Perfection

When you have a child, that child is perfect. Not in the literal, Merriam Webster sense of the word, but in the foggy lens of parenthood sense of the word. You look at your child, and everything about them is just as it should be.


When I look at both of my kids, they are perfect to me. When I bring Eli to the doctor for his check ups, his pediatrician tells me how wonderful he looks. She tells me he talks well, and he's growing well, and she will see him in a few months for his next regular check up.

When I bring Henry to the doctor, it is much different.

The specialist that we are seeing will ask me how Henry is doing. I will tell him or her that Henry is doing well. They will run some tests, or pull out some lab work, or take a look at him. And then explain to me that, in fact, there is a problem.

No matter how many times this happens, my heart still breaks a little.

I look at his eyes, and they are perfect. They have big, long lashes and they are starting to turn hazel, just like mine.
The opthamologist looks at his eyes, and notices that there is something wrong with his eyelid. He tells us that it could be a brain tumor pushing his eyeball forward.  A second opthamologist tells us no tumor. We are so relieved! Instead, he says, his eyelid is "deformed". My heart breaks a little.

I look at his nose, and it is perfect. It is small, cute and looks exactly like Eli's. It squeaks a little when he sleeps, like an adorable snore.
The doctor looks at his nose and asks why Henry hasn't been to an ENT yet with such terrible congestion? She tells me he sounds "pretty bad", and my heart breaks a little.

I look at his mouth, and it is perfect.
The therapist (including the therapist in me) looks at his mouth and notices that his upper lip is too short for him to close his lips. This makes it harder for him to eat and babble. It will likely making drinking harder, too. The therapist tells me how cute Henry's lip looks regardless.  This softens the hurt, but my heart still breaks a little.

I look at his ears, and they are perfect. Small and very kissable.
The audiologist looks at his ears and tells me she can't get any vibration from his eardrum when she measures, and that he likely can't hear anything below a conversational volume until his ears are managed "more medically". I wonder, how many times did I whisper "I love you" or tried to comfort him quietly and he never heard me? My heart breaks a little.

I look at his chubby arms and legs, and they are perfect.
The endocrinologist looks at his weight, length and thyroid hormones and tells me that Henry will likely need Synthroid daily for the rest of his life to control his weight and to make sure he is gaining enough vertical height. My heart breaks a little.

I look at the soft skin on his chubby arms and legs, and it is perfect.
The phlebotomist looks at him and remarks how difficult it is to "stick him". I hold him down while two of them argue over whether doing the bloodwork is a good idea or not. They do it afterall. They remark about what a "poor bleeder" he is. They always walk out of the room before I can even get out of the chair with my sobbing infant. I tell him how brave he is and smile a big, wide grin at him until he falls asleep. My heart breaks a little.

I look at him, and he is perfect.
The cardiologist looks at him and tells me he has three holes in his heart, an enlarged liver, and fluid around his lungs. He tells me Henry is in Congestive Heart Failure at just a few months old. I hold his hand during chest x-rays, echocardiograms, and EKG's. Henry goes on Lasiks, and luckily it works. There is still a chance he needs heart surgery to fix his  heart. I'm grateful his heart is showing signs of healing, but mine still breaks a little.

I long for the days when I walk in to the doctor, we smile and chat, and we walk out knowing everything is great. I will never take those appointments for granted again.
And although my heart breaks for Henry, I do know that I am still lucky. My son is alive, and still relatively healthy. I try to keep that in perspective because to me, he is still perfect.

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