"Does it bother you when people look away?" my sister Jess asked after carrying Porkchop through Costco one day.
Adults have a harder time with it than kids. I love the kids' reaction to Porkchop. Everything from "Your baby has a hole in his face." and "It's okay, I think he's still cute." to "I'm sorry for your baby" and "Does it hurt him?" Kids make no presumptions. They just call it as they see it and they are just okay with it all.
Adults have a harder time. It makes them uncomfortable. They don't know what to say so instead they look away. They pretend not to see him. Or they feel the need to make me feel better. This is the worst. While I know people mean well, they really just don't know what to say. So they say things like "They can do amazing things now!" or talk about their cousin's dog groomer's son who had a cleft lip/palate and now you can hardly tell! They ask me when we'll get it fixed and "how soon can they make the repair?"
See, here is the thing. Sure it was a bit of a shock. No it's not a beautiful thing to watch him sneeze a concoction of denture adhesive and cottage cheese. And I admit it looks a little funky. But I'm his mama. My first inclination was never, how soon can we get this fixed? But rather, is he going to know I love him exactly the way he is?
I came across a forum where a mom talked about missing her baby's cleft. Weird! But I get it! (Cuz I'm weird!) Everything we have done up to this point- the appointments, the tapings, the appliance, the pumping. EVERYTHING has been to improve his outcomes. And yet I sit here bawling like a baby because she was right, I'm going to miss this little face.
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