Iron Man: “There’s the next mission, and nothing else.”
When we first found out about Rhett’s heart, like Tony Stark (spoilers for Iron Man 1), you may say we were trapped in a cave feeling like there was no way to escape. Luckily for Tony he was imprisoned with a doctor named Yinsen and together they were able to overcome Tony’s condition and IRON MAN was born. We of course had multiple doctors, but Rhett was born and we/they got to work.
Soon after coming to terms and understanding what we were dealing with (Tricuspid Atresia with Dextro-Transposition of the Great Arteries), we found Iron Man becoming a symbol of hope within our little family. At that time, we weren’t very big Marvel fans at all. I had seen Iron Man and some of the older Spider Man movies, but that was kind of it. As the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) expanded and more movies were added to the Infinity Saga, so did our love for the movies. As Rhett grew older he also began to really enjoy the films, starting with Thor: Ragnarok (spoilers for Thor: Ragnarok). Rhett’s favorite part was always when the Hulk came out to fight Thor in the grand arena. I can remember him running through the house running into us and screaming “HULK SMASH, HULK SMASH”.
Through Rhett’s three years we’ve watched Ant Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor, Spider Man, Black Panther and so many others. They replay on our TV constantly and we have become very big fans of them all and he still gets excited when the good guys win and he gets to see his favorites kick butt.
Doctor Strange: “We’re in the End Game now“
Here we are nearly three years after Rhett was born and it’s hard to explain to a three year old what it even means to go to surgery. He’s old enough to know that something is going on, but too young to understand why it HAS to happen. As a parent, what can you do, except use examples that he knows to try to ease some of the nerves? Over the past few weeks, I’ve found that using the super heroes is working at least a little bit.
The two that have really stuck out in making this comparison to a three year old are Iron Man and Captain America. Iron Man has a scar on his chest too that contains a very special heart within. Captain America was small and frail prior to his “surgery” (spoilers for Captain America: The First Avenger), but then he becomes strong and powerful after surgery.
The Super Heroes in movies come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are born with great powers, some are provided with great gifts, some start out weak and become strong, some start out strong and become stronger. The thing they all have in common is that none of them can accomplish their goals alone. In the end, they always need help from someone, no matter how strong they have become. So, as we go into the next mission, we have our super hero ready to face the battle ahead with a whole team of Avengers ready to lay the smack down on this Fontan surgery!
Rhett is showing fear on occasion, but he is completely aware he is having surgery. He knows it is the last one. He knows we will be there for many days. He knows it’s going to hurt sometimes. But my hope is that I have given him enough comparisons for him to know that when it is over and we can finally go home again that he will be faster and stronger than he has ever been before. In true kid form, all he wants to do is play baseball.
As his dad I couldn’t possibly be more proud and I know he’s going to do great, because as the Mighty Thor once said,
Thor: “That’s what heroes do.”
Finish strong, kid.