4/5/09

There's no such thing as a bad egg

Posted on Sunday~April 5, 2009

When I was in high school, we had a class called Home Economics. I'm not even sure exactly what it's called today...Family Science? Is that right? Anyway, I remember many things about Home Ec., like the fact that my kitchen partner was my boyfriend, and when we broke up I tearfully asked the teacher for a different partner. But that's a whole other story.

These days, the students are asked to carry around a life-like computerized doll for a week, to teach them what it's like to be responsible for another person. The doll cries every once and awhile, needs changing and feeding here and there, and even wakes in the night.

We didn't have those dolls in my day, so we were required to carry around eggs. With cute little faces on them. Yes, just plain old white eggs, to tuck away in our lockers and backpacks.

I still clearly remember the day Mrs. W. announced this little experiment. She talked about how each egg would come with a description, one that would let us know if our "baby" was a boy or a girl, and it's height and weight. I can remember immediately wondering what sex mine would be, and the excitement in that unknown.

Then Mrs. W. also made it clear that we were to protect and care for our "babies," making sure they survived the week, reminding us to keep them with us at all times.

In closing, our lovely teacher paused and carefully broke the news that just one of us would pull out an egg that was "different from the rest."

"Oh, I thought. I get it. A special needs egg."


Reaching my hand in the basket, I moved my fingers over the smooth shells, thinking "boy or girl, or maybe..." Then my fingers landed where I thought they should, and I pulled out the egg and it's news.

While reading my egg's description, I started thinking about what to do next.

Could I ask for another try? Could I say mine had a crack in it and choose another one, a perfect oval like the rest?

I ended up simply leaving the room with the class, thinking about how it would bode well to keep my baby's description to myself.

As we poured through the doorway and into the hall, everyone was asking around, trying to find out who had the bad luck, searching out faces for disappointment. I told a few friends that it was me with the "special" egg, and the word spread. Then a couple of boys started to tease, stealing my egg from my hands as I stood at my locker. They tossed it back and forth, moving slowly away from each other until they fumbled and dropped it.

And I felt awful.

It wasn't that I was worried about my grade, but instead, I felt bad for that egg. (Apparently I had an over-grown sensitive side even then.)

I've thought about all of that here and there over the years. Before I was married, I wondered if that egg was some kind of a sign, an omen to prepare me for my future. Then when Miles was growing in my belly, I let the questions arise more often, "Would he be like the egg in high school, a surprise in more than one way?"

When a healthy Miles was one, we found out Asher was on the way. The same questions were there, just less prominent. And this time, the questioning didn't bother me at all. Through having Miles, I had learned what a mother's love really looks like, and therefore found solace rather than questions while Asher kicked and poked in my even bigger belly.

From Miles, I had learned that it's a waste of time to wonder, because in the end, I knew that whatever baby arrived, I would love them unconditionally.

Now, when people look a little too long, squinting at Asher's head, wondering what that bump is, I remember that egg. There was a common curiosity then, and there is now.

I try not to feel annoyed or frustrated at the response, the stares and sometimes whispers. I try to understand that we are all just curious creatures, each with our own bumps, our differences.


I'm a mother, like all the rest, who loves both her boys just as they are.

I'm a woman that smiles openly at strangers, and warmly starts conversations. Sometimes I wish that those smiles would make people feel comfortable enough to ask instead of just looking too long with concern in their eyes. But people don't ask, they just look and then quickly glance away when I catch them. Because they're afraid. Afraid that even I, the mother, might feel that I reached in, took a gamble, and pulled out a bad egg.

But I don't feel that way at all.

I would never wish for a more healthy child. Because that more healthy child would not be Asher.

Asher is perfect for me, perfect for our family. We'll always watch closely, concerned over something that comes naturally to most children, but not to him. We'll be on high alert, just as millions of other parents are each day, no matter what bumps cross the surface of their perfect children.

I guess what I'm saying is that there are no bad eggs. When given the chance, we reach inside and pull forth the answers. And no matter what that piece of paper says, we're in love.

51 clicked right here to comment:

Mrs4444 said...

Yup; there's nothing like a mother's love. My daughter nearly cried when she had her egg (yes, seriously; they had to carry eggs around last week) in her hoodie pocket when she bent over to pick something up and totally smashed little "Shelly." She submitted the baby to her teacher with some information she had found on line about "Brittle Bone Disorder." She got a B. :)

Kristina P. said...

Another excellent, poignant post, Heather.

Erin said...

Beautiful. Just beautiful. That's right - there are no bad eggs.

Sheryl said...

love you!

Sabrina said...

Actually, we are all "special". :)

You also need to get your FACS strait about Home Ec.

LexiconLuvr said...

You're right, it wouldn't matter the shape, color, or content of the egg, I love mine no matter what.
Only you could have said this properly. =]

The Mom said...

What a beautiful post. Perfectly written.

Evolving Mommy Catherine said...

It seems to me the imperfections of the egg are what make it so very perfect.

T & T Livesay said...

Tonight we colored Easter Eggs.

Working with Noah and Isaac coloring eggs ... I can tell you ... there are bad eggs. ;) Oh -- that is different??? K.

For real --

Lydie and Asher will marry one day and all will be well in the world and they will make their own little noggins who will also be wonderful and perfect and we will get together and fight over them. Good times are coming.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

lovely. And it goes both ways. Sometimes we focus too much on our children's flaws (behavior, in my case), and fail to see the beauty of the whole child. Thanks for making me think. Again.

Elizabeth said...

You always post again before I have a chance to write a decent comment on your previous post. You give me too many great things to think about! And I love it:)

This post is very special, but the heart behind it is even more so. You are right: I would never ask for a different child, because that child wouldn't be MY child. It never ceases to amaze me how wholly and fiercely we love our babies, whoever they are and however they come to us. I wouldn't change anything about them, ever.

Heidi Ashworth said...

As my Big Guy launches into his once a day monologue about how bored he is and how we need to entertain him (sigh) I can still say, in spite of all his many imperfections and challenges and disabilities, I wouldn't trade him for any other kid in the world. Loved this post!

Lara said...

Wonderful post. But I always know I'm going to type that when I come visit you. :)

Now I want to know what happened to your grade in Home Ec...

LisAway said...

Love this. When I'm pregnant and people ask me if I want a boy or girl I never really got it. Am I supposed to have a preference? Even when I don't get to choose anyway? I want whatever I'm sent! Boy, girl, quiet, feisty, healthy, needy. Whatever He sends!

pam at beyondjustmom said...

You brought tears to my eyes, again! So thoughtful and beautiful. I too had that nagging feeling sometimes that my life had been so blessed, I was sure to be "blessed" with some type of challenge or tragedy--but I don't worry anymore. God gives us what we're meant to handle. You're the perfect mom for Asher, and you make it a beautiful, wonderful inspiration for all of us.

Debbie said...

How do you come up with such excellent posts all the time? How poignant this one is. And you're right, there aren't any bad eggs. And even those that look "perfect" on the outside can have some imperfections on the inside.
When my youngest was 2, he developed odd and terrifying blisters overnight on both of his hands and around his mouth. Terrible, huge blisters that scared me to death. I was so afraid his face would be scarred. And he had a wide brimmed hat he loved. He wore that, of his own accord, until the blisters went away. I think it was to hide under to try to keep people from staring at him so much.

Manic Mother said...

God, I had forgotten all about those damn eggs they made us carry around!

NorahS said...

Beautiful.

Kazzy said...

Awww. I just love ya!

There is an autistic boy that lives in our neighborhood and whenever his family sits in front of us at church I am amazed to watch how his mother handles him. Sometimes he slaps her and tells her he hates her, and she just says, "I love you, M. You are so handsome and you are my best friend." It chokes me up every time.

You might not know it, but there will be some people who will watch you and your little Asher and feel the same way (not that he has any problems like my neighbor, but just that watching a loving mother is always inspiring).

K and/or K said...

Home Economics is now Family and Consumer Science. I'd love to hate it since I spent 5 years of misery teaching it!

But somehow good things come out of it, like you writing this wonderful anaolgy. And then of course there is me meeting Kyle in that class in '95. So it must not be that bad, huh? :-)

charrette said...

Excellent post. Just excellent. You (and your heart) are amazing.

kel said...

That is a beautiful post! And you are just the perfect momma for that cute little egg!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Well you know that I can relate to this with my own special needs boy.

This was lovely.

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

I have chills.

K has been the most amazing gift I could've been given.

We have expereinced the stares and wondering eyes too...

I wish they could all see the wonderful gift he is.

Sue said...

Heather, you're just a dear. You are. Love ya.

Becky said...

Beautifully put, as always. My sister's boy has biliary atresia. She's frequently on "high alert" too, but thinking about the things that she's learned from her experience makes me realize that Charlie is perfect for their family, just like Asher is perfect for yours.

MidnightCafe said...

I love your stories, and you are SO right.

Jen said...

Oh Heather, what a beautifully written post. I really enjoyed it and your words are just so true.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

Your words are perfect, as always <3

K said...

When I've prayed "why?" the answer I've heard is "because your imperfection is still My perfection." I would not trade my little bumpy-headed egg! I am a very private person, but I try to tell folks about W. I figure that way if they see other children with the same thing, they'll know and not be afraid to talk about it. Thank you for telling folks about it here. A beautiful post.

Rach@In His Hands said...

Praise to the One who has formed each and every "egg"! All unique and precious to Him!

Jeff and Valerie Carr said...

So true.

I remember being offered the specific tests at 10 weeks of pregnancy to determine if there were any "deficienies in the fetus" and when I asked the purpose of the test: "so you can make an informed decision regarding your pregnancy" I answered the nurse by telling her if the baby came out with polka dots it's the one God gave me, and I will love them.

blueviolet said...

There are no bad eggs. There are bad parents, yes, but no bad eggs. You are a great parent with a couple of great eggs.

Eowyn said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

BaronessBlack said...

Firstly, you're right it doesn't matter.
Secondly, sometimes people (especially other kids) are curious in a GOOD way. My friend's son has hearing aids, and when he was younger they got a lot of looks and a lot of questions. But they saw it as their chance to educate people. Now he's a bit older he's decided to grow his hair a bit longer to cover his ears, which Asher could always do in years to come, if he wants to.

Anyway, lovely post!

That Girl in Brazil said...

Why is it that I want to print off every single one of your posts?!

Katina said...

Oh, Heather. You put it so beautifully. I work for an agency that serves children with special needs. It's heartbreaking sometimes, but I have never once heard a parent say that they wished for a different baby. They're all perfect in their own ways. Thank you for this post. I would like to share it with the families I serve, if that's okay with you.

Anonymous said...

Heather, I remember that class. I even have a picture of us holding our eggs...who knows why I had my camera that day. But there we were, standing proud with our new baby eggs. You are right, there are no bad eggs! Thanks for bring me back!

Jackie V.

radioactive girl said...

This has got to be my favorite post ever. Ever. For real. I completely agree. My 8 year old has stomach issues and health issues that make a lot of my friends happy they don't have him as their son. And you know what? I am happy too. I am so happy he is mine, extra doctor appointments and all.

Francesca said...

what a beautiful post. teary eyed. in a good way! XX

Kim said...

This is so true. We are so lucky to have our eggs, despite their differences. I love my eggs and all their craziness. I know you do too :)

Jenn @ A Country Girl's Ramblings said...

Absolutely beautiful! Brought tears to my eyes!

Kimberly said...

Way to get me all snotty and gross right before Neil gets home from work! Oi! You with your amazingness and all.

I need to go paint my face back on now...

happygeek said...

Beautiful.
My oldest has a "bump" and I wouldn't want it any other way.
Ever.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Beautiful, Heather, just beautiful.

Peanut said...

Unfortunately, if I didn't "know" you, I'd be one of those people that would look and then quickly glance away, but it's not because I think you got a bad egg... I just never know what to say. I have tried a few times to ask and find that often people are automatically defensive... so being a conflict-avoider, I say nothing. It's a sad state.
So, what do I say?

Kristen said...

I needed this today. Thank you.

Mommy Mo said...

Boo-hooing in exas, sniff sniff.

I haven't been reading for long so I have no idea what the bump on you son's head is but regardless, give it a big smacker for me.

For what you exactly wrote, I never had the quad screens done while I was pregnant.

Jessica said...

This is such a lovely post. And this line about you:

I'm a woman that smiles openly at strangers, and warmly starts conversations.

Is exactly how I picture you. The world needs more people like you.

jubilee said...

Absolutely lovely. I am so glad I found your blog through UBP!

Kristen@nosmallthing said...

Wow. What an incredible post.

I have a special needs boy, too. And it's like you said...it hit me with a bit of a surprise when I realized that his hearing aids didn't take away the special needs...that he would still have special needs. It took a while before I realized that they didn't "fix" the need.

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