Your Story: Jenny Howe
Categorized in: Beauty In Difference
Author: Jenny Howe
Bio: Most importantly, I’m a mother to two pretty incredible kids; Abby (13) and Deak (9). Professionally, I have a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Psychology and have worked for 15 years with children who are at risk within either the juvenile justice system or school districts. I love to spend time with the people I love, listen to music and watch football. The best part of life is being inside my home with those who hold my heart.
“He is Deak”
When Deak was born, I wasn’t allowed to see him for some time. I had an emergent caesarean section and he was rushed to the NICU at birth. Feeling groggy and exhausted inhibited my general nature, and although my heart was glued to what was happening with my newborn son, I didn’t speak up like I typically do. After some time and a move to the recovery room, my doctor came to check in with me.
“Jenny, have you seen your son?”
My heart sank. It was hard to find the words to ask if the child you gave birth to a matter of hours prior was surviving.
“I have not yet. No one has taken me there.”
The doctor immediately rushed to my hospital bed, turned down the breaks and apparently very frustrated, pushed me unannounced into the neonatal intensive care unit.
There were several doctors and nurses gathered around. They looked up when they heard the door open and saw that it was me.
One of them said aloud, “This is the mother” with an undertone of sympathy I’ve learned now to accept and expect when others don’t understand.
The group stepped aside. I couldn’t walk yet, my legs still numb from surgery, so I was left at the mercy of anyone who would bravely allow me to get closer.
I saw several cords hanging from machines into the little plastic crib he was lying inside of.
Then I saw him.
I didn’t see the cords anymore. I didn’t care about the sullen eyes from others that glanced away as I looked at him for the first time. I didn’t see Ring 18.
I saw my son.
And he had blond hair like me.
And an oval face shape like me.
And the most beautiful eyes I had ever laid my eyes upon.
I saw pink skin and curved lips and full cheeks.
I saw that he was fatter than his sister was when she was born.
I saw my son.
And nothing else.
My heart burst with gratitude and love for this little human being that was alive and breathing.
And I’ve never thought differently.
Did I grieve the loss of “normal?” A little. But, mostly I love the abnormality he brings to my life.
Normal doesn’t get to walk a little more slowly to stay beside a stubborn boy learning to walk independently at the age of 9. When you walk slowly, you feel peace. I get that.
Normal doesn’t get to sit at a restaurant and eat a burger with an incredibly happy boy ensuring the entire place knows just how damn good that burger is. When you enjoy the simple things, you feel joy every single day. I get that.
Normal doesn’t get to carry a 65 pound squirrely boy to bed as he wraps his long arms around your neck and open mouth kisses all over your face. When you sacrifice your comfort unconditionally, you feel love that is so completely genuine it is indescribable with words. I get that.
So. My son. The one I laid my eyes on amidst stares and whispers and doubts.
He is my son.
He is the absolute light of my life.
He is not Ring 18.
My son is stubborn, kind of lazy, prefers to play video games rather than play outside and thoroughly enjoys tripping people when they least expect it. My son loves to belly laugh at his own jokes, listening to hardcore rap music at an extremely loud volume and singing along with his mama. My son has eyes that can stab you right inside your soul, hands that are best felt inside of yours and a heart he carries on his sleeve.
He is not defined by his limitations; he is defined by his character.
He is Deak.
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