I have such mixed feelings about this — but I wanted to share anyway. It tugs at my heart a bit that my kid processes his experience this way — but I’m so proud that he’s not afraid to share it.
About a month ago my son’s leadership class was asked to share an experience with the school that they felt had a major impact on their life. Here’s his presentation at the student assembly:
“Many people have scars in their life that make their life change, My life changed about 5 years ago before i moved to Washington. Five years ago mom was diagnosed with pigmented villondular synovits, a joint disease that affects the lining in her knee and had developed a tumor. After she had it removed, she was pregnant with my little sister. She went into heart failure when she gave birth to her. She also has a mitral valve stenosis — a heart disease she was diagnosed with when she had me thirteen years ago. One of her valves is severely scarred and doesn’t function properly. Three years later she was diagnosed with lupus — a degenerative autoimmune disease that affects her joints and skin. After getting very sick, it was difficult for her to work at a regular job and she just decided to be a stay at home mom.
Eventually, my stepdad found a better paying job — so we moved to Washington from North Carolina. All the events leading up to the move have been very difficult and my mother and stepfather have had to make some really hard choices. During it all though, we have become a really close family. My mother has time now to take better care of her health and us. She even brought my two cousins to Washington with us so that they could have a better life too.
My moms illness, moving to Washington, leaving my friends and my grandparents, and my father behind in North Carolina has made a big impact in my life. I would consider these the things that have scarred me — but also made me into a strong person. My mom says her physical scars — on her leg where they took out the tumor, and on her heart where she had surgery — are where the light comes in. Now that we are all happy and healthy and in a place where we belong, I think the same thing about the scars these experiences have left on me.”
Phew. That’s my kid alright.