I’ve been debating about sharing this.
I guess because I feel ashamed about it, even though I’ve dealt with this type of situation all my life. I thought things would’ve gotten better dealing with grown folks.
Recently my boys told me about a child who made a remark to Kaison no one has ever said before. This was his first ever. If you are new here, Kaison is our eldest son is Cleft affected, as well as our youngest son, my mom and myself.
When the kids told me about this incident, that’s when I decided to share my story with them. First let’s get to Kaison’s unfortunate moment. Just before winter break a friend of our 2nd son Mikel was introduced to Kaison by their cousin.
We all know children can be pretty blunt…. anyways. The boy looked at Kaison and with no hesitation or no thought he blurted out, “he’s ugly.”
I knew this day would come eventually. Kaison is 9 years old and this is his first time dealing with this sorta thing. He is a lucky guy I have to say. In all the years of him going to school no child has made fun of him.
The worst for him is, others asking him what happened to his mouth. If you’re cleft affected you can relate to how hearing those words can bother you. Even though no one ever means wrong by it, they’re just curious.
So back to the story, as my nephew told me the story I was so proud that he stood up for his “brother” (they call each other that), and pointed out that was not nice. Mikel later said the boy is no longer his friend… I was proud by their approach of the whole ordeal.
As they were talking I could see the embarrassment, and the hurt in Kaison’s eyes. I’ve been there, felt those same emotions, in fact I felt it 4 days before hearing this story.
I could not bring myself to share it, but seeing my boy sad I felt the need to. I tried cheering him up and apologizing for all the rude and ignorant people he will be running into the future. I tried explaining that those who don’t know how to react properly can hurt our feelings. We just have to know who we are and know we are loved and adored by way more people than just those few.
Unfortunately, he still could not bring himself to smile. I was hurt by the fact that he questioned me if he really is handsome. For a mother to hear that, hurts to the core because we see beauty in our babies.
That’s when I decided I had to share my embarrassing moment.
So I did…
Just before Christmas I was out scrambling like a crazy person doing my shopping VERY last minute. While shopping at Target I could over hear a conversation just a few feet away from me.
There were three young women, beautiful I might add. They were in their early 20’s. With my husband Max standing far away from the crowd I heard one of the women say, “that is rude!” For some reason my stomach started to turn. I had a gut feeling I knew where the conversation was heading. As the second woman tried to continue talking the third woman asked, “what did she say?”
The first woman replied, “she’s talking about that lady’s mouth.” I felt humiliated. I tried my best to play it off, but I could feel my cheeks heating up. My palms were sweaty and my eyes started to fill up with tears. But I held it together and walked away. I felt like I was in elementary school all over again.
In that very moment, I had wished to be a turtle so that I could hide away in my shell. I tried playing it off like nothing, but after that I felt like EVERY person I passed was staring at me. I kept asking Max if there was anything on my face. I was paranoid that they were all staring at my mouth.
The feeling of insecurities overwhelmed me. I wanted to go home and call it a day. Except it was just 2 days before Christmas and there were no presents under the tree. I thought to myself
FUDGE my life!!
But of course what kind of mother would I be if I can’t practice what I preach to my kids every single day. You can’t run away from your problems. Always face it. I told myself I have to be that strong, confident woman I want my boys to see. Otherwise I’d just be a fraud. I just have to say I am just glad my boys weren’t there to witness it, I don’t know how I’d react.
Of course our spouses knows us best so I had to fess up to Max and tell him about it while in Target…
Over the years I developed “blinders” I don’t notice the stares that we get. Sad to say Max does… It was a hard adjustment for him when Kaison was first born. He usually catches the looks first and gives it right back. That’s our protector. He vows to not leave me in an aisle alone ever again…. Gosh I just LOVE his heart! If only the rest of the world could not be so shallow and cruel.
As for having a protector near us unfortunately we cannot have that at all times. Therefore we just gotta thicken our skin and remember who we are.
I could see the tears building up in Kaison’s eye as I shared my story. I held back my own tears. I did tell him words will hurt no matter how old we are. And sad to say grown adults will be immature just as a child. We have to be strong and remember who we are.
I try my hardest to be this confident woman so my boys can feel comfortable in their own skin.
Even if it’s a BIG FAT LIE
It has been the hardest show I put on all these years. But it’s working. My boys are happy with themselves. They don’t think of themselves as “different.” I wish I had that growing up. We must be on the right path. As for me… I’m still trying to love myself for the way I am. Its tough. Being “broken” all these years, it takes time.
Regardless of all we have endured, I am thankful. Things could be worse.
I am happy for the life lessons my appearance has taught me, I’ve learned to be humble and I’ve seen our family and friends gain so much life lessons as well just from our differences.
Hope you didn’t mind my rambling, just thought I’d share a bit. Till next time…
Keep smiling & have a blessed day!!