< Part One >
I’ve been mourning you from the moment that I found your imperfection.
It’s hard to outwardly say that. What will others think? Will I be judged?
My vision of a perfect child was born, in my mind’s eye. He was born before he was even conceived.
My wife and I would talk about all of the things he/she would be, we’d picture what he/she would look like, and we had even mapped out the path we thought he/she would take.
But my perfect child never arrived.
My son was born with a condition called Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome (BWS). There are many realities that make up BWS, increased cancer risk, macroglosia (large tongue), abdominal wall defects and so on.
For anyone that has ever had a child diagnosed with anything, you’ll probably understand, my perfect son didn’t exist. We, my wife and I, cried; we mourned.
Our son was born imperfect. His imperfections were here to stay.
Life would never be the same again; we became very familiar with the children's hospital. Weekly visits became our norm, and our medical knowledge grew.
I felt robbed.
Even now, when I think back to that image I had of what parenthood would be like, I grow angry, sad.
I talk to my wife about being robbed of my perfect imagery.
We talked about more children; we talked about how we wanted to know what it was like to have what others seemed to have.
Please don’t misunderstand, I love my son; I adore him. He’s one third of my entire universe.
So it was about six weeks ago, that I finally laid the idea of my ‘perfect’ son to rest.
He robbed me.
He stole my moments by constantly reminding me of what could have been.
He kept me away, locked me up, and trapped me.
My ideology, my perception, my hope, my dreams, robbed me from my moments with my imperfect son.
I fathered like any father would: my son got the best care, my attention and my love, but he was imperfect because my perfect son remained in my head.
That perception needed to change.
For me, my imperfect son WAS AND IS PERFECT.
He taught me that we need to be grateful for our imperfections. It’s our imperfections that craft our lessons. They develop our strengths. They mold our courage.
If the ‘perfect’ child that I had dreamt up all those years ago had actually been born, what would I have lost? Who would I be?
Would I be as compassionate to my clients as I am now? Could I have understood their challenges? Would I be that #FitDad posting videos exclaiming to the world how easy it is and how we can all continue life obnoxiously healthy and carefree?
If I could, I would change my son’s challenges in a heartbeat. But that’s not the reality. So I accept OUR imperfections. I will wear them with pride.
Be careful of your desires of utopian imagery, for they restrict your vision, they stop you seeing the perfect reality. They haunt you. They hurt you. They make you think and act imperfectly.
Whilst they live in your mind’s eye, they have the potential to hurt others, as that’s what happened to me.
Mourn your utopian imagery if you need to. But lay it to rest.
Let it go.
Jordan, father to two perfect boys, husband to one perfect wife.
Jordan, perfectly imperfect.