Last week I was feeling sorry for myself. Ritu was out of town, and I was worn out from being a single parent and getting the house ready to go on the market. Sheesh, how whiny can I be? We're able to choose to upgrade to a nicer, bigger house for our happy, healthy family. WAH WAH FRICKIN' WAH. I needed Livia Soprano to hit me with a "Poor You". I tend to get so caught up in the moment that I lose sight of the big picture. Really, what the hell do I have to complain about? This is a small, temporary bump in a lovely, smooth road.
I got to thinking about this show I'd seen on TLC or Discovery Health or someplace like that. I watch the documentaries on those channels with a morbid fascination. Shows like Half-Ton Man, 200 pound Tumor, and I Am My Own Twin. I could watch them endlessly while cringng and marveling. A few months ago, I sat down to watch one called Born Without a Face. It was about a little girl named Juliana Wetmore who was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome which left her without 30-40% of the bones in her face. No upper jaw, no cheekbones, no eye sockets. Initially I was horrified at what I saw, but as I continued to watch I realized that this little Juliana was a perfectly normal little girl. Even though she couldn't talk, there was no mistaking her communication. And she was silly and funny and cranky and everything a typical two year old should be. I watched as her family saw her wheeled away for surgery after surgery. God knows I am cynical and sarcastic, but I was genuinely moved by this little girl and her family. So when I was feeling so sorry for myself lastweek, I decided to write to them. And send them a check. Here's a copy of my letter:
Like many others, I’m sure, I saw the special on TLC about Juliana and was totally captivated by her. My six-year-old daughter is also named Juliana, so I felt an immediate connection. I think what touched me the most was how obvious it was that your Juliana is just a regular little girl. Her personality shone through. She was impish and silly and adorable. My husband was doing some paperwork, but before long he was sitting and watching with me. He is not a religious man, but after seeing everything your family has been through, he was moved to say, “There is a special place in heaven for those people.”
I feel like knowing about Juliana and your family has somehow made me more connected to the entire human race. I feel such compassion for her and it makes me a more caring person in general. Your story reminds me yet again of what is truly important in life. It’s a lesson that is easy to lose sight of when the details of daily living bog me down. I thank you for sharing Juliana’s journey with all of us. No one who sees it could be left untouched.
I saw on your website that Tom had just been deployed for six months. I pray that the time will pass quickly and you will all be reunited safely and happily.
It felt right to put my own problems in perspective. If it feels right to you, too, visit their website. Make a donation. Appreciate what you have.