“He won’t remember any of this.”

The most common phrase you hear as a cleft parent, “At least he won’t remember any of this.” The more and more you hear it the more you cringe.

You’re right, he won’t remember the struggles. He won’t remember the sleepless nights trying to get him to eat. He won’t remember the long drives to the doctor’s appointments. He won’t remember the weekly NAM adjustments. He won’t remember having all the tape on his face. He won’t remember the dreadful NAM adjustments. He won’t remember that he had to relearn how to eat so many different times. He won’t remember the food aversions. He won’t remember the ER visits. He won’t remember seeing all these different doctors and surgeons. He won’t remember all of the pre-op appointments. He won’t remember being taken by a stranger into the operating room. He won’t remember the times mama left in tears leaving him on the operating table. He won’t remember that masks that they force onto his face to until he drifts into sleep. He won’t remember the surgeries. He won’t remember the awful recoveries. He won’t remember the weeks on end staying in the hospital. He won’t remember all the IV’s and needles. He won’t remember all the tests and blood draws. He won’t remember the endless walks through the hospital hallways just to get out of the room. He won’t remember being on TPN because he lost so much weight. He won’t remember refusing to eat for weeks on end. He won’t remember the tears we all cried in that hospital room. He won’t remember the stares and rude comments he gets. Most of all, he won’t remember the pain.

He won’t remember that the first 2 years of his life were the hardest times of his life, you’re right.

But he will look back and see that a majority of the pictures from his first year or so of life were taken in the hospital. He will see the scars everyday. He will be reminded every single day of the difficulties he has faced and still continues to face.

We as parents will remember all of these times. We will remember the pain, struggles, heartbreak, etc.

Being a cleft parent is hard. Your heart still aches looking back at old photos. Reminiscing back on their extra wide smile. Missing their cleft smile every single day. Looking into the future of surgeries and doctors appointments. The unknown.

We will remember.

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