Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

September 30, 2013

itsy bitsy spider

For most parents, hearing their little munchkins running around singing a little song is something so common that one would be tempted to ask them (in a kind voice) as them to stop... We however are not most parents. We have heard Josh humming, but never have we heard him sing a song with lyrics. Today though things changed. Today as Josh was getting his shower (post hair cut) we had the utter joy of listening to him sing (with words and proper tune) 'itsy bitsy spider'. It was so normal that I almost didn't notice it, and then I put the scissors down (I was cutting Kapers hair) and listening in awe. Just one month into his new school and Josh is singing! My heart started singing in that moment. I find it amazing how the mundane can so quickly become a joy in the right circumstances.

This week I have noticed a few things, minor things really but improvements. He tells me about his day, fights with Kaleb over who will tell me first, he asks us 'how was your day?' when he comes through the door. The progress is slow... but then it always has been; but in the last month I have seen change and with that change has come a new hope. My prayers for him have always been for total healing, heart & stroke alike. I pray that one day he will stand before a crowd and speak (perhaps through his work, or maybe to tell his story, or it could be a message to his new bride on his wedding day) and he will speak so clearly that no one will ever know what he has achieved through hard work, patience and God's healing hand. That is my prayer for my son. Total healing. It's the reason why I rest my hand on his head each night and silently pray for the brain to heal, for new pathways in the brain to form and it's why when a therapist tells me that he may never 'speak normally' or 'may never gain his word retrieval back' I simply nod.

This God we serve, he has done infinitely more for Josh than I could have imagined, and through our son I have learned so much more about God than I dared dream. He has taught me what faith is, and how sometimes all it takes is a mustard seed.

(Josh - who was supposed to be in bed - just came down to use the washroom. When he finished he ran back upstairs singing that little song again... so beautiful)

September 20, 2013

post op terror

After every surgery that Josh has had we have noticed three things.

1) He comes home and the first night, sometimes two nights he is elated, smiling A LOT, thrilled to be out, energetic to the point of dangerous (wanting to jump off beds 5 days post op).

2) Day 2 or 3 he becomes moody and depressed, realizing I guess that the pain wasn't left behind at the hospital.

3) after a month or so, when everything seems to be over, when the pain meds are no longer needed, when the energy has returned, when the dark cloud has lifted... the nightmares begin.

After surgery number 3 those nightmares lasted for over 7 months, it seemed endless, we were exhausted, we had tried all the tricks in our arsenal, nothing worked. The fear had a name we discovered... it was a red dragon. In the end we got a sword and slayed that dragon.  It took some time, and we slayed a lot of those pesky dragons but eventually the night terrors ceased.

Josh, now almost two months post op has begun to have the nightmares again. 2 or 3 a night. I have tried all the tricks used before but so far with little to no success. We pray nightly for 'no bad dreams' but it doesn't work. He has even taken to making a bed for God beside him so that God will be with him all night, but still the dreams persist. He wakes up night after night, running into the hall screaming and inconsolable, and I won't lie it breaks your heart.

I am not sure what else to do for him, they say that a lot of patients that have been on bypass have nightmares post op, but they don't tell you how to help them. He won't talk about it during the day, and this time he won't tell me what it is that he's dreaming about. I can't help him and that's the hardest part of all this CHD mess. Looking at a child that you love so much it hurts and seeing terror in their eyes... there are no words to describe how gutted it leaves you. Long after he's gone back to sleep you are still lying awake waiting for the next round to begin.

I have come to know many of my readers, and I know that many of you are praying people. Please, pray for Josh to find peace, rest, pray his nights are filled with good dreams and that this post-op horror ends quickly.

September 19, 2013


When I was a young girl I imagined that life would be like a Disney movie. I would wake up one day and my fairy godmother would turn me into a princess, perfectly dressed and waiting for my prince to place a glass slipper on my foot. The older I got the more I realized that it may not happen the way I had dreamed of. I had been sure that God had the perfect man chosen for me, that he was waiting for me, that someone out there was 'the one'. I searched for him in ever face I saw and even thought a few times that I may have found him.

I have now been married for 6 years and change, and what I have learned is that life is not a Disney film. Love is something that happens over time, true love is what you find when the squishy romantic feelings fade, when life gets hard and there is someone standing beside you at the end of the day offering a shoulder to cry on. Love is what happens when the bills pile up and you have someone there to strategize with. Love is what happens when you haven't slept in months because you have a new baby who demands all your time and energy. It happens when you look at the person you have promised your life to and they don't need you to say a word, they just know what you need. Love, love is cleaning up the kitchen for you in the morning before you wake up so that you have a fresh start on the day. Love is bringing you a cup of coffee to your bedside table when you have been woken up through out the night and can't seem to muster the will to get out of bed. Love is coming home to find a clean home, dinner laid out, kids bathed and entertained, love is forgiveness, compassion, creative, hopeful, changing, dreaming. Love is faithful regardless of feeling, it's action in the face of inaction. Love is commitment, love is a choice.

Love grows, it doesn't fade. It's work, often hard work. It is depth, intimacy, knowledge of the other persons flaws, it's acceptance, and it's at times painful. Love is a seed, it needs warm soil, sunlight, and constant watering to grow. Leave it undernourished for too long and it begins to die. Love is action. It's thoughtfulness. It's hope where there seems to be no hope, faith and belief in you when you can't have faith in yourself or belief in yourself. Love changes you. Love changes your dreams, it is selfless, it hopes for only the best of your partner, it is protective, it can be fierce. Love stands by your side no matter what, not because it has to, but because it chooses to because love is a choice. Love is waking up in the morning and saying 'I choose to love you today', It says 'I know we are having a hard time right now but I choose to work through it with you', Love is saying 'I made a commitment to you alone and I intend to work at it until I die.' - and at the end of the day, if you continue to choose that love, to work out that love, then it grows deeper, more intimate.

Tim and I loved each other deeply when we married but when I look back on that day and think about how I felt then compared to how I feel now I am amazed by the capacity that my heart has to love as fully as I do. It's grown so much deeper than I ever imagined it could. He has stood beside me when the worst that life has thrown at us threatened our footing, he's held my hand and kept me standing. Together, through the fun and easy, the happy and joyful times, together in the heart wrenching moments, the tough calls, the sleepless nights, the worry, the anxiety, the fears... He has never wavered. Everyday he makes a decision to love me, to stand by me, to lead our family into a place of wholeness. Everyday he works to make this home a happy and healthy one for me, and for our boys. He is not prince charming, he's not some hero that God sent for me alone; but he's my miracle, my blessing, my best friend.

I thank God everyday that Tim chooses to stand by that commitment to love me, I am not always easy to love. I aim to teach my guys how to be men like their Dad, not the hero's girls are told will come and rescue them from their ugly step sisters and give them a life as a princess, but men who will stand beside them through whatever life throws at them.

Sunshine call

We are in week three of Josh's new AMAZING school (Bloorview School Authority - attached to the Bloorview Rehab hospital). I have to tell you, I never dreamed that it would be as great as it is. I knew it would be good, but the little things they do to give us added comfort with the care and teaching that Josh is getting just adds immeasurably to my total belief that this school is the best place for Josh, and that when he completes the two year program he will be leaps ahead of where he is. Prayerfully even on target for his age!

The first day of school, the teacher, who knew that I was a little worried about him taking the bus, called me mid morning just to say that he was doing okay. She has phoned me a number of times since to ask questions, give reports and follow up. I have also spoken with two of his therapists (Physio & Language) who have done the assessments and started working on their goals. It is such a weight off my shoulders to know he is FINALLY getting the care he needs.

Today I received my first 'sunshine' call. A sunshine call, I have learned is a phone call from the teacher to report that your child has met one of his therapy goals! One of the many issues with Joshua is his legs, they are curved in such a way that his hips are turned in, causing him to walk a little like a duck, add to this they tip toe walking and we have a number of problems, frequent falls, tight muscles, high tone and trouble doing things that other kids find natural. For example. Joshua has long struggled to ride a bike. His feet won't stay on the pedals, so we have had to get foot plates for his bike which we then 'tie' his feet into. It works, he can ride the bike (particularly now that he has the energy to do so). The biggest problem with foot plates is that if he falls he is 'tied' onto his bike and can't get up on his own. I spoke with his therapist and asked her if we could make one of his goals riding without foot plates. Today, my sunshine call was to inform me that he did it! He rode all through his mobility class with NO FOOT PLATES! The teacher called and when I told her to tell Joshua that I was very proud of him she called him over and put him on the phone so that I could tell him myself! How awesome is this school? This teacher?! He was so happy, so proud! He told me 'I went so fast!'. Now the hard part is going to be slowing him down and I have to admit... I don't mind one little bit!

This school is just one more daily reminder of the way that God is looking after Josh. I will never forget the day we drove up there for the interview. I prayed all the way there 'make me hate it Lord' because I knew that getting in would be a very long shot. Instead, I came out of there totally in love with the program and totally discouraged at the same time because the principal had told me that there were only 100 spots, and there were applicants from across Canada and the US. It all boiled down to who the other applicants were, what there needs were and if they were compatible with Josh. I didn't think we stood a chance. The day we received the acceptance letter was the same day that learned that he would need a fourth surgery. I had been so discouraged and getting that letter, on that day, seemed like God offering me hope for the future.

Today, when I got that sunshine call I wanted to cry with relief, not because it's a huge deal that he can ride a bike with no foot plates (though I guess it is) but because we are only at week three and already we are getting results. The biggest issue is his language, and I still pray for that daily... but I have a feeling that if ever there was a place that could help him, God has brought him to it.

September 17, 2013

the raw truth

The plan was to read a few blogs and hit the hay for the night, but I guess I hit on the wrong blog, or maybe it was the right one. I am not sure which yet.

This post is me, me being as honest as I can be and I have wanted to write it for months, maybe years even. I have kept it hidden in the deepest parts of me, believing I was wrong to think it, wrong to need it, I have been eaten with guilt, that I am a horrible, selfish Mom who makes things all about me. That is the lie that I have been sitting with for a long time, and as the last few months of played out, the lies have become stronger as the desire grows in me to say the truth. Then I read that post.

A woman writes about how her husband had an accident, he was left with severe brain damage, he changed, they nearly lost it all, he was angry, depressed, tried suicide, all because he had damaged an important part of his brain. Needless to say they were on the verve of losing it all, the house, the business they had worked hard for years to build. She was at the end of her rope and doing her best but it was cutting it. Her husband would have some lucid moments, when he would 'return' and in one of those moments she shared with him the truth of their situation. They were desperate. He quickly went and put all the vehicles on the large front lawn (they lived on a farm) with a giant sale sign. Not long after that he received a call, not from a buyer but rather a neighbor who called to berate him about the way the 'sale sign and items' made the property value drop, he threatened to call the police if he didn't take it down and so and so forth. The husband, still lucid, sad quietly listening. At the end of the call the husband responds with this, " “Sir,” he said, “There was a time in this country, in this community…when if you drove past your neighbor’s house and saw every single thing they own was for sale in front of their house…and that their lawn had not been mowed for weeks….that you would stop and say….WHAT IS GOING ON, SOMETHING MUST BE TERRIBLY WRONG, WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP YOU?”... the man was quick with an apology, and offer of help. That's the gist of the story. That's not was evoked such a raw emotional response.

Through out the posting she talked as well about wearing signs... 'I haven't eaten in 3 days', or 'my child has cancer', or 'I am doing the best I can'... this went on. She talked about wishing that she could wear a sign, one that read 'my husband is recovering from a brain injury, and under all of this he is amazing and my heart is broken, please be gentle with us'

I wrote a few posts back about Josh's scars, his proof of life. Through out that post there is a second post, one that is read between the lines because I just couldn't bring myself to write the words for the world to see, not when I couldn't even say them out loud to myself. I feel like though Josh fought that war, he battled through that pain, it was him on that table, it was him who was forced at 6 months, 2 years, 3 years and 5 years to be braver than I have ever dreamed of being, it was him who toughed it out through literally hundreds of different appointments, therapies and tests. He's the hero... he wears that badge of honour... but I wish I had a sign too, a scar, something that could tell the stranger 'my son has a broken heart, and it's breaking mine. Be gentle with me'. I don't want the sign so that I can get special treatment, or recognition... but there is a part of me that feels very alone in a crowd some days. All the faces in the grocery store, all the strangers I pass each day, they look at me and yet they can't see me, they can't understand what has happened in our home for almost 6 years. Just as I can't possibly know what they would write on their own sign. It feels selfish, it feels wrong and guilt over these thoughts has been eating at me for YEARS. It was Josh's battle, God's victory, I was merely the cab driver. I don't want this to be about me... that's not what the sign is about, I just want (for me, and for others who feel the need to hang their own signs) for the world to see those signs and be more compassionate, more patient, more 'gentle'.

Great destiny?

C.S. Lewis once said 'hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny' and I believe that in many cases he is right but I think too that hardships can refine you, shape you, not for some 'great' destiny but rather simply to make you into a better version of yourself, the version that God created you to be.

I have been told that God has a reason for Josh's struggles, for our suffering while we walk him through these years and there is a part of me that really longs for that to be true, I want to believe that God has some HUGE future for Josh, something so amazing that all of this will be worth it. I want to look back from that place in the future and see a reason, to get the answers to the tougher questions that I have had to ask God. However, I have to wonder at what our idea of 'great destiny' is, and is it compatible with what God sees as a 'great destiny'.

I was thinking about Jesus this morning, here is a man who was born in a stable, with the stench of cows coming on the heals of his first breath on earth. Here is a guy who had to work for 30 something years as a lowly carpenter, hands full of splinters and hardened by years of blisters. Here is a guy who, when he finally got to work (full time) on his 'great destiny' was laughed at, ridiculed, tormented and eventually tortured and killed. Yet, he had the greatest purpose in all of time, his story has passed from generation to generation, his accomplishments and teaching cross all religions, have shaped culture and law, even if you don't believe he was the son of God, you know who he is, you have heard of his teachings and you most likely (at the very least) believe he was a good person, with good morals and maybe even a prophet. His 'great destiny' was unmatchable, yet my guess is that at the time, when he was bent over the rough table, sanding it smooth, he didn't look much like a guy who had great things ahead of him.

Of course, I realize that he is the son of God, so to compare ourselves to him is a mute point; however, it does raise questions in me. What a 'great destiny' is to God, is not necessarily stardom, riches, success on the corporate latter, it's not wealth or fame, it's not incredible talent or brains. My best guess is that it means, humbleness to serve, love to reach those in need across the oceans and in our own back yards, compassion to forgive those who have hurt us and those we love, and when the day is done, words that give only God the glory for all that he has done in our life. How do we achieve this 'great destiny?' I believe that one of the ways that God leads us there is through hardships, just as the late Mr. Lewis says.

September 16, 2013

How or What to think?

We send kids to school at 3 years old, we expect them to learn things that we ourselves didn't learn until we were 5. As a Mom I have looked at my youngest and thought, he doesn't know his alphabet yet?! What have I done wrong?! Josh, he knew his alphabet before he could say a full sentence (literally!).  Why is one kid learning and the other one isn't? What did I do differently?!

Then I thought back to my days as a school girl. I HATED school, I was terrible at it and got easily bored and frustrated by the lessons I was supposed to learn. Was I stupid? Not at all! Was I made to 'feel' stupid... most definitely! Why? All because I learned differently. I could read a chapter about science 10 times and walk away without a clue as to what I had read, but if I did an experiment on the exact same thing I could tell you all about it. I was a hands on, visual learner in a system built for readers and listeners. Joshua, like his Dad before him, is a reader and listener where as the Kaper is more like me.

Today at Kaleb's school, I noticed that they had made a mistake (see above photo) when painting an alphabet caterpillar on the ground where the kids play. You hop from A to Z, from the tail of the caterpillar to his face; hopping from A to Z on a caterpillar in the playground is much more likely to teach Kaleb the alphabet than sitting him down with a book about it. Does it matter ultimately if the order of that caterpillar is wrong? Who decided where the Y goes anyway? Why can't the D be the last letter of the alphabet, and the Q be the first? Who chose the right and the wrong way to teach, and to learn? Now. Please, don't get me wrong. I believe that there is a rhyme and reason to things and that we should teach our kids the alphabet properly, not because I think it makes a difference in how they will eventually learn to read but because I think he will be made fun of or look stupid if he were to recite it wrong, or God forbid he one day chooses to be a painter and paints a school yard with the giant caterpillar and the letters are in the wrong order. :) I guess my point is... will learning things differently really change the scope of what they learn, or, could it be, that if we took into account how each child learns individually we could actually teach them more, bring more out of them, teach them how to learn, not what to learn.  I hope I am making sense here...

Let me say this. I was speaking with a Mom last year who was frustrated because her daughter was being taught the answers, answers to be memorized and known but she was not being taught how to come up with those answers on her own, she wasn't being taught how to learn, how to think, just what to think. By taking religion, politics, social issues out of the classrooms, by leaving no room for open discussions (for fear of being non-politically correct) kids are not learning HOW to think for themselves, how to articulate what they think, how to listen well to other opinions and share their own opinion in a safe and free way.  We have kids who are being told WHAT to think, WHAT to learn, how to behave to be 'normal', we aren't teaching them HOW to think or learn.

Let me also say that I believe that the home is a valuable space for this, I am not ruling this out. I just wonder at a society so bent on freedom that it is actually the exact opposite of that. As a Christian my thoughts and views often 'offend' and therefore I am the one who is 'wrong' or not 'politically correct', I am the one who often fears sharing my opinion because I will most likely be viewed as wrong. (Not that God called me to be politically correct, nor comfortable for that matter. I was called to live for him, worship him and serve him. That's it. Not to judge or abuse, not to hate or placate.) As a society we have set into play a new system wherein we are not 'tolerant' of anything but what society says we should be tolerant of. We tolerate certain things but we don't tolerate the 'other opinion' on the matter at hand. We say we accept ALL, but we don't do we? If we are truly honest with ourselves.

So, wow! From a mistake on the playground to politics in the space of a few paragraphs. This is what happens when you give a Mom too much time to think in a day. :) I would love to hear the opinions of others on this.

I want to raise my boys to learn how to clearly state their thoughts, to hear what others have to say and listen without judgement yet stand firm by their own convictions. I hope to raise my boys to learn HOW to learn, however it works best for them, I want them to be able to 'figure it out' and not just recite it by rote. I hope that one day, when they are older they will be able to say what they think without fear, that the tides will change where we aren't ruled by 'correctness' but live in true freedom. 

September 11, 2013

Not to act is to act

Today, for obvious reasons the Western media, and those affected by what happened on September 11 2001 will look back 12 years and relive some of the most horrific scenes in recent years. I don't want to spend time today doing what every other media outlet is doing, I don't want to go back and rehash that day. We have all seen the footage, we have all heard the heart breaking stories. Instead I had some questions about the future, and I warn you, this may be offensive to some of my readers, please know that I value all opinions and only attempt to share mine.

In 1988 while the west slept peacefully in their beds bombs were flying in a town called Halabja, a Kurdish town about 8 miles from the Iran border. Then the 'chemical rain' began to fall. Over 5000 Kurdish men, women and children were killed and over 10,000 maimed. The perpetrator? Saddam Hussein; in his quest to wipe out the Kurds from northern Iraq he committed acts of war that once upon a time we said 'never again' to. Genocide.

The reason this particular event sits so well in my heart right now is that personal. Right before Joshua went into his surgery this past summer I was contacted by a woman who was reading my blog all the way over in Iraq. She wrote and told me about the project that she and others like her were working on. It's called the 'Preemptive love coalition'.  (more to come about this organization in the weeks to come). They are seeing the effects of the 'chemical rain' even to this day in the children that they bore post attack; birth defects are abundant there. Why is this so personal to me, because there are thousands of little boys and girls with birth defects, and many of them have heart defects. Almost all of the surgeons have fled the country, there is very little to no help for these kids. Unlike my son who was blessed to be born in a country, a city, where we can get him the help he desperately needs for his life saving surgery, there are mothers and fathers who are burying their kids for things that here would be a day surgery. It makes the 'heart mom' in me ache to think about those kids, those parents going through what we have gone through with next to no hope to cling to. How does this have anything to do with today? What does this have to do with September 11th? As I read the news today I am reminded that we went to war because there was a 'threat' of chemical weapons.

Today as we take the time to remember what started this particular war with 'terror' I ask that you also remember that years before 9/11 ever took place there were entire towns destroyed, villages wiped out, families obliterated and the reaches of those bombs have now killed into the next generation and threatens even more children, more families.  we stand in the place where we should have stood in 1988, we have a choice. We can act to save this heinousness from happening to anyone else, or we can stand silently by and watch. I am not normally a believer is war, I tend towards pacifism  Then I see what happened in Syria, I look 24 years into the future and I see the children of Syria bearing children with heart defects, and other known birth defects; If of course, they can bare children at all. I look into the future and I see more horrific events like the world trade center, I see more death, more destruction and many more tears. The enemy is real, there is no question that it is real and all politics aside (I know there are many issues at play here) I say that we should remember the holocaust, I say we look at the photos of the 6,000,000,000 Jewish people who were murdered while the world for the most part remained silent.

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

September 7, 2013

a million moments

It's raining out, the kids are playing quietly upstairs and Tim's in his office working, so I am enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee and taking some time to think about things.

On Wednesday last week I took my baby to school for his first day of JK. He went in really well, and with relief I walked away from the school. I had really thought he would give me a hard time over it but other than a little shyness he seemed to take it all in just fine. I on the other hand, got about 5 houses down the street when it hit me fully. My three year old, is in full day JK! How did that happen? When do they go from being tiny little creatures who need you for everything, into little people with opinions, and voices, kids who can dress themselves and feed themselves and not need you every second of the every day? Little people who can be left in a building in the downtown core, without their Mummy but rather strangers, and not cry and scream and pitch a fit?

Now, for those of you who think I am a total mess over this, let me assure you... I am REALLY loving the time to myself. The house is cleaner this week, I've had a lot of great work outs, and I am finally getting some actual work done. This is all good, and I don't take one second of the time for granted (not yet at least). However, around 2:00 every day I start checking the clock, wondering if it's time yet for me to go pick him up; missing the tug on my leg, the sound of his voice telling me some inane thing that he feels the need to share with me or the feel of his arms when he is needing a snuggle.

Life is suck a paradigm of desires, you always want something different from what you have, never satisfied with the here and now. You are pregnant and you can't wait to hold you child, you have the baby and you can't wait until they are sleeping through the night, they are sleeping through then night but can't feed themselves, they can feed themselves but they drive you nuts because they are always around you feet and you can't get anything done... and then BAM! Before you know what's happened... they are in school and you are alone during the day wishing you were awake in the night, holding them, feeding them and singing them a lullaby again. You look at their dirty clothes and skin when they come home from a day of school and you remember how it was only yesterday that you had a lavender scented infant in your arms, his dark eye lashes resting quietly on his cheeks, his thumb planted firmly in his mouth and his ear pressed up safely next to your heart. Everyone always says 'enjoy it, it goes so fast' and you hear it, you want to do take their advice and you do your best to be there in the moment, but life moves quickly sometimes and you find it hard to stand still, savor this moment, this hug, this kiss, this laughter, this new step into manhood.

I don't know how my new born baby boys turned into school boys... it's happened overnight and it happened in a million tiny moments, a million touches, a million kisses and that is something I will cherish for all my days. I can't stop the hands of time from changing, I can't stop my babies from growing up, nor can I clip their wings, as much as I hate the thought of them needing me less I know that the less they need me the better I am doing at my job. Today, is a day for me to collect a few hundred more tiny moments, kisses, touches so that tomorrow, when they are grown I can remember all of them.

September 6, 2013

Proof of Life

Summer is at it's close, the months of endless days have turned into full days of school for both the boys and for the first time in a long time I have both time and internet (finally!) to begin blogging again. It's been a long and at the same time very short summer. June and July seemed to drag along and then all of a sudden it was August and now here we are in September a full five weeks post op. It's amazing. 

On August 28th Josh went for his one month post op ECHO. The results were ASTOUNDING! The doctor smiled and said that the regurgitation is so mild that it's almost not worth mentioning, and the valves are not leaking. Just a month and a half ago Josh couldn't walk to the park without needing rest, last Monday we spent the entire day at the Island where Josh walked, ran, played with his brother & friends; not once did he ask to be carried, not once did he say he needed a rest, not once did I observe him and feel the quaking fear that comes with knowing that his heart is failing. He's eating more than ever before, and now, just a few days into his new school he's a happy energetic little boy. 

Scars tell of a battle fought and won. They emerge in a red, then white, often jagged line across the wounded area. They shout out to those who see it “Look what I have been through!” and “Look what I survived!” I remember the first time Josh went into surgery and right before they took him in I traced my finger down his still perfect white chest and I ached that it would never be perfect again. I mourned that loss long before we went into the OR that day. No longer would people look at Josh and say ‘He looks so perfect’, instead they would see the line, or zipper as it’s been named in the CHD world. That feeling when I look at the scar has changed over the years, gone is the mourning, the sorrow and the fear that someone will stare, that feeling has been replaced now with one of pride because it screams ‘I survived!’ at me with every glance of his still beautiful skin. I hope to teach him to take pride in his battle scars; I hope that one day they will embody for him all that they do for me.

I was in a plastic surgeons office a few weeks ago, I have to have a biopsy done (nothing crazy serious) and so I met to him to discuss the surgery. As I sat in the office I noticed all the posters for creams that promise a miracle cure to making scars invisible, the doctor himself talked to me about what my scar will look like, and promised to make it look good. I almost laughed because it was so in keeping with my thoughts of late. I remember after my first C-section I was so upset about the scar, it bothered me horribly but after my second C-section I realized that it was proof of life. Proof that my boys came from my body, that I carried them, nurtured them and gave them life. I have never thought too much of scars, they were something that happened over the course of a life, but lately I have noticed that scars almost always come with a negative connotation. The bad guys in the films almost always have scars, beauty is rarely seen in them and yet I look at Josh and I don’t see an ugly red/white line. I see the symbols it represents, the bravery, the fight, the healing heart beneath. When he looks at the scar, the same one that has often caused him shame; he now declares ‘I have no leaks, see!’ and pulls up his shirt for you to see.

I look at Joshua’s marred and yet beautiful chest and I see the same thing I see when I look at my C-section scar. Proof of life.