He was the first child to deal with my little-c blood antibody that caused him to be dangerously anemic in the womb. So we induced. We waited. And he took his sweet, flipping, painful time. I played the role of Jekyll and Hyde in labor controlled by exhaustion, pain, emotion, and joy. All of it. Husband’s collar in the grip of my white knuckled hand. All of it. It was epic. (maybe not to the nurses, those sweet, sweet nurses. wahhh.)
Then. He was here. Beautiful, plump, orange, crying, and at first glance, OK.
One afternoon I noticed a small, very small, red mark on his little forehead. I figured he had scratched it. No big deal. Within a week the very small mark was not so small. It was red-bright red-so Josh and I tried to pop it. As you do.
We learned later, one should not pop a growing red bump on a child’s forehead. Especially when that bump was a birthmark called a Hemangioma. Very common, these birthmarks are filled with BLOOD.
So it bled. And bled.
Then it grew. And grew. And grew.
At it’s largest, it looked like this:: BOOM! (but look at how sweet he is)
:: Backing up to-well my entire life-Courtney Michele Misener has had moments of vanity. Many, many moments of vanity. So having a child with a bump that is screaming at people on his face is not conducive to my desire for myself, and all things belonging to me, to look fabulous ::
We decided to treat the Hemangioma with a blood pressure medicine, (that is the going treatment now) per medical advice but the side-effects of the drug made Liam NUTS- which made me NUTS- and for those of you who know our story, I was pregnant again, so that means REALLY NUTS.
His birthmark was violent on his sweet little face. Big, so red, intrusive, just ugly. There is no sugar-coating the reality that the birthmark was loudly ugly. But Liam was not ugly. He was (is) beautiful.
Of course, we eventually embraced it as nothing more than just a birthmark. When out and about questions were a given. The asking never bothered Josh and I. In this world we push people to mind their own business when something odd catches an eye. What we learned was the alternative to the question asking was usually just staring. Come on’ that is always awkward. Why don’t we talk anymore? Is it out of fear of offense? Yes, it is fear.
So questions never bothered us. Often parents who had children with Hemangiomas encouraged us that it would eventually shrink, and told stories of their children and treatment options. Most of the time these birthmarks are not treated if in a cosmetically favorable place. Which is not over the eye.
Josh had fun with it- telling kids he was bit by a spider and others ‘wait, you see something on his head?’ The reactions were priceless.
One afternoon while waiting to check out a woman in line behind me started praying aloud for healing. Like, really loud. I was into it though, because I thought it would be crazy cool to see it disappear in front of my eyes and I was impressed by her boldness. Who ACTUALLY uses the name of Jesus in public anymore? Standing applause, lady.
It didn’t disappear though. Not because Jesus didn’t want it to. Just cause. It’s not killing him. No healing needed really. Just a mark.
And that’s the thing isn’t it? Aren’t we all marked with something ugly? Something emotionally ugly, something outwardly ugly, an ugly characteristic, an ugly experience? Something has marked itself on us, grown and grown and bled all over us or in us and then we are left treating and patching it up, or covering it up. Or hiding it.
Wonder if we saw it for what it was? Just a mark.
I know this may make some of you shift, arguing that Liam’s birthmark is beautiful and part of who he is.
I think Josh and I would politely say, sorry, that just isn’t true. Liam is hilarious, loud, energetic, stubborn, loud, rough, smart, curious, expectant, goofy, loving, and loud. Did I mention loud? Liam is my second-born son with blonde hair and blue eyes. Liam makes me dig deep to find self-control and patience. DEEP.
Liam is absolutely, undeniably, beautiful.
But his birthmark was not. And we treat it like it is no big deal. Because it isn’t . They say it will disappear or flatten one day. Even if it doesn’t, we have decided it doesn’t matter.
Because it is a small thing that we gave undeserved value to. How could his birthmark be his plum line for value when he is so much more? How could it, and only it, define him as special and beautiful and different? How could it define him at all?
You and I – we are so much more than the ugly things that mark us as well. And all of the undeserved value we are giving those things is draining the beauty from who we really are. All of us, not just the things that mark us. We are complex, and tested, and beautiful and different.
I think I have said this before, but largely my blog entries are written to myself. Life has marked me harshly both physically and emotionally. All that ugly in bad decisions, relationship fall-outs, harmful words, forgotten promises, depression, all that ugly bleeds out in my brain sometimes. Usually I just want to drink, something very strong, to patch it up.
But then I think if I just keep talking to Jesus about it, he will start to fade the mark. Some overnight, some he is still fading. I just keep talking. ‘Cause that is how I process things. Writing is just another version of talking.
This Jesus, this Bible, it (he) says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I don’t even know what fearfully made means but wonderfully I can grab on to. Wonderfully, not perfectly, not spotless, wonderfully. Filled with wonder. A work of a God that can seem so far away, and then in a second, invade my space with peace and hope. I am wonderfully made. You are wonderfully made. Happy Dance.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ~Psalm 139:14~
Actually, I think I will go dance with Liam now, you wonderful people. It is just a mark. How can it have value or define people who are fearfully, and wonderfully, made? Just a mark.
Oh! and Liam’s birthmark has faded so much! We found an Essential Oil that took it from AGHHHH to NBD. (No Big Deal)
Um..you know we are gonna listen to ROAR now, right?
Hooking up with other Jesus Storytellers over at http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com and #tellhisstory
I hope this post does not ruffle feathers debating if people with abnormal or different physical characteristics are beautiful. I could not agree more. I believe beauty is a combination of all moving parts both inward and outward. I didn’t want my son to be identified by his birthmark as a baby, I wanted people to know him as a person, and I want him to know who he is absent of his physical appearance. Amazing.
Loving onelyric?? Well then hang with me on FB!! Look it up!