Thursday, February 7, 2013

My son's journey

Reese was born on April 13, 2001. He was 9lbs 14 ounces and 21 inches long. He had his first major surgery on September 19, 2001 (8 days after the twin towers fell). He had over 11 surgeries now to repair his bilateral cleft lip and palate. 1/500 children get this birth defect but it is still unknown exactly what causes a cleft to not bind together like normal at the 11th week of gestation. I didn't care, I fell in love with this face. 

The first time I was able to hold him I thought to myself, people are staring, how can I show them I love him? I held him close and kissed him on the cheek. His smell was unlike anything I ever smelt. I can't describe it because my second child didn't smell like that. But his scent lasted three days. It was during those three days that was critical for both of us. We had established that bond in those three days. Good thing cause his own father left us because he couldn't handle the situation. We both have his last name but that is all he gave us. But he gave me my son who gave me hope.  We were alone and I was 21 years old and terrified. But we had each other and I couldn't give up. Reese was counting on me to help him through this life.

My son is thriving despite being made fun of, being peed on, being the brunt of many jokes. All he wanted was friends. It killed me to see friends come and go. But slowly as he started to find his interests, his value of friendship changed. He knew he was a loner so he just started to do what he liked. The weirdest thing happened. He got treasurer for his 4H club. 

He learned how to ride his horse 'really fast'. :) 

He's learned to have self confidence. He's not angry, he's not mad, he's such a sweet boy.

This is Reese before his last surgery in Aurora in 2012. Just think...only 8 more surgeries to go!

He makes me laugh. He always is trying to be a jokester!

But above all...he is strong. Stronger than I will ever be. He pushes through surgeries as though they were just another day. Then quickly asks for ice cream....chocolate of course.

He doesn't let a disability get in his way. Here, he proudly displays his two ribbons he won this week for his speech in 4H. He was against 12 other kids, four of them were seniors in High School. My six grader beat them out to win grand prize for his speech on, 
"Steam Locomotives on the Logging Railways." 

He has been in speech classes since he was two. I didn't know if he would win or fall flat on his butt cause the judges couldn't understand him. I was nervous for him. 
We were driving and I said, "It's ok if you don't win." 
He replied, "Mom, I can at least get a participation ribbon!"
I nodded and smiled hoping he would get something more. Third..please third. 
I get a text from the event (parents weren't allowed to watch)...
"He won!"

Damn right he did...He's amazing. It's about time people started seeing it too.

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