Something happened when I had children, when I took on the responsibility of protecting little ones. My view of other children changed; my protectiveness extended to them as well. I used to look at other children and think about what fatherhood would be like, a detached curiosity. Now I look at them, especially those in danger or in pain, and where I once would have felt deeply for them, now I actually want to reach out and protect them. Even when I hear terrible stories about children from across the world, my reaction is physical, like a punch in the gut, which I never felt before having children.
This blog is pretty much a collection of silly stories, look-at-my-cute-kids pictures, and random parenting thoughts/essays. I'm grateful that my blog is that light-hearted because I have healthy children to write about. Recently I came across a dad whose blog hit me like a punch in the gut, because he writes about his daughter, who has leukemia. I tried to be objective and removed as I read about her, but this picture drew me in:
This is Serenity, a two year old girl who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Her father has written about her struggle with the disease and the treatment from the first doctor visit to now. I came in on day 17, a low point for the father in this early part of her treatment. Earlier in the post is a picture of Serenity on the hospital bed, being a trooper, but by the picture above, she had clearly used up her patience and courage for the day. You can hear what dad is saying to her because it would be what you would say to her if you could. Since seeing that post, I haven't been able to turn away from this father's story. Serenity's dad set up a web page where visitors can sign a guest book and leave messages or donate money. This is what I wrote to him on his guest book:
Kids should not feel such pain, and we, their protectors, should not be powerless to stop it.
Following Serenity's story reminded me of a photojournalism essay that I came across last year about a Sacramento mother and her son, who fought a losing battle with cancer. The essay, which you can view here, tells the story better than words can. It is moving, uplifting, and heartbreaking - all at the same time. Each of the pictures has a caption, but I would suggest turning the captions on the second time through. I would warn you that viewing it could be an emotional experience, but if you were averse to that you probably wouldn't have read this far, anyway.
Hits you like a punch in the gut, doesn't it?