“Doctor, what happens after the surgery? Are his fingers going to go back to normal?”
“Ma’am, your son’s fingers were never normal. They cannot go back to normal.” The doctor answered me.
It is the most heartbreaking thing I had heard from a doctor, up until that point 2 years ago. I have since heard worse and developed thicker skin as a result.
My son had just been diagnosed with a congenital condition. We had been struggling to get a diagnosis for this condition for almost a year. The doctor gave us two options and surgery was one of them.
The surgery is either for functionality or cosmetic and since he was only under 2 years old, it was hard to tell how much his functionality would be affected as he grows up.
On this particular conversation with the doctor, I was trying to understand as much as possible about the surgical procedure, the potential side-effects and what to expect after the surgery.
Over time, I have come to learn that a successful surgery does not mean the same thing to everyone. It is, therefore, very important to ask the doctor what exactly you expect to see when the surgery is successful.
When the doctor said, “your son’s fingers cannot go back to normal” that statement really struck a nerve. It was as much irritating as it was heartbreaking and if I am honest, I did shed a few tears. I don’t think the doctor was being insensitive, he was just stating a fact and setting my expectations right.
Normal is overrated
In a world where the constant struggle is to conform, it was not easy to accept that not normal was going to be our new normal. After all normal means ‘to conform to a standard, typical, expected’. My son’s fingers are not typical in any way. They stand out, are not as expected and they do not conform to a standard.
So yes the doctor was right.
But then another question popped up in my mind as if it were a response to all the worries I was having, so what if they are not normal? Who said that the only way to live a full life is by being ‘normal’ or having so-called normal features? Normal is overrated.
You don’t need to be normal! You just need to be yourself.
There and then I knew what to do. I made a decision to teach my son that ‘not normal’ is not the same as bad. It does not take away from his worth. He is just as worthy as the boy across the street, and to his daddy and I, he will forever be our perfect son.
He is OUR son, he belongs here and no amount of ‘not normal’ can take away from that. I want him to know that as much as he is different, he is also just as capable as any other person in the room.
You are just as worthy
Some people will never be normal, at least not in the standard definition of the word. But they are no less human than you and me. They are just as worthy, just as deserving of love and opportunities as the next person. And in their own uniqueness, they are enough.
If you have had to face the struggles of being different in a world that is always pressuring you to fit in, don’t let anyone make you feel ‘less than’. You are just fine the way you are, you are in the right place and you belong here. You deserve to be here.