Last summer I was talking to someone and the mentioned how these days mothers really bring about most of the birth abnormalities their children have. Is this grounded on anything scientific? I have no idea. Where she came up with it- I don't know. But words do matter and stick, even if they're not founded, and it hit close to home. I know what she meant but I also knew that it bothered me even if it wasn't directed at me. I couldn't help but think is this the thought the crosses peoples minds when they meet Owen?
I was convinced people noticed his differences. I felt like they would take one look at Owen and sum him up and then sum me up in return. I honestly thought this was the very first thing people noticed about our entire family. I wanted to almost disclaim it to anyone we met. "This is my newborn Owen..as you can see, he was born with one ear." How awkward, right?
A year can provide a lot of clarity. I no longer think every person who meets Owen must wonder what I did to cause his microtia. I also am 100% convinced that the first thing people notice about Owen is his wild hair, mischievous smile and the fact he is a spitting image of his father.
Yesterday, at his ENT appointment, a little boy was whispering loudly to his mom, "mom! mom! look at that baby's ear!" This little boy had two siblings with him. One of which being an adorable bleach blonde toddler that happened to have Down Syndrome. This just showed me that people may notice differences, it is in our nature, but there are truly differences all around us.
I look back on the posts I wrote after Owen was born and I remember the feelings very vividly. But a lot has changed too- and I think for the better.
I wrote that I was thankful Owen only had what he has. That he will still walk, and talk, and run... I realize now, "what if he couldn't?" Parents face that reality every day. They don't have the luxury of saying things like "it could be worse." But, regardless, we are designed to love our children fully and selflessly. I admire these parents that can face great challenges at the sides of their children. I also realized, at the time, I was validating myself with all the things Owen CAN do. I was listing them off and getting comfort from it. But that is not where his value comes from. It's not something that could be checked off a list. He is, and all people, are of value regardless of their abilities. They are simply themselves and and that is enough.
Such a serious post.
I just got to thinking about all this today as I was looking into Infantino's "Everybody Plays" campaign contest. The campaign promotes using children with differences in advertising. I submitted Owen into the contest as possibly representing the population of children that have cranio-facial birth abnormalities and it just got me thinking about all these things again and processing it from a year (and a few months) out...
And so there you have it, all the thoughts of today that were swirling around this mind of mine.
Take care. Love your babies. xoxo