As Charlie nears her third birthday, I can’t help but think about the journey we’ve been on with her hemangioma. Not the hemangioma itself, but the emotional journey we have taken as her parents and advocates. While she is still too little to notice much of anything about her outward appearance, we have never hesitated to instill wisdom in her and the people around her. I’ve written open letters to the public, imploring society to shift their ideas of beauty and normalcy.
I never miss an opportunity to tell Charlie she’s smart. I tell her she’s funny. I tell her she’s kind and special and valuable. I tell her she’s beautiful. The handful times she has mentioned her “pink cheek” I tell her it’s super pretty and cool. Then, I might tell her in that same conversation that Lincoln’s brown eyes are cool, too. Or maybe, “Look! My huge pink stretch marks from having three babies are cool.” Or “Guess what else? every single person in our house and in the world has something unique about them that is beautiful and important”
Differences aren’t sad. Differences aren’t negative. The only thing that perpetuates negativity, is the idea in some parts of our culture that “differences” are something to feel sorry about. If the conversation changed, maybe, eventually, kids wouldn’t even pick on other kids for their “differences”. Imagine a world where it wouldn’t be anything other than celebrated.
I get asked a lot, “What’s the best way to respond if my child is curious about Charlie’s face?”
I always say the same thing. It’s beautiful to be curious. Don’t be sad for her. Don’t be scared of her. Keep the conversation going that everyone is different and different is normal. There’s not a prototype. We are all exactly who we are meant to be and we ALL have things, inside and out that make us special- and that IS normal.
Tomorrow is the first day of May, which kicks off Hemangioma Awareness Month. I’m thrilled to announce a project in collaboration with Mama Said Tees. In honor of their 2-Year Anniversary of their #LetsRedefineNormal campaign, they are releasing a brand new tee shirt design, shown on Charlie.
For the entire month of May, 20% of ALL sales will go toward the Vascular Birthmark Foundation. I adore this mama-owned small shop and have been working with them for two years. I strongly believe in their mission of changing the world through adorable tees with a clever design and a powerful message. Take a look at their shop and support a cause close to our hearts.
Remember, “different” isn’t the exception to the rule; “different” IS the rule.