarium. On DreamNight, hundreds of volunteers come together to open the aquarium for children who are still linked to the hospital. There are singers (Bobs and Lolo were there), local athletes, mascots everywhere you look, free ice cream, aquarium staff galore and divers in many of the big tanks waving to the kids. They think of so many details to ensure that the kids (and parents) feel welcome and special. From the moment that we stood in line to check in to the moment that we left, Lauren was delighted. Not only did she get to wander and see the fish with her friend Lauren, but she got to hold a bird on her arm, wiggle and dance to some music, watch the dolphin show and spend as much time as she wanted staring into the tanks. And Lauren's mom and I spent the night catching up, chatting about everything under the sun, including our little ladies.

At the end of the evening, Matt, Lauren and I left exhausted and excited about what we had experienced. Looking back at it, that is how I feel about everything that Lauren has gone through and how she is doing today. I finally feel like our past is exhausting and our future is exciting. And what a blessing it is to be able to walk through this journey with a kindred family who are also walking this exhausting and exciting journey. Our little girls are blossoming and we see amazing things in their future.

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