A Small Fact:
I am one who tries to find the beauty in everything…
I hardly ever tell this story, but when friends ask me about the lumpy scars on my neck, my hands, my ankles and feet, I have no choice but to give in to their curiosity. I never tell them the full version. I've never told them about what really went on under the greenish lights of the hospital. In fact, the only people who truly know what happened on the night of my birth are the ones who were there; my mother and father, their parents, my aunt and her three boys. There was a priest too, and doctors and nurses and other little ones who were also clinging to life.
I hardly ever tell my story. I don't like being seen or talked about as if I'm more valuable than everyone else. I've been told several times, however, that it's a story that needs to be told.
So, here it is.
August 11th 1996
I didn't cry when I was born. My mother couldn't hold me. There was no happiness. There was only fear.
A nurse rushed all 1 pound 7 ounces of me to the ICU, where I was placed in an incubator and put on a ventilator. As I lay there, hooked up to wires and monitors, the doctor who delivered me talked of my condition with my family.
I was given less than a 10% chance of survival. My grandmother was devastated. My father and grandfather rushed out of the room in search of a priest. My aunt and cousins were crying. But, my mother stayed calm. She was strong for me as always.
On that same night, a priest, Father Peacock, was found, and I was sprinkled with holy water and baptized.
My family was anxious, praying over me. Again, my mother was calm.
"She's strong." she said. "She'll make it."
That night, despite doubts and fears of everyone around me, I lived.
This gift of life is not without struggle. Hardships come with the package. After 22 years, my sight began to fail me. My retina detached in the summer of 2018 and I went legally blind in March of 2019, despite six major eye surgeries.
My speech has failed me for as long as I can remember. Despite several years of speech therapy, I continue to struggle with talking to others. And, my delayed development has put me behind other adults of my age. But, within my hardships, I've found beauty. Since losing most of my sight, I now see beauty in the smallest of things. With the help of glasses, I can enjoy a ladybug crawling across a leaf, a single blade of grass shimmering in the light of the morning sun, the reflection of a cloud in a puddle of water.
Today, I find myself appreciating the very things I used to ignore. My trouble with speaking has brought me a gift for the written word, which in turn, gave me a purpose. Out of everything I am, being a writer is what I am most proud of. And, probably the most impactful, my delayed learning and development has blessed me with the mind of a child. At 24 years old, my imagination never stops and my heart is always full.
If you were to ask me if I would change the circumstances of my birth, if I were given the choice to go to Heaven or live life in a world that sometimes brings hardships, I'd choose life.
Because perspective is everything and life is beautiful.
I was born the exact size of a dollar bill.