This is Victoria.
She isn't very old.
And she isn't very big.
But she has a whole lot of people who love her like crazy and have been worried sick about her.
Victoria is the daughter of my cousin Mandy and her husband Scott. She has been blessed/cursed with a multitude of health issues and a bounty of good looks and charm. All it takes is to meet her in order to fall in love. Her humongous smile. Her wee blonde pigtails. Her slender form. Her willingness to please.
"Kikki," as she is fondly known, was born with a hole in her heart. Some people, like my mom, can live their whole lives with such things. But the hole in Victoria's is very large. Without surgical repair, little Victoria cannot grow.
The decision to operate was a huge one for her parents. Because she is so small, her resources to withstand open heart surgery are limited. For some time now, Mandy and Scott have been trying to help Victoria gain weight, in order for her to more ably get through the operation. Without success. Finally, with input from doctors at Toronto's renowned Hospital for Sick Children, Mandy and Scott decided it was in her best interest to go ahead.
Today was the day.
All day long my e-mail was inundated with the "reply all" hopes and prayers of the people who love Victoria. You could hear their collective breath being held this afternoon as she underwent approximately five hours in surgery.
So tiny a bird, so sweet a soul, to endure so much.
The "Kiki Report" continued throughout the day with messages like this one: "I stopped every time my blackberry buzzed and said a silent prayer first."
Finally the news everyone had been waiting for came: Victoria made it through! Yes, disoriented; yes, in pain. But alive!
Victoria's grandmother, my cousin Debi, was the one who sent the "Kiki Report" from the hospital.
Her last report brought me to tears: "Mandy and Scott had Kiki propped up and blowing bubbles. She even giggled a bit... a very big day for a very brave little girl. Thank you everyone. Thank you God."