I will never forget that day in April so many years ago. Nineteen weeks pregnant and positive it was a girl, we couldn’t wait to see our first baby on the ultrasound. We’d been dreaming about this day and it was finally here.
As his mother, I knew there was not a lot I could do to protect my boy from the physical pain he would inevitably endure. But I made a promise to myself that day that I would do everything in my power to protect him from the emotional pain this defect might cause.
The big day came. Seven hours of labor and my precious boy arrived.
Life for Chandler did not prove easy from the beginning. At six weeks old, the first of many surgeries would begin. Shortly after returning home from the hospital, he stopped breathing. More surgeries followed. The hospital became our second home.
To date, Chandler has had twenty-one surgeries. They’ve taken bone from both hips, cartilage from his ribs, and pieced together his mouth and nose in all kinds of painful and difficult ways.
Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and surgery after excruciating surgery, Chandler’s infectious smile continued to light up a room.
We made the difficult decision to move from our large home in Utah into a small three-bedroom apartment, the only home we could afford in the area, in order for our children to attend the A+ rated schools in Scottsdale.
Chandler worried about beginning seventh grade at a new school. Sad to leave his friends behind, he wondered if he would be able to find new friends in Scottsdale. I assured him that this was one of the very best schools in the state and I was positive it would be a great experience for him.
I was wrong.
I removed Chandler from the school immediately for the rest of the year. We are relocating next month in order for Chandler to attend a small charter school, one that prides itself on teaching empathy and compassion and preventing this kind of hellish experience for their students.
We sacrificed so much to live in Scottsdale for the A+ rated schools, and we are now moving away because of them. A+ standardized testing scores are worthless to the child who's bullied for not fitting in.