Last night, Eli asked me if his toes would grow back when he grows up. I had about three seconds to carefully formulate my reply as a knot formed in my throat and I blinked back tears. My reply: no. I immediately heard the distress in Eli's voice. I'm certain he expected a different answer.
"You mean I will always have these circle feet?"
My reply was a simple yes though I wanted to say much more.
Yes and I am so sorry. If I could change it, I'd do whatever it took. If I could give you my feet and toes, I would do it 10,000 times over. Whatever it took. But I didn't offer him a glimpse of hope that he might eventually have plain, ordinary feet.
My mom is the one person I know who will never lie. She was the one person I always knew I could count on to tell me the honest truth. If mom says it, it is. If someone was joking with me, mom would never join in the joke. In fact, she'd ruin the fun and put my mind at ease with the truth. I decided well before Eli's birth that I wanted to be like that for my kids. It was something I really valued about my mom.
So when my 6-year old Eli asked me about the likelihood of his toes growing back. I told him the truth...even though it broke my heart into a million tiny pieces.
The conversation continued as he asked me, "how will I walk?" I told him he will have his cool shoes. He was worried that they won't fit when he grows up. I assured him that he will have new shoes to fit.
I know his little brain worked that conversation over as he drifted off to sleep. I hope one day he will appreciate that I will always tell him the truth. In the meantime, I do hope he doesn't ask me if he is having surgery on August 2nd.