Friday, October 7, 2016

What a Little Perspective Will Do

       After little sleep from the night, the alarm went off at 4 a.m. My husband and I scurried to take showers and head out the door to CHOA for our son's cleft palate surgery. As we made our way through early morning traffic, we sat mostly in silence. My heart was pumping and I felt complete anxiety over knowing my son had a big operation in front of him. At only 11 months of age, this would be his second surgery. Jonathan has struggled through this first year of his life learning ways he can eat with a cleft affected lip and palate. The surgeon said his palate is wider than most cases he's operated on and will take more work at fixing it. Nonetheless, we had been waiting and anticipating this surgery as part of his long journey he will face being born with this birth defect.

     Not much talking was happening between my husband and I in the car. I felt far from cool, calm, and collected. Will it hurt badly when my son recovers? Will the anesthesia work all of the way? Will he be okay? All sorts of thoughts came across my mind.

     Just as expected, we arrived on time and checked into the surgical waiting area. As we sat there looking on to our smiling son, I glanced around the room at the many children in pajamas and comfortable clothing waiting with their caregivers for their name to be called. Many little ones were fussy and tired. Part of their fussiness was the rumble in their stomachs from not eating for so long to prepare for the anesthesia. A little boy near us kept waving to Jonathan. He smiled so sweetly and his parents smiled along with him.

     As we exchanged smiles, we began talking with the little boy's parents. They were waiting for their son to have a surgical procedure. He was born with cystic fibrosis with a life expectancy not to exceed past the age of 40. As the parents discussed this child's condition, my heart sunk. Sometimes, God brings into our life people who have trials much bigger than our own. It takes a little perspective to help us realize that what we have on our plate in front of us could be much harder to deal with than another issue.

     God was testing me that day as I sat there in that waiting room. There were children with spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and others with down syndrome. To put it bluntly, my son's bilateral cleft lip and palate sucks. It's a huge challenge we work with each day. But at least we know there are ways to repair it. At least he can walk, talk, and do other things with his life. He may live until his 90s or he may pass away for another reason tomorrow. However, there are parents out there living and knowing the clock is ticking fast for their children. They know their children may never grow to experience certain things in life because of their conditions.

     Perspective can do many things for us. It helps us to realize that we can make the most of each day when we realize each day's potential. It helps us to remember that our faith in God should be bigger than the fears that surround us. It helps us to open our eyes with empathy and take a walk for a moment in someone else's shoes. Let me challenge you today to live with a perspective that allows for growth in your faith and hope for the future.

     As I write this today, I want to bring awareness of World Smile Day. There are children and even adults that were born with a cleft defect. However, they don't have the funds to repair it. Organizations such as Smile Train and Mia Moo Fund help to provide the needed funds to assist in those needing repairs. While my son has been able to have the surgeries needed so far, my heart breaks for those who haven't had that chance. We've experienced very challenging feeding issues this past year. Thankfully, we have had the chance to improve those conditions for him. Please consider looking into one of these organizations and get involved in some way. Because as you know, every kid deserves a smile.

Every Friday, the Five Minute Friday writing group sets their timers for five minutes and starts writing with one chosen word. This week, I wrote a bit longer including two weeks worth as I started on this last week and never had a chance to finish. This is a great community to join. Anyone with a blog and a desire to write may join. Come check it out at


  1. Praying for your precious family today! Loved that you tied in World Smile Day - can't wait for you to see your son's new smile!

  2. Beautiful! A friend's son was born with a cleft lip and palate. He had the surgery and now you can barely tell. Praying for Jonathan's healing.

  3. You have a beautiful family. Cleft palate surgery can make such a difference in a child's life. Thank you for sharing and for stopping by my blog.

  4. Carrie, my prayers are with you and your son. The 'World Smile Day' picture is charming, and will stay with me.

    I don't much smile, much less laugh. I was a security contractor for many years, and saw things that I would rather forget - and can't. So the picture of you and your boy is something of a symbol to me, of that which I lost...and that which I fought to defend. And a lot of guys I knew and loved are lying in the weeds, having given all in that defense. Remember them sometimes, please?

    God bless.

    #2 qt FMF this week.

  5. What a bittersweet story! I have often been stopped in my tracks by a big gulp of perspective.

    Just 2 weeks ago, I was grumbling about everything I needed to get done and how I couldn't seem to make any headway because someone was always interrupting me or needing something from me. Then, in a short amount of time, two different situations were brought to my attention that made me blush with shame for my petty complaints.

    Stories of severely disabled children who will require full time care for their entire lives and of teenagers who have decided to go their own way and separate from their loving families slapped me back to reality. There is so much I take for granted!

    I love your pictures of Jonathan! He is so adorable. I will continue to pray for him and your whole family as he journeys on in his recovery.

  6. Your journey with Sweet little Jonathan reminds me of my journey after Micayla was born. Perspective really does help. I'm so grateful God showed up that morning the way he did for you. A child's smile is a BIG thing! Praying along side you friend. God is good!