About a year ago this time, Bryan and I visited a specialist to look at Binja’s foot. More specifically, his lucky foot. We were warned at that point that we had a long road ahead of us.
About the point Binja started crawling, we returned. What had once been a “what if” scenario involving leg-lengthening and bone-stretching was now moved up to “when”. Although the doc seemed to think it was unnecessary, I begged for Binja to have a brace made so that his foot could be stabilized and maybe the difference in length could be compensated. The doc relented and we had one made.
When he first got the brace, he just stopped using that leg entirely. It was hard to watch. But as time went by, he relaxed and got used to it. Then he was unstoppable. He was EVERYWHERE. In every room, at every bookcase, cruising at a speed that baffled me.
Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) asks me, all the time, when I’m having another kid. Kinda like my set isn’t complete until I’ve got a pair. Which is silly, I know, but I’m not sure I can definitely say one way or the other. And the big reason? Binja gets my full attention until we can get the foot thing taken care of. He deserves me fully-committed until the big issues are conquered. I have, many times, said “not until this one’s potty trained”, but what I really mean is “not until this one is walking on the lucky foot”.
We’ve gotten through this marvelously well, I think. We joke, perhaps wildly inappropriately, about his handicap. Hell, the day after he was born, his Uncle Kevin visited him in the hospital and declared that he’s got the part of Tiny Tim wrapped up. But behind our humor, there is always an ounce of fear and a pound of determination. We WILL get through this, Binja. You will NOT be alone in this. I’ve learned to say “My son was born with a foot deformity” matter-of-factly and emotionlessly, maybe with a tinge of compassion that, yes, I know this is awkward to listen to but yet I don’t need your sympathy, we’re fine, thanks.
And I can’t lie. There are still a LOT of times that I fear for him. Jesus. It’s hard enough being a mom, but being a mom knowing that your child has a handicap to overcome? And wanting to walk that line of tough love and letting him figure things out on his own but OHMYGOD wanting to protect him from all the evil and do it all for him? There are just not words. There aren’t.
My child (and my family) is blessed with having many extraordinary, loving people around him. I know that it will probably read “It takes a village” on my tombstone because I preach it at every opportunity, but I do so because I’ve seen the product of it. And it eases my mind tremendously to know that regardless of the world’s harsh climate, he’ll have a warm place to come home to.
And yes, in case you were wondering, there is guilt. Stupid, unfounded guilt that shouldn’t exist and I know that and is irritating all the more because of it. Guilt that I should’ve somehow known that his foot was growing wrong. Or, more astutely, guilt that I DID know and just brushed it off. I spent the last three months of my pregnancy pointing to one spot under my bra where I felt his feet never move. Permanently glued to that rib. And when I mentioned having another baby to Bryan over pillow talk the other night, he joked, “Why? Another broken foot baby?” And it wounded me terribly. He didn’t mean it that harshly, obviously.. a side effect of us making inappropriate remarks to get through it is not knowing where the callouses end and the flesh begins. But yes, I fear, beyond any science or reason, that it was a defect in ME that did this.
But enough of that. Ask me what I want for Christmas.
What do you want for Christmas, Sarah?
Today, my child walked. As if he’d been walking for months. My father stopped by while running errands, and my child walked circles around him. With grace and control and with two feet that worked the same way.
I am crying as I type this. I got my Christmas wish.