The Bigger Picture

The Bigger Picture

“There is a bigger picture to all of this.”  These are the words a good friend of ours said to me that truly gave me something to think about.  He unknowingly changed our very perspective of all that was happening in the moments since finding out about our child being cleft affected. His name is Adrian and he is the father of three beautiful, smart, funny and silly girls! They are all different but I believe they all share the same heart.

After enduring a weekend of unending sadness and overwhelming information about bilateral cleft lip and palate I had to return to work. I knew I would be bombarded with questions about the ultrasound and the sex of the baby and I simply was not prepared.  I have always believed that honesty is the best policy and I was prepared to be honest about what we learned. I just didn’t know how I was going to be honest and composed because I was fairly certain I would be crying before having to even utter a word.

Adrian was first in and being the good friend he is I think he just knew. He knew something was not quite right about my demeanor and I must have looked like I was trying to hold myself together, which I without a doubt  most certainly was.  He came over to me and simply hugged me. He didn’t say anything. He just hugged me. I had no idea how much I needed that hug and it was as if he was helping to hold me together. It didn’t work though because that simple gesture had me doing what I was trying so hard not to do and that was to start crying and not stop.

He let me cry and he never asked me anything. I finally began telling him what happened at the appointment and what we had found out. He let me cry and when I was almost finished he looked at me and said some of the most awesome things to me. He told me that it was all going to be okay and that this baby would have his surgeries and he would grow up and he would be this amazing person because he had all of us caring for him. He told me that I needed to see the bigger picture of all of this. That what was happening to us, this baby growing inside of me was such a miracle and that so much more was going on. That this baby was growing a heart, a brain, lungs, kidneys, a liver and fingers and toes and hair and skin, eyes and ears and that just knowing that all of that is happening and continuing to happen is amazing.

And you know what? He was right. There was so much more work to do for my baby. So much more growing and so much more of his health that I needed to focus on. We would deal with the cleft lip and/or palate and we would continue to take care of whatever this baby needed but I needed to take care of myself and I needed to make sure that this baby was getting the best chance possible.

I held onto his words of wisdom. I look at my son and I see that he has these beautiful hazel eyes with naturally curled lashes, wavy hair that has a mind of its own and a spirit that is larger than his small body can contain. His smile is fiendish and makes me laugh because I can see the wheels churning away in that amazing brain of his. My friend was right. There was this bigger picture. I was having trouble seeing it but he reminded me that it was there and he did point me in the direction of being able to look toward it. I’m grateful for his kindness and his perspective for it gave our family something to think about.

When you are feeling overwhelmed with information and the thought of having to be all alone in this consumes you, remember that there is a bigger picture and look to that. Because this right now is not going to be your forever. It’s not. You have a great deal more in your future and moving towards that with your new little family is a journey you are not going to want to miss. Especially that first smile. I promise you it will be worth it and you will love that little face of theirs.

I live in SoCal with my husband and two kids. Love reading, writing, being a foodie and coffee aficionado. I support other moms of cleft affected children. Our family is continuing along on this journey and we seek to help other families navigate terrain we've already covered. All Smiles is what we want for all cleft kiddos!

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