I have a nagging worry.
A burning question.
I can't see the answer clearly because I'm blinded by love and devotion.
Something I wonder each and every day, every time a person looks at my family.
Can ya tell Zachary had a severe bilateral cleft lip and palate?
Can ya tell Jeremy had a mild one? Do people look at my children and wonder what is wrong with them? Do they even notice?
I have a double stroller with two babies and another kid standing in the middle of the two. And Zachary. His hair is like a spotlight!!! It's beyond blonde, it's almost white. It's next to impossible to discreetly go anywhere. People look. They stop to talk sometimes. I can talk the brass off a knob so I "talk" to everyone. I see them as they look at Zachary. That's when the dialogue that comes out of my mouth is dramatically different than the dialogue going on in my head.
It goes something like this: The part in quotations is the out loud conversation and the part in parentheses is the talk in my head.
"Are they ALL yours???"
"Yes, till death do we part" (OK, I see your eyes darting back and forth between Jacqueline and Zachary.)
"Wow, you certainly have your hands full!"
"LOL, yes I sure do" (You keep looking at Zachary and I can't tell if it's because you notice something different or if his hair has your attention.)
"And this is the big brother (look to Jeremy). I bet he's a big help"
"Yes he is, he loves his brother and sister and keeps them out of a lot of trouble" (Now you can't stop staring at Zachary because he's not old enough yet to know that you might be looking because he's different.)
"And look at you with that blonde hair!!!" at this time they will usually have bent down to get a closer look.
"We say his hair is that color because that's his halo that melted onto his head when he was born" (Do I offer an explanation at this point? do you notice? can you tell something is wrong and you can't figure out what it is? I feel that pit in my stomach AGAIN because all I want is for him to face the world w/ a face that won't be investigated.)
"Awww, that's sweet, he looks like a good boy."
"He is a fabulous boy, for everything he's had to go through and he has the most calm, friendly nature." (Okay, here I go, on with the explanation... CAN YA TELL????) He was born with a cleft lip/palate and has had some pretty extensive reconstructive surgery" (Yup, here's the look of pity, or is it a look of judgment? I swear I didn't DO anything to make him this way although I'll always wonder if the cough medicine I was taking before I knew I was pregnant did something or is it because I was older and had no business having kids or is it some kind of punishment for some long ago forgotten sin no matter how many times I tell myself I was actually chosen because I'm the best choice at this time for this child and can you see the anguish in my soul? Can you see how I would trade my own face for this innocent baby to have a normal life? CAN YA' TELL????)
"Oh, they can do so much now-a-days with those kinds of things"
There's more to the story...to read more, visit Colleen's blog entry at Can Ya Tell...??
Guest Blogger Colleen Salvato
Visit Colleen's blog at My Brother's Smile