As they rolled our son down the hallway to surgery at Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital (July 2012), we could only stand in silence.  It’s hard to talk when you have a lump in your throat and your mind is wandering to a million different places.

Last March (2011), we traveled this same road when Judah was 6 1/2 months old, having his cleft palate repaired.  It was the first time we had to perform the handoff.  He is now approaching 2 years old and it hasn’t become any easier.

A few weeks earlier, Judah’s big sister made a trip to the dentist. And, he too made the trip as a curious onlooker. While there, big sister got to where sunglasses during her teeth cleaning. So, Judah naturally wanted to do the same when it came time for him to have his teeth fixed at Scottish Rite. Several of his teeth had not formed properly due to the cleft palate.

So, today we thought we would allow our son to represent the thousands of brave children who have to travel those same hallways.  No matter the condition, it is never easy on the parents to watch their child be taken by a sweet nurse whose name escapes you because all you can think about is what your child is getting ready to endure.

After a very difficult two hours of recovery, Judah was able to make some progress and to our surprise, scarf down an entire banana.  He would not drink anything.  But, he ate that banana like he was on a mission.  He is doing great now and we are excited that he has some new silver teeth to match his dad’s gold ones!

The advice we would give to future parents walking down this road is this:
Love them everyday, not just this one.

Let’s say a prayer for those today who live in this space.  It is a hard road.
And, no one wants to do the hand off….it’s just not natural.

Who do you know that may have gone through something like this and how could you be an encouragement to them today?

Steve Gillis
Judah’s “ah ah”

Judah’s cleft pictures and a very inspiring video honoring cleft repair: Click here