You came into this world content and aware, as if you were armed with a secret we did not know. I think back to the first moments of your arrival and the weeks that followed and often wonder if this somehow is the truth. You came out so calm, peaceful, eyes glaring into mine, as if you knew exactly who it was you were looking for. You took right to the breast as if you had done it before, as if this world was not new to you at all. It was almost as if you knew I needed those moments of peace, those days of normalcy, instances of total perfection, before the truth about your life would rapidly be revealed to us.
As the days unfolded the layers that masked the hidden truth underneath your sweet perfection began to give away. Deep below the surface of everything we ever dreamed your life would be, lied a story that had already been written for you, the words so deeply etched into the pages they could never be erased. The reality so painful it shook the very ground we stood on, splitting it at the seams, a mirror image of the damage within our hearts.
You were only five days old when you first started to show signs of trouble. We wanted so badly to wish it all away, but it is hard to ignore a burp cloth stained with blood, and a baby whose lips are tinged with blue. Your breathing would become more and more difficult as the year went on, but the thing about you is that no matter how little air there seemed to be in the room, you always seemed to find my eyes. You knew I needed you to, so I could find my breath as well.
I have watched you overcome with more determination than anyone I have ever come across. Your quiet fighting spirit has brought you back from the brink of many disasters. Your huge heart keeps me grounded and fills up even the cracks of the broken pieces within mine.
I lost a small piece of my heart every time we thought mitochondrial disease might touch your life. Your were just a small being within my body the day we found out your sister might have it, which would mean you could too. You were not even a month old and had already spent nights struggling within the hospital the night we found out your sister did in fact have it. You were just a year old laying floppy on my lap wrapping your unclothed toes around your oxygen tubing slowly kicking it back and forth, the moment we finally heard the words we dreaded hearing for so long, "your son also has mitochondrial disease." Each time, a piece of my heart forever broken.
Although we feared the worst of what this might mean you have continuously proven that you will simply refuse to read your story as written. You simply refuse to let your disease define you. I can not explain the tremendous joy I have felt in watching you accomplish things that people have thought might be an impossible. You my son make the impossible, possible. You create hope from hopeless situations. You make every single dream worth living.
You have taught me so incredibly much just about how life should be lived. I have seen you get up and brush off the dirt refusing to give up and give in more times than I can even count. Even when the world has told you it is ok to stop trying you tell them it's not. And maybe, maybe that is the secret you came into this world with, my love. Maybe that is the tremendous gift you were given that most of us do not have, the perseverance it takes to navigate a world as big as this one with challenges that just do not seem compatible with life here.
To the world you may not be a superhero, but to me my sweet son, you are and always will be mine.