Many of you know that our son, Judah, has PFFD, which accounts for his leg length discrepancy. Explanation of that is for another post at another time. But for now, I just want to share part of my momma heart on it.
Most of the time, I think nothing of his differences. It’s just normal life. People often tell me how amazed they are by him. Don’t get me wrong – I appreciate those comments, and I am incredibly thankful that he can be an inspiration. What an amazing gift, and a way he is already impacting the world, before he even means to. But internally, I am always kind of surprised when people say things like that. I mean, he totally doesn’t know any different. He learned to walk. Just like other kids. Sure, he learned differently. Believe me – I get it. But really, he doesn’t get it. He just learned to walk. None of us treat him any differently. I work with him on teaching him how to go down a slide…just like I worked with my other kids to teach them how to go down a slide without slipping or falling. I absolutely love that Judah is growing up with this, rather than having gone through a traumatic experience and having his leg taken away that way.
I don’t bring that up to deter people or say that I think their comments are weird. I bring it up to say that I don’t get super emotional about his leg and situation a lot. Honestly, you wouldn’t either if you lived with it day to day. It’s just how things are! BUT, there are times I do get emotional. Like right now.
I’m writing about this for a few reasons. One, it helps my heart to spill. Two, I want you to recognize that when life gets to be a lot and you feel emotional, it’s okay to feel those things. Let it out, and then hand it over – completely – to our Good Father God. Three, if there are any other PFFD (or similar) families out there who read this blog, you are not alone. The online community I have found has helped me, and I hope this post encourages you too.
So, here it goes. Currently, there is something that is making me feel hot tears well up behind my eyes, just ready to spill out at any moment. It’s that toe. Oh, that sweet baby toe.
Excuse the bad photography and old pictures (he is almost 2 now!) But he’s asleep and I’m not about to wake him for a picture. 🙂
This is my baby’s foot. He has two toes. One of these toes has bones, but the other one doesn’t. It just hangs there. It does have feeling, it does have blood flow, and I do have to trim that sweet toe nail. Various people – medical and otherwise – have flippantly suggested we get rid of it. I shut that down quickly. I’m not sure why. But I love that toe. So much. Maybe it’s because I feel he has been deprived of so much, that I can’t fathom taking away one more thing. I kiss that toe. It is part of my baby. I feel momma-bear-ish about that toe. I get that that makes no sense. I get that the toe doesn’t help him. But I don’t care. And I’ve decided that I’m allowed this illogical request, to keep the toe. The interesting thing was, when we finally got to talk to Judah’s orthopedic specialist about the future, at around 10 months old, he didn’t even ask to get rid of the toe. He said we would leave everything as-is unless a problem arose. I know he was talking about joint surgeries and such, but the toe thing was in there too. Understood. He’s seen enough momma hearts, and didn’t dare take this away from me. I couldn’t handle it then.
But a problem has arisen. No, he hasn’t pulled it off. No, it isn’t getting caught on things. You would be surprised how strong that little thing is. However, last week when I removed his prosthesis and sock, his little tiny toe was swollen and almost purple. I always pull that little toe out to be even with the other one while he is wearing his leg, but for some reason, this time his toe had been stuck backwards. His foot and the prosthesis were allowed to put pressure on it this way, and basically cut off some circulation. It kind of freaked me out, but I decided it was a fluke. Well, today the same thing happened again. I’m not sure if the toe was twisted weird, or turned the wrong direction, but it was swollen and almost purple, and Judah was grabbing it and saying, “Ouch” as it started to regain its color – you know that feeling when some part of you was “asleep” and you didn’t realize it until you moved and it started to wake up. My heart sank. It’s time to get rid of the toe.
Thankfully, I’ve had time to get used to his reality. Taking away his toe is not going to be a big deal in the long run. He will never remember he even had it. But even typing that makes the tears well up in my eyes. See, he loves that toe too. He plays with it, as if for security, when I hold and rock him. But it’s time to let go of this thing. This thing that is unnecessary. This thing that once was security for both of us, but has now become a problem. The thing that once was harmless, but now sometimes causes harm. It’s time to let go, and move on, and trust God to take care of my baby and my heart.
This all may sound a little silly to you. But I think in some way, at some time, we have all been able to relate. We have all had things in life that seemed harmless – maybe they were even gifts from God, good things. But then they started causing problems. Maybe we put too much attention on the gift, and not enough on the Giver. Maybe we have found our security in the wrong place. Maybe God is asking us to let go, move on, and trust Him to take care of us, and our hearts.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:18
Much love to you as you search your heart, checking to see if anything needs to be modified. We’re all in this together.