Lessons from my 13 year old son {sunday snapshot}

Sunday, August 15, 2010
Some of this story is old and some of it new. I debated whether to write it and whether to share it. I will share it for now because it might reach someone else out there. I needed to write it because it is part of Will's story and I guess part of mine too.
I have shared before that Will was born with a growth in the layers of his skull. It put pressure on his brain and he could not really use one side of his body as a baby. It made his face lopsided and he could not crawl. We did not know if it was cancerous. It was a frightening time. He had a major portion of his skull removed when he was 6 months old. He recovered beautifully and proceeded develop at a normal rate. In fact, he is incredibly intelligent, thoughtful and funny. However, as I have mentioned before, we did years of speech therapy and physical therapy and occupational therapy to get where we are today.
As Will got older some kids teased him about the "bald spot" on the side of his head. He has a scar over half his head and it all healed beautifully except this one spot right above his ear. His hair covered it a lot of the time but when he swam, people would notice it and make comments. It was also really noticeable when his hair was short. For years, Will asked us if he could have it fixed when he got older. And for years, I tried to talk him out of it. I would tell him that we all have something we don't like about ourselves. I would remind him that kids will just find something else to tease about. I told him that he is exactly as God intended him to be. However, we always promised him that when he got older we would look into getting it fixed if he really felt strongly about it.
Splendor in the grass
Well, this year, Will really pressed us about our promise. After a lot of stalling, I finally made an appointment with the pediatric cranio-facial plastic surgeon (supposedly one of the best in the US). He originally did the opening and closing for the neurosurgeon who did Will's surgery as a baby. At the consult, he made sure to ask Will if HE wanted the surgery or if Mom and Dad wanted it. Will told him that he was the one who wanted it. The surgeon assured us it would be easy to fix the part that had not healed well.
I did not really want to do the surgery. I was afraid he might scar worse this time. I was afraid of the anesthesia. I did not want to put my son (or myself) through the stress of an elective surgery. But, I had to do it because I knew that Will really wanted it. I knew how strongly he felt about it.
So, this June, Will had the surgery. It all went really well. The scar looked fabulous and Will spent about a month taking it easy at home so that things would heal well. We were all thrilled as the new scar looked incredible....until the night before Will left for camp. It turned red and looked wide. It was a Saturday night and Will was scheduled to leave for camp at 6 am the next morning. Dave was out of town with Harry. I did not know what to do. I put some cream on it and Will went to camp for 2 weeks. I called the camp nurse and they checked on his scar at camp. They gave him special ear plugs for the skeet range because the regular ones would rub against his scar. We took every precaution. However, when we picked him up, we could see that the scar had spread. It was wide and red. I took him back to the plastic surgeon this week.
Unfortunately, the surgeon does not know why this happened or how. He said it is nothing we did (or he did) wrong.
I am really upset. The scar area is now bigger and will likely end up being worse and more noticeable than it was in the first place. I literally have felt sick about this for days. It makes me sad that it is bigger and will possibly be even more noticeable than it was in the first place. I have anger and disappointment that I don't know where to put. I do realize that looks really do not matter and that we are so incredibly blessed in our lives. I praise and thank God for bringing Will so far. But still, this situation pains me.
The other day when we got home from the surgeon's appointment, I sat down with Will. I said, "Will, I am going to be blunt with you (the surgeon was not). The scar might end up being just as it was before. It might even be bigger than it was before. I am telling you this so that you can be prepared and I am so so very sorry."
My son stunned me by saying,
"That is okay Mom. I leaned a lot about myself by going through this experience and I realized that it doesn't really matter if I have a scar on the side of my head. I spent years covering it with my hand and my hair and I don't need to do that. Who cares? At camp, kids thought I was attacked by a shark and I went along with it for fun!"
I wanted to shake him and say....you had to have the surgery to learn what Dad and I have been trying to tell you for YEARS!!!!! But, I didn't. I hugged him tightly with tears in my eyes and told him how very proud I am of him.
I have much to learn from him.

Ni Hao Y'all


  1. He sounds like such a great kid!

    Thanks so much for sharing this heart-warming story!

  2. His words just go to show what a wonderful job y'all do as parents! Not that you needed that affirmation from me since we've never really met!

    Both boys are on track to grow into the kind of men that mom's will want their daughters to marry. Someday 2 girls are going to be very lucky to become wives to Will and Harry!

  3. Will really is a handsome boy...a girl is going to love that scare one day :)

  4. A boy that smart...doesn't need to worry about silly scars on the side of his head! He is so handsome...and what a lucky boy to have a Mama who is willing listen so carefully and do whatever it takes to make her boy feel better!

  5. What an amazing young man he is. I can only imagine how proud you must be of your handsome son! Love the shark attack story!

  6. Well, I had to chuckle about the shark bite - reminded me of this commercial where the woman has a brace on her arm (from scrubbing hard water stains) but she tells everyone in the grocery store it is from a sky diving accident, snow boarding accident, surfing accident, etc.....

    I think the most important thing here is that everyone learned something - heck, I even learned something from reading this post tonight. I just think our kids can learn so much by making choices on their own and having us there to HUG them and tell them how PROUD we are of them - awesome job, Mama!

  7. GREAT story. God bless you and Will.

  8. Great words from a great kid that was raised sooo greatly by his great parents..
    I have tears in my eyes..
    Love this..
    Love you ..

  9. This is why children are such a blessing. They remind us what really matters, because often times it is the adult who is caught up in what everyone else will think.

    My son picked out what I call superman shoes for school this year. His dad and I thought he would get picked on.(he had been bullied the year before and is one of very few african american kids in his school) Anyway, he came home and told us the kid who bullied him liked his shoes. When the "bully" asked him where he got them, my son said "in NY". We have not been to NY since Dec/09. We just laughed...

    Somehow, even at such young ages and few life experiences our children always have the right wisdom. God bless.

  10. I LOVE that our kids tend to teach us the biggest lessons and the God allows things for HIS glory! Great young man!

  11. Oh man...now I'm crying.

    How can a child that young be so strong? God has great things planned for this man.


  12. There are great things in store for Will!

    I do hope you find other avenues to heal the scar but feel sure that Will will be fine either way.

  13. Will is such a handsome young man and has the personality to match.

  14. So thankful he is ok and that he has come to realize such an important lesson in life... Oh, how the Lord uses the struggles we have in life to teach what really matters.
    Good for you Will!

  15. I think that sometimes you have to walk the path by yourself to understand the directions,you know? When you told him over the years not to worry about it, it was a lesson. When he learned it on his own accord, albeit after a surgery and momma bear stress, it became fact. I will cross my fingers that things heal for him though. And that baby photo of him in the hospital is beyond adorable!

  16. well he is gorgeous! I'm finding the teen years to be teaching me the most about God (and my oldest is only 14). Will does sound like a wonderful young man!

  17. Wow .. I have one child with a scar on his head and one with a protruding shunt. Will's story and mature response will become my new prayer for my boys!
    Thanks for sharing!
    He is gorgeous!
    Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,

  18. My son has a scar from 33 stitches. He had an epidural hematoma which resulted in brain surgery. He has a large gap by his ear. He is 9 and it really bothers him. We have gone the longer hair route etc. He is starting to get teased. I am going to tell him the shark bite story as soon as he gets up today. It may make the first week of school a little better. Thanks for the story.

  19. WOW is all I can say!! So awesome to hear he has learned to embrace the difference. We all are a little stubbourn at times(LOL) so maybe he just had to take the harder path to learn this time:)

    Scar or not, he sure is handsome and sounds incredibly sweet!!

  20. Wow Kim!!! That is so beautiful!!! Will has wisdom way beyond a 13 year old... Wisdom that comes from learning that God loves from the inside out.. He doesn't care about Will's scar. And, I am so proud that Will has learned that too. Confidence just shines from your amazing son! It will take him so far one day! In my mind that scar is a badge of honor. A reminder of how far he has come, and how God protected him from the very beginning...


  21. Will is so beautiful inside and out , but you know that:)PS thanks for the fabric link...you rock!

  22. Made me teary-eyed this morning too! So happy to hear that he is accepting of the scar now and can move on now. Hope you all have a great week!


  23. Not only does he sound like an amazing young man, but he is very handsome. I am sure you are one proud Mom.

    Thanks for sharing,

  24. That is one fine young man. What an awesome story. That story put a "bite" on my heart! Wow!

  25. What a sweet guy! I hope that you all are able to find a solution for it but if not, you know he'll be okay. My cousin had kidney surgery and he still tells everyone with a straight face (he's 45!) that he was bitten by a shark while surfing. It impressed many, many girls! :)

  26. Wow! I love this story! What a happy ending! I am sorry it worked out the way it did, but wow - what an incredibly strong kid!

  27. Smart kid.

    Smart Mama.

    What a profound lesson to learn at the tender age of 13.

    Snick :)

  28. Wise young man you have there. And your reaction was exactly what he needed (though I admit, I'd have wanted to say "Told ya so!" too)

    Hope the scar continues to heal, and that he continues to have such a great outlook on the whole experience.

  29. What a lesson, indeed!! I can only imagine how filled with love and pride you were at that moment... what an incredible kid you have raised, Kim :)
    And he sure is handsome, to boot ;)
    Hope you have a wonderful week!! I am SO jealous you'll be hanging out with Di at the BEACH!! Enjoy!!

  30. What an amazing tribute! He must have really awesome parents :)

  31. I meant to also say how sorry I am that it didn't heal...and that you were upset. :( I read your comment on my blog - I DO take probotics and I love them. I have been trying lactaid and I also realized I have a dairy intolerance! SO I have been carrying around lactaid with me and using that and it has helped. I also got all natural prebotic/enzymes at Whole Foods. Can't wait for our next chat. smiles

  32. He is just a beautiful boy, inside and out. May he always have that sense of peace with himself.
    Thanks for sharing this story.

  33. WOW!!!! What a great son you have!!! Congrats!!!

  34. WOW!!!! What a great son you have!!! Congrats!!!

  35. I am sitting here at my computer, applauding your sweet, wise Son. You have done wonderful with him....something tells me he is going to be just fine! ;)

    Thank you for sharing this story Kim.....it is real and it is what I really like to read about on peoples blogs. ;)


  36. Our kids surely do suprise us with their wisdom sometimes, don't they? This is a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing!

  37. All I can say is Wow!
    You are an amazing Mamma.
    Will is an amazing now young man!
    I cannot believe he is 13 though!
    Just handsome and from everything you say
    just an amazing heart.
    Hoping life is going really well for you.
    I want to also tell you thank you for praying
    for me a while ago. I don't know if I ever told
    you that but want you to know how thankful
    I was and am.
    Smiles to you.

  38. Isn't it amazing how kids realize things like that all by themselves? Will is an extremely wise 13 yr old. And you must be very proud... mentally exhausted by the whole thing, but proud none the less!

  39. It almost always go back to parenting, and clearly, you and your husband have done an incredible job. What an amazing son, and so wise for his age.

  40. What a very special person Will is! You've all been through a lot and regardless of how the scar looks in the end, seems you've all done a lot of emotional healing in the process. You have such a beautiful, sweet, and lovely family!!!

  41. What a smart and very handsome young man you have raised! Be very proud of yourself! Great job Mom, and way to go Will! Will~you are so good-looking, and have GREAT HAIR! No girl will care about that scar, I promise! I am raising 4 of them, and I know how they work, and think :)

  42. I love this story! I admire your son. The story brings to mind my own life and how hard it is to accept the physical flaws in myself and I am a 46 year-old. I think I will take his good attitude to heart. I love your wonderful blog!!

  43. Please thank Will for this. We can all learn from him. What a great kid :)

  44. What a Sweet story & what a smart little man! Thanks for sharing. Our kids can teach us a lot about things, can't they?...

  45. Goodness gracious, what a sweet story. And what a beautiful guy. And what a gracious and merciful Father we serve! Thank you for sharing your heart...

  46. kim, this is such a beautiful post, and he is truly a beautiful boy (teenager). don't tell i said beautiful;) i hate that he went through all of this, but it sounds like he is stronger and i am so sorry that the surgery didn't fix it! sending love!!

  47. Will IS amazing and so are his parents! With those beautiful eyes ~ scar - what scar??

    I am celebrating the end of summer with you, my friend - we are on a back to school countdown!

    Many blessings!

  48. your boy is awesome he amazes me with his sense of understanding too-
    with his beautiful wyes and a million dollar smile he has not one thing to worry about-

    GOD has great BIG plans for him and HE is so HANDSOME too

    beautiful story and just look at the vallies he has brought you thru too-
    Love you! Cindy

  49. Wow Kim ~

    Great post...great parents...and GREAT KID! Will is one wise young man ~ And a very handsome one at that!! You should be SO proud!

    Blessings and hugs,


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