Daniel came to me the other day and lifting his t-shirt pointed to a circular, pale, silvery scar on his belly just below his old gastrostomy scar.
“What is this?”, he asks me.
“It’s an old scar from when you were in the NICU, when you were a tiny baby.”
“But what is it from?“, he presses.
“From a transcutaneous monitor. It was used to measure the oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body so the doctor could adjust the machine helping you breathe when you were very tiny and wasn’t big enough or strong enough to breathe on your own. Your skin was very sensitive so they had to move the probe around often or it would leave a mark that was shaped like a circle. That is a mark left behind by the monitor.”
He thoughtfully traces the silvery circle-shaped scar on his belly. I can tell he is still wondering about it.
“Do you want to see what it looked like on your body? I have a picture.”
So I pull out the little photo journal I have that documents his NICU life in pictures and in words.
He regards the picture, carefully tracing the TCM probe on his back just above the tiny diaper that he wore.
“Do I have a scar like that on my back too?”
“No. The one on your belly is the only one.”
He shrugs and then begins to read out loud the words I copied from the nurse who took that picture.
“I have a lot of scars, don’t I?”
“You do. Every single scar shows just how strong you are. How amazing you are. How wonderful you are. I love every single scar that is yours.”
He smiles and hugs me tight. “I kind of like my scars too!”
Out of suffering has emerged the strongest souls; the most massive of characters are seared with scars.