I don't even know anymore.  

Last Monday, my 5 week-old baby could barely breathe again.  We took her to the ER, where she was ambulanced up to UW Madison Children's Hospital. I followed in my car. I didn't get back home to Illinois until Friday night.  (Way too long in one outfit. Thank you to those good friends who came to the hospital with clean socks, underwear, and toothpaste for me...that was a game changer. I'm sure the nurses and doctors thank you, too).

So Johanna's midline birth defect that caused her nose bones to be too small has apparently caused other structural problems, including the existence of one front tooth instead of two.  Fortunately, most of the problems are only structural; her brain and endocrine system don't appear to have been affected.  She'll be having surgery to put in nasal stents just as soon as she can breathe through her nose.

I tell you: the Children's Hospital is the happiest sad place I've ever seen.  So many sick kids with such big hearts.  It was a totally unexpected and eyeopening week for me. Before the week started, I was only thinking about my building in Rockford. Right now, I've only got one word rolling through my mind:


Troubling little word, isn't it?  When some material possession is defective, it's not working, so we return it.  When a kid is defective, what do we do?

First, I think we lose the word "defective."  Second, we love the kid like crazy, just the same as we would if everything was "working."  Probably even more.

Folks, every kid has a hard road ahead of them.  My daughter is going to have a lot of extra challenges.  At minimum, she'll have tubes in her nose and one front tooth in a few months.  And she doesn't have it even half as bad as most of the kids I saw this week.  So here comes a big fat emotional pitch for you (and me).

Let's keep remembering the kind of world we want, one where love is everything.  It starts with us.  Let's lose the self-critism and love our weird parts. Then let's extend the love to our kids.  Let's teach them to value every other kid be proud of what sets them apart.  Finally, let's embrace the strange things about strangers and treat them with respect and kindness.  Let's make this planet caring for every living thing that lives on it.  Nobody is defective.  We're just different...and still perfect.  

Man, every week lately is just a rollercoaster.  Who knows what'll happen in the next seven days.  Whatever happens in my little world, I hope your week is jam-packed with love. I'll see you next Sunday. -Em

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