The fourth of July is always a special time for me. It reminds me of how blessed I am to have been born in this country. How blessed my son is to be an American. I know it is not like this everywhere. I have spoken with not only persons with dwarfisms from all over the world, but also with moms of children born with dwarfism. About two years ago, a woman emailed me after trekking for a couple of hours to the nearest missionary where they had a computer. Someone had told her that I had a son with Achondroplasia and that I was on the web.
In America, the mom’s realize after awhile that everything is going to be fine. Most Achondroplastic dwarfs do just fine once they get through their first few years. Doctors watch them closer during the early years for things like breathing problems, hydrocephalus, or cervical spinal cord compression. The least of their worries are getting their arms or legs to grow! I emailed information to the mission which growth disorder organizations offer and told her not to worry about her daughter growing. She was born with a condition which doesn’t require a “cure”. I told her to enjoy her beautiful toddler and to remember that it is normal for her to grow like all of the other Achons do. I did that knowing that in her country and in her village, she would not be accepted. According to the mission, she may even be considered cursed and ostracized. I did that because it made me feel better.
When I pushed the enter button, I closed communication with her and several others. I forced myself to say goodbye to scared new moms who were not as fortunate as I to have what we have in this country. I still have questions as my boy enters each new age. With every milestone, comes a chapter missing from the parenting books I have. What I do have are other moms to ask. More than that, I have a community of fellow Americans who are accepting and caring. My son has rights in this country. We have a wealth in this country which includes healthcare and education. My child will have the right to vote, to work and to choose where to live. We’ve taken what are considered luxuries in other countries and made them rights in ours.
While watching fireworks on the fourth, I always remember to look at him. There is nothing more beautiful on this night than seeing the lights from the fireworks bounce off of the faces of those you love. He will not appreciate this for many years still. But for me, everything about our celebration of continued freedom brings me back to him. On this night I will continue to ask God to bless my country and those who protect our freedom. I will make sure my son will know to be thankful as well.