The Heart of the Matter

As parents, we pass a lot of our traits on to our children.

We see ourselves in their actions and realize that the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.

Sometimes it’s adorable (“Let’s watch baseball!”). Sometimes it’s horrific (“Where did you learn that word???? Oh…me. Got it.**”). Needless to say, it’s always an adventure…and even a game. Can you “program” your kids to be a better version of you?

[**When I was two, I apparently ran around a pharmacy screaming “SH*T!” repeatedly.]

But what about the things they can inherit from you besides behavior? Eye color. Hair color. Height.Those are definitely passed down across generations. It’s fun to have someone running around the house that looks a bit like you, right?

But what about health problems.

Knowing that your health history could impact your kids from Day One…this is what keeps parents-to-be awake a night.

For our kids, it was all about their hearts.

I was born with a heart condition that required surgery when I was an infant. Nothing to worry about now – 100% fixed and zero complications (*knocking on wood*). And, while I visit my cardiologist for regular check-ups, the condition has had virtually zero impact on how I live my life. But I was really fortunate. Others with the same condition I had aren’t as lucky.

little mike
Me, circa 1983

When we first started talking about having kids, well before we were married, my heart surgery was a big topic of conversation. Was the condition hereditary? [Not likely, but…] And if it was, what types of procedures exist today that weren’t available when I was a patient? Would my children be as lucky as I was?

Every time we’ve gone in for sonograms with all three kids, the first thing I look for is the heart. Even without going to medical school, I could identify any problem areas pretty easily after 30+ years of cardiologist visits.

Thankfully, neither of my children have any cardiology issues, and all tests show the new baby will be free of heart troubles, as well.

For me, this takes on an added meaning. My kids didn’t inherit the thing I feared them getting the most. So now it’s on me and my wife to instill them with the best things possible. Making sure they face the world with confidence, balance optimism with realism,  and take advantage of all opportunities in front of them…and fight for the ones worth fighting for.

Still, the occasional naughty word is going to come through. Sorry. I think I get that from my mother.



One thought on “The Heart of the Matter

  1. Pingback: Jimmy Kimmel, I Have Tetralogy of Fallot, Too | The Best Dad Blog

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