Let me introduce myself! I go by mommy, mom or babe. Before I became those names I once known as just Kassie! I am a wife to a wonderful man named Max. He is my best friend…. well actually my only friend I don’t have much of a social life. We fell in love at a young age and were blessed with three very energetic boys. If you were counting, yes, I am outnumbered by boys…. they keep me on my toes almost always! Nothing new, I am an only girl in my family. I guess I am just meant to have only sons. 2 out of my 3 sons were born with Bilateral Cleft Lip and Palate just like me. Got that right the 3 of us are “Clefties” along with my mom. In my family Cleft lip and Palate is nothing new to us. I guess you can say it’s a blessing in disguise. It took me 28 years to realize it. I used to think growing up as a cleft was hard. The multiple surgeries, frequent ear infections, constant doctor appointments, being taken out of class for speech therapy (I always felt singled out in front of my class as a kid) the list goes on. The crucial part of it all was being different and having the world to see it. Luckily, I had my mom to relate to as I grew up. Unfortunately for my mom she didn’t have anyone. Her family tried their best to make her feel as if she was one of them. Here I thought growing up with a cleft was tough, man was I wrong. I soon learned it is more difficult having a child with cleft. Watching them go through the struggles. I can recall my mom trying to give me talks as a child of how it is a possibility that I can be a “Cleft mom.” For some odd reason, I felt in my whole being that it was not possible. It’s not that I think having a cleft is bad, I just know the difficulties of it. There is not just physical pain but also emotional as well. I gotta say kids can be pretty mean. Am I right? It’s not their fault they are just kids. Being a girl is hard enough, adding different physical appearance can be a little more of a struggle. At the age of 20 we welcomed our first son. Kaison, he was born with Bilateral Cleft Lip and Palate. 7 years later we welcomed our youngest son Kylan who was born the same. We had two very different and crazy experiences. After all each child is different, especially their personalities… that’s for sure. To be completely honest this journey has not been easy. I have had countless pity moments of crying and questioning “why me?” I found myself angry at God, saying “it wasn’t fair.”. I’d ask him, why do I have it harder than most. I’d even find myself envious of others. I would judge some people, and tell myself they are not better than me, so why did I get this card handed to me. Yes, I am human and I am most definitely not perfect in any shape or form. We all have our moments of lows and we are allowed to. We just can’t stay in those moments. We cannot unpack there, we gotta kick ourselves in the butt and keep on pushing. I have finally learned to love all challenges I am handed regardless. I also grew to be thankful for my struggles because they have made me who I am today. When I think of it now, I am glad I was born different, I believe that somehow my physical difference has opened my friends and family’s hearts and mind. I am hoping that I can help others who has a Cleft or is now a parent of baby/child with a Cleft as well. Having a cleft is not bad, it has its struggles that comes along with it, but it will only make us stronger. As Connor Franta would say, “Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.”