Friday, April 27, 2012

In the Blink of an Eye...

6 Months- Awaiting his cleft repair at Scottish Rite Children's Hospital

May 5, 2002- a precious baby boy came into my life. He was amazing! Some of the bluest eyes I had ever seen and the tiniest baby I had ever held. But I knew immediately something was wrong because instead of letting me hold him right away he was whisked away to be examined. My life was flipped upside down and right side up and a little bit sideways. He had been born with a unilateral complete cleft lip and palate. Let me explain this in terms you can understand- from his top lip, through his gum line all the way to the punching bag in his mouth, was open the width of my pinky. He had no left nostril and what he has now has been surgically designed. Doctors gave us all kinds of warnings and unwanted diagnoses: he "has" Down Syndrome (he didn't), he will be learning impaired (this is laughable- he wasn't), he may be deaf (while he doesn't pass many hearing tests he is not hearing impaired), and string of he may not do this or that or he won't ever do this or that. All the while Dr. Young and Dr. Kadum took my hand and said repeatedly, "He is perfectly fine other than the cleft."  

As we prepare to celebrate his upcoming 10th birthday tomorrow, I'm reminded of those dreaded early days with a smile on my face. Those doctors were wrong. Ryan is absolutely perfect. Sure our road has been long and we've got even more surgery ahead of us but they were wrong!

There was a time in Ryan's life that I wondered if he would go to school, go to college, play sports, etc. The early days I had been scared. But you know what, he is smart, kind, wise, and an athlete. We talk often of the possibility of Ryan playing ball at the college level. I beam with pride during these conversations because there was a time early on that these dreams weren't even something on my radar. I thought we'd be doing good to teach him the alphabet. HA! I under estimated my God in a big big way. Ryan wants to reach for the stars and I encourage him to not limit his dreams.

The tears burn my eyes as I think how fast the next decade will go and that before I know it Ryan will be graduating from high school, heading to college, and having the time of his life. But as I welcome this new decade and I say "goodbye" to the past 10 years, I encourage Ryan to seize the day and enjoy his life- remembering who he is and whose he is.

Ryan,  Happy Birthday week! Let's have a ball!

Dear Ryan,
It's hard to believe that we are celebrating your 10th birthday. I'm not sure where the time has gone. As I think about your life, I am so glad to know you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior. I'm thankful you are loved by so many people. I  am thankful that you are secure in who you are. I hope you know that when I say "I love you, no matter what" that I mean I love you without a doubt no matter what you do in and with you life. You are a very special boy to Brian and I. I know life has dealt you a stack of cards that's different from all of your other friends but you know what, you handle it with maturity and a wise spirit. You are a very amazing young man.  I am so thankful that God chose me to be your Momma.  I love you to the moon and back! I hope turning 10 is a time you'll remember. It's a big deal! Double digits!

Happy Birthday!

I love you- always and forever-