Eight years ago, you came into our lives just a tiny 5 pound-something-ounces little boy, covered in scarlet fuzziness. I remember pulling off that scratchy cap they put on in the hospital so I could look at your pretty hair. I loved that I had a redhead.
As you grew, then came the looks and stares…the red curls, the big blue eyes, the ivory skin, the roundess of you. You were a beautiful baby boy. You were cherubic. Everyone could see that.
And then, when we found that you weren’t hearing us very well…we were unprepared for that. Unprepared for the emotions…sadness, anger, worry, fear, pride, joy, gratitude, jealousy…so many emotions that I went through over little you. And I felt ill-equipped to handle such a task as raising a boy with hearing loss.
But then, life went on.
So did I.
I learned that you are just a little boy, not unlike any other little boy. And what had I been afraid of, really? I couldn’t even remember anymore.
I learned that your hearing loss is a part of you…just like your hair, and your freckles. I learned that it is not really something to be sad over. I used to think that if I could restore your hearing, I would. Now? Well, yes, I still would, but there is a part of me that would kind of mourn losing that part of you. That sounds wierd. It’s complicated.
You have always been such a confident little boy. You just do your thing, and you don’t really care what other people think. I’ve wondered if maybe you are missing some of the social cues that force other children into conformity. Maybe that’s why you are so confident…you don’t hear everything… Maybe. But I think you are one of those rare souls that marches to the beat of his own drum. Maybe that’s why people like you so much.
From the moment of your birth you have drawn attention, without even knowing it. Even now, you don’t realize it. I love that about you, Henry John. I love it when I’m out shopping, all by myself, and I hear a little girl whisper “that’s Henry’s mom.” You remind me of your Gramp, the way everywhere we go, someone knows you. I love that about you, too.
I also love your freckles, of course.
And your hair.
The way you sing. Totally off key. All the wrong words.
The way you like to build things.
Your genuine nature.
Your beautiful eyes. You have your mem’s eyes.
I love that you are my boy. My Henry.
My Henry John.