Just the way you are
In one week you will have yet another surgery.
After the first 2 years of one after another, I naively thought that the ones that lay ahead - when you would be older and I could explain things - would bruise my heart less.
I stand corrected.
I wish I could trade places with you. I wish I could make all your medical issues go away. I wish you could enjoy childhood the way so many others get to - without doctors and hospitals and surgeries.
Today you surprised me by sharing a moment of self-awareness that broke my heart just a bit. As I was preparing your dinner, you watched my hand intently as it rested on the counter next to the stove.
"Why does my hand not lay flat like yours, mommy?"
You put your hand next to mine in comparison - the curves and rigidness of the amazing hands created by God and re-created by doctors were brought to light in a way that had become so commonplace in my life. Yet, at 4 years old, you are just starting to notice. Just starting to care.
This moment caught me off guard. I instinctively spouted out the response from the top of my mind, the one that is always ready: "That's how God made you sweet-pea. Your hands are special. They are just fine. I love your hands".
That is true, no doubt. But, my dear Aiden, I want you to know that sometimes I want to let my heart respond instead. If I did, I'd shout "It's not fair, is it Aiden? I'm so sorry sweet boy."
I so hope that one day you will learn to love your differences the way I do. To understand that the unnatural curves of your fingers and the wideness and asymmetrical lines of your face make you YOU.
But also know that it is okay to be angry sometimes and NOT like being different and to yell and scream and wish it away. I will be here for you in those moments to lift you up. To remind you that so many people love you and have been inspired by you. That your mommy and daddy love YOU more than anything in this world.
In the meantime, I'm still learning the right words to say. I'm fumbling a bit as I figure out this new part of our journey where holding you and drying your tears will no longer cut it. You are going to want answers. This time, you will need to know "why".
I wish I could tell you why, sweet boy, I do. But I can't.
What I can do is tell you how we will get through this and all the challenges ahead.
With love. Because love? That comes easy and will never falter.
I love you baby. Be strong,