Wednesday, June 27, 2012

14 years ago today my world changed forever.*I* changed forever. I went from a mother whose children were perfect, the smartest, fastest, brightest, future superstars to the mom of a child whose future was far less certain. They laid a baby on my chest who looked at me with her curious almond-shaped eyes and almost begged me to love her, regardless of her differences. And I did.

Me, who was terrified of "different". Me, who once used the "R-word" as a joke. Me, who could not see the beauty in the little ones with Down syndrome who had come into my life along the way, almost as though they were preparing me for the biggest job I would ever have. Me, who was forever comparing those very children to my own, and always found them lacking somehow. I was about to be humbled, dissected, and rebuilt. And in that process, my perfect children were about to gain even more perfection, they were about to learn unconditional love. It was a lesson we all needed. Did you know that in the original Wizard of Oz book, the tin man actually started out with a heart? In fact, he was wildly in love. But a witch cast a spell on him that caused him to hurt himself, over and over again, until he had lost all of his limbs, and had to have them replaced with tin. The tin man believed that this made him stronger, he was like a machine, and unstoppable. But the wicked witch cast another spell that split him in two, and tore the heart from his body. Still, he believed this made him stronger, because he didnt have to feel, didnt have to care. But he knew something was missing, and even with his invinceable body, he craved a heart. His body became rusty and old, and he longed to love again. Dorothy and the Scarecrow found him and took him to the Wizard of Oz to get a heart. Along the way, the Scarecrow and the tin man talked. “I shall ask for brains instead of a heart,” said the Scarecrow, “for a fool would not know what to do with a heart if he had one.” “I shall take the heart,” returned the Tin Man; “for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.” Indeed. When they arrived, the Wizard of Oz said to the tinman: "As for you, my galvanized friend, you want a heart. You don't know how lucky you are not to have one. Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable." Said the Tin Woodsman: "But I still want one." In many ways, Ciarra is like Dorothy to me, leading me to my heart. Taking me back to when I was young, before judgements and bias clouded my vision and stole my heart. The world is like the Scarecrow, trying to tell me that heart doesnt matter, that brains are all that count. Like the Wizard, I know that having your heart laid open for the world to see is painful, and that being this open to another human being will leave me vulnerable and scarred. I still want that. I am like the tin man, regaining myself piece by piece, allowing myself to learn to see what matters, searching for what is real and important and vital to life. The rust is falling away, my heart is open, and I have learned that it doesnt matter what the world thinks or wants. The only thing that matters is love. "You DARE to come to me for a heart, do you? You clinking, clanking, clattering collection of caligenous junk!" why yes, yes I do. Happy Birthday Ciarra Nichole. Thank you for teaching me to see past all the things that dont matter. Thank you for bringing back my heart. Ciarra Boucher is 14 today. <3