Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Why is it?

Recently we netflixed a movie called Savannah Smiles. It was a movie I loved when I was little and wanted to revisit and also wanted James to see. It is a little unrealistic and corny but I still love it.

It is about a little girl, about six years old, who is neglected by her wealthy and busy parents (her father is running for the state senate). She has a nanny who puts her to bed, she eats breakfast by herself and is left behind when her parents go on skiing trips. Watching Little Rascals, she gets the idea that running away would teach her parents a lesson. So she packs a suitcase and, during an outing with friends, sneaks away and hides in a run down old car that turns out to be stolen by two petty crooks named Alvie and Bootsy. Because they are fugitives, they are unable to simply return her and when they find out there is a $100,000 reqard for her safe return, hitting the jackpot becomes too good to be true.

I'll stop there for anyone who wants to see it but it is a wonderful story. Bridget Anderson, who plays Savannah, is wonderfully adorable. The story bears themes of conversion and redemption and the imporance of spending time with and knowing your children and how precious they really are.

The title song (I so wish they would release a soundtrack to this movie) begins with these lyrics:
"When Savannah smiles, I hear someone saying, 'hey, loser, you just won.' When Savannah smiles those grey clouds start to prayin', 'bring on the sun'. Music, sweet music, lifts my soul, sets it free. Everything is fine every single time Savannah smiles at me. Oh, smile Savannah, just one more time for me."
The song goes on to describe how just one of this little girl's smiles removes any pain or sadness or struggle and how much just a little smile from a child can do. And it got me thinking...

Why is it that no matter how tired I am and how many times Cecilia wakes up during the night, I can't sleep in another room without missing her like crazy?

Why is it that no matter how many tantrums she throws and whimpers for pity she dishes out, one hug makes it all disappear?

Why is it that no matter how much food she gets on her clothes and her chair and in her hair and on the floor or how many times I have to tell her not to throw her juice cup, whenever she says she is, "Done!" I can't help but smile?

Why is it that no matter how many news stories I see about terrorism or crooked politicians or senseless violence or anti-Catholic bigotry, she can wrap her arms around my neck with a hug and make the whole world disappear in a brightness of warmth and joy?

It is amazing, isn't it? Why is it?

Because it is through our children that it is easiest to see the face of God.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Message Board Comments

I won't be too specific, but occassionally I visit message boards for women who are pregnant and due around the same time I am. Today one woman posted that, at 22 weeks, the doctors discovered her unborn baby boy had the severest case of Spina Bifida they had ever seen and the "only option" was to terminate.

As I had to look it up, "Spina bifida is the most common disabling birth defect in the United States. It is a type of neural tube defect, which is a problem with the spinal cord or its coverings. It happens if the fetal spinal column doesn't close completely during the first month of pregnancy. There is usually nerve damage that causes at least some paralysis of the legs. Many people with spina bifida will need assistive devices such as braces, crutches or wheelchairs. They may have learning difficulties, urinary and bowel problems or hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the brain.
There is no cure. Treatments focus on the complications, and can include surgery, medicine and physiotherapy."

The woman on the message board and her husband decided to terminate the pregnancy and hope they will one day have children.

Now, first of all, I am very sorry that their son was diagnosed with such a birth defect. Any such discovery is quite trying on any parent.

That said, I quite simply cannot feel sorry for their loss and feel they do not deserve to be parents. They killed their child. Plain and simple. The child was not dying nor did he have a fatal disease. He had a birth defect that would require special care and treatment. According to the Spina Bifida Association, "The effects of Spina Bifida are different for every person. Up to 90 percent of children with the worst form of Spina Bifida have hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) and must have surgery to insert a “shunt” that helps drain the fluid—the shunt stays in place for the lifetime of the person. Other conditions include full or partial paralysis, bladder and bowel control difficulties, learning disabilities, depression, latex allergy and social and sexual issues. Thanks to new medical treatments and technology, most people born with Spina Bifida can expect to live a normal life. People with Spina Bifida have many special challenges because of their birth defect, but their condition does not define who they are. People with Spina Bifida have careers, get married and have children just like people who don’t have Spina Bifida."

So simply because their child would have required special care, they killed him. All the replies on the message board were sympathy for their loss. I can't feel sorry for a murderer.

I would further add that I think the lack of humility of the doctors involved is quite disgusting. The "ONLY OPTION" is termination? What about the option of raising a challenging child? What about the option of loving their son? What about the option of having that little boy wrap his little arms around their necks and say, "I love you." They threw all that and more away because of a birth defect and they want me to feel sorry for them? No can do.

I didn't feel I could post this on the message board as it would be classified as "harsh," "unsupportive," and "insensitive." If that is how someone views my comments, feel free, but just consider how harsh, unsupportive and insensitive they were to their son who needed their love, support and care so much more.