Christian Taylor Buchanan

Christian Taylor Buchanan

Monday, July 31, 2017

"Mommy, What Happened To My Eyes?"

It happened today.

He asked.

He asked me the question I've been anticipating, dreading, since soon after he was born.

"Mommy, what happened to my eyes?"

I froze for a second. Then asked him to repeat what he had said. I wanted to be sure I had heard him correctly, but really, it bought me a few more seconds to think of my response and process what he had just said to me.

His question wasn't sad. It didn't carry the weight of the heaviness that I feel sometimes. It was a simple question that he simply wanted an answer to. It was a question full of curiosity, not pain.

I swallowed the knot in my throat and tried to figure out if Christian had actually asked me about his eyes or if I had misunderstood. You know those moments of panic where you suddenly have the ability to think 47 thoughts in a matter of five seconds. I was there.

I don't think I could love this boy more
I had decided long ago that I wasn't going to mention Christian's differences to him until he mentioned them to me. I saw no point in pointing them out or making a fuss over them. They really aren't differences to our family at this point. Christian is just who he is and his differences aren't even thought about on an average basis.



As far as I can see things from my point of view, we are a normal family and Christian is a normal kid. This is our normal. Having a blind child with complex medical needs is not out of the ordinary for us. It's what we do. Every day. We wake up and it's there. We go to bed and it's there. We don't really give it extra thought. We handle it because it's what Christian needs, and as a parent, you just do for your children what they need. I've been tube feeding for over six years, so giving a tube feeding doesn't take anymore thought or effort from me than preparing Chandler his lunch. Christian's needs are just second nature to us at this point.

I worried that making a fuss over Christian's condition or differences would indicate to him that something was "wrong" with him. If they are worth making a fuss over, then I figured that would clue Christian in that there was some big deal to fuss over. I never want Christian to think he is defective, because he isn't. He is different and we are okay with that, so we speak matter-of-factly about his differences when issues arise. "Christian is blind" is about the same to us as saying "Christian has blonde hair." It's just a fact. There is no negative implication to it. So, that's how we speak about it.

I had also planned years ago how I was going to respond when this day came, the day he figured out and asked me about his differences. I decided that I would be cool and calm, making sure that my voice conveyed my message of "no big deal" to Christian.

Sure, there are times when his differences are a little bit of a big deal, but in every day life, they really aren't important. What's important is Christian, his happiness, his quality of life, his education, his abilities, his progress, his health; but my fear was that if we made a fuss over the differences, if we pointed them out or acted like they mattered, then Christian would pick up on that. And by the same token, if we treated it as no big deal, then Christian would pick up on that, too.

"What did you say, Christian?" I asked him, leaning in to make sure I could hear every word above Chandler bouncing around and chatting.

He reached up to his face and touched near his eyes, "What happened to my eyes when I was born, Mommy?"


As I began to answer, nervousness, anxiousness, and sympathy set in.  I have known this day was coming for a long time, but I wasn't expecting it just yet. I feel an immense pressure to give the right answer, to convey to Christian how amazing he is, even when, and especially when, I talk about his differences.

I don't believe that Christian just suddenly came to some realization that he is different in that moment and asked me about it. I don't think, still, that Christian now fully understands that he is different, or how. I sort of thought that it would happen suddenly; that one day he would go from not knowing to knowing. That isn't really how it's happening. He is picking up on things, slowly, and figuring it out piece by piece.

I think he has heard someone, probably me, say something about his difference. I think he has been churning it in his mind since he heard it, and at that moment, it came to the forefront of his thoughts, so he asked about it. I have recently done several phone interviews at home, and of course Christian is there with me, so I wonder if he didn't hear me talking about his eyes there, explaining to someone over the phone exactly what his condition is.

Christian is such a random kid. I can ask him if he's hungry and he will start telling me about our trip to the grocery store last week. Christian talks about whatever he's thinking about, not necessarily what's going on right at that moment, and not necessarily what everyone else is talking about at that moment. He processes the world in his own special way, and it might take days of replaying things over in his head before he has fully processed something. As he replays things he's heard or experienced, he will randomly talk about them. I usually know what he's talking about because I am usually with him, so I have a point of reference to carry on his random conversations as if they are totally normal. They really are normal.  What six year old isn't random at times, right? Most people just don't have that point of reference like I do to carry on Christian's random conversations, and so they can't hold those conversations, although they are usually kind enough to try. It's sweet to see strangers ask Christian how he is, and when he answers that he has a pet fish, they smile and ask him to tell them more about that fish :)

So I began my answer, letting the words fall slowly as I chose each one carefully and purposefully. "Well, you were born with different eyes, Baby. But that's okay. I love your eyes just the way they are!" That's what came out of my mouth in that moment.  I was okay with that answer. I hoped Christian would be. I held my breath waiting for a reply. I wondered if he would ask more questions, and he did.

"What is that?" he asked as he touched near his eye again, doing his version of pointing.

"That's your left eye," was my answer.

He moved his hand to "point" to his right eye, "What is that?"

Again, I said, " That's your right eye."

The conversation took a casual turn about something total unrelated (my random child) and I knew we were not going to be getting much deeper at this point. Christian asked how many eyes he had and then counted them. Then asked me how many nostrils he had. (Lol! Crazy kid!)

Our "normal" family :)
I smiled with relief that he was satisfied with my answer. I was also relieved that my answer came out as well as it did. I don't know for sure how eloquent my answer sounded, but I don't think it was terrible. I gave him a hug and kissed his forehead and that was it.

I've been waiting for this day for six years. I knew it would come. It wasn't as terrible as I thought it might be. I was scared that I wouldn't be able to give Christian an answer that he was okay with, or worse, I was afraid that when he asked me about his eyes, it would be because he was upset about them or had heard someone say something unkind about them.

I'm so thankful that his question was simple and unemotional. I'm thankful that he hasn't caught on to the notion that some people hold that his eyes are "bad." I'm thankful that I am getting a chance to give him his first impressions about his difference and make them positive and happy.

This parenting gig is a hard one, y'all. I am praying for grace and discernment to do it well! God is giving richly. <3

36 comments:

  1. Christian is beautiful and what a beautiful, loving family you have, Lacey!

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  2. You are such an amazing mom. I know you have many struggles, but you should be proud of yourself. Christian is so blessed to have you for a mom. I also love the family photo.

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  3. Oooh, Lacey! I love your family! And you answered Christian's question as only his amazing, loving mom could!

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  4. Christian is an amazing child with amazing parents who will do amazing things. Amazing Grace, how sweet thou art...

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  5. Christian is blessed to have such a great mommy and support system. Love the updates and pics. You have beautiful children.

    Sincerely,
    Shelly Sommers

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  6. You are one amazing mummy to both of your boys. Christian will maybe ask that question sometime in the future again and you can tell him he is fearfully and wonderfully made in the likeness of God.
    Sending love to your family xx

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  7. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ✝⚓❤

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  8. To you ms Lacey ..I admire your being such a strong woman amidst the struggles..you are the best mother with amazing children.May the Lord continue to bless you and your family..and may the Lord guide you more and give you wisdom to be a great influence to all mothers.

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  9. You amaze me! Christian is a handsome smart boy! You are an awesome mom!

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  10. You amaze me! Christian is a handsome smart boy! You are an awesome mom!

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  11. I love this family. Christian doesn't have earthly eyes. He doesn't see in the way we see. He sees with the eyes of heaven. His heart shows him all he needs to "see"

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  12. Well done Lacey. You are doing great. Much love and God Bless
    Love Carol xx

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  13. Lacey .. your answer to Christian's question was perfect and beautiful! Thank you for sharing stories about yourself, Christian and your entire family ..and for being such a role model for others !! I have followed your story from the beginning and would love to follow your Blog as well. .. Much Love and Many Blessings !!

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  14. I can only comment as someone who has witnessed the grace and God's love come through you and light the world in both of your boys. Christian and Chandler are great boys, who have super woman for a mom. Love forever

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  15. This was as good as any mum could of told their young child, and Christian was happywith that. Bless you all. Such a lovely family. Read your book throgh the eyes of hope. Its brought tears and laughter to my face. Hugs XXX

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  16. This was as good as any mum could of told their young child, and Christian was happywith that. Bless you all. Such a lovely family. Read your book throgh the eyes of hope. Its brought tears and laughter to my face. Hugs XXX

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  17. Been following you for years and your answer to OUR Christian was the perfect answer! Bless you and your wonderful family. Prayers and thoughts always..

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  18. I think your answer was perfect and you are an awesome Mom! I saw your video that you shared with the cards that you lifted one at a time to describe your situation. You are amazing!

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  19. I want to say this in the nicest way that I can. It's absolutely none of my business. I am not out to attack anyone. I started following you after I saw your first little notecard video because I thought you were inspirational! After reading this, you talking about how you don't make a big fuss about Christian's differences, I realized that you do make a big fuss about his differences! It's almost all you talk about! You wrote a book about it! Even this whole blog is about Christian and his differences! In fact, I wonder if one day he'll be resentful that you used his differences to make money. I found this blog placed in your FB post as suggested reading, like a little marketing trick....hey y'all check out my blog to hear about what I said to Christian when he asked.... Everyone knows you make money off how many people view your blog. I don't find you to be inspirational anymore because now, to me, it just seems like you are using your child's differences to make money. I don't think your intentions are bad. Maybe you don't even realize It. But l would bet that one day when he's much older this issue will come up. That is all. *End Rant*

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    1. Funny how perspectives are so different. my perspective has always been how many lives Lacey has touched in a very beneficial way by sharing Christian's life. I have to believe that it has come at a very big cost because of the criticism she receives from some people and because of the time and energy it takes. Lacey has blessed the lives of so many parents who share her experience of having a child with a disability. She is someone who can articulate what she is learning and how she copes and always keeps it real. Having a child with a disability can be isolating emotionally and physically. Lacey has touched lives in another way and that is by teaching people who don't have a disability or a child with a disability which results in greater acceptance. That benefits parents and individuals with disability on a much larger scale. One other way Lacey is touching lives is by sharing God's love and witnessing how He touches lives. As far as benefiting financially, the costs of raising a child with a disability and one that needs considerable medical treatment and surgeries is phenomenal. Lacey lives a modest life. I am certain that any financial gain has already been spent on medical expenses and necessities for Christian. Lacey has chosen a legal profession and intends to use it to advocate for children with disabilities and support parents. Point being is that Lacey is a giver, not a taker. When Christian is older, my guess is that is focus is going to be on how loved he is and the opportunities that his mother provided for him rather than feeling that his mom capitalized on his disability. Just wanted to share another way of thinking which is to give Lacey the benefit of the doubt...that she has good motives rather than judging her. It is through discussing Christian's experience with disability and her experience as a parent that she is working towards the greater good.

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    2. Im just shocked that you'd think and actually verbalize that you actually think i dont deserve to be paid for the work i do. Just because i found a way to write about what i love, that somehow means i am less deserving? Your logic makes no sense. I was writing about Christian long before i made a penny to do so, and with lots of hard work, I've been able to help feed my kids and keep a roof over their head. That's a good thing. And somehow you see the bad in it. It's shocking really. I wonder how many other authors you have decided and told that they should work for free because they write about what they love. Sigh. Anyways, i never asked you to find me inspirational, so it's fine if you dont. Not sure why you threw that in there except to take a cheap shot. I find you, what i know of you, annoying and pretentious, so i guess we can agree to disagree and move on.

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    3. That lady's response to the post was literally all about herself and her feelings...brush that off and keep marching on. Keep writing and loving your child.

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    4. Usually if you have to start out with "I'm not attacking anyone", you shouldn't even comment in the first place.

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    5. Karen KerrAugust 4, 2017 at 6:05 AM
      Well Marsha Turner how about you unfollow Christians FB page and anything else if his your following and keep your thoughts to yourself. Obviously your parents never taught you "you can think something but don't say it!!" Very disappointed in you and obviously you have nothing better to do!! Rant Over!

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    6. Lacey doesn't make a big to do about Christians eyes to HIM. What part of that is hard for you to understand? She treats him like she would any other child (except maybe watch a bit closer so he doesn't run into something) How dare you misconstrue her words and her ways of child rearing.
      God forbid that you have have a special needs child and decide to write a book about it so the world can see your baby and try to help other parents with a disabled child!
      Boo to you!
      Keep on keeping on Lacey! You ROCK it mom!!

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  20. It is possible for him to recirve an eye transplant? Or is that not an option? He's fine the way he is I'm just wondering.

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  21. You let little Christian know that a couple people from North East Tennnessee think he's a handsome little boy and you all are in our prayers.
    God Bless,
    The Williams family

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  22. You are a beautiful family!! And you are what is right in this wonderful world of ours!! Christian is a beautiful boy!! Every time I see your posts, I marvel at what a wonderful mother you are!! You all are what is right in this world!! Diane Lafreniere ❤️

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  23. Hii I am from India. I was seriously hurt by comments made by Marshel Turner. Lacey you are such a brilliant mother and sure an inspiration to many women. You have proved that how a parents with a special child needs to take things normally and be open to the world. Your son will be a very confident gentleman because of you, the way you have treated and made him realise how beautiful the world is. Salute to you mom.i can write so much for you but I am keeping it short. Love to you and your family from India. And yes a true blessings to all of you. Keep going as you have been and we all love reading your blogs and seeing your family pics.

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  24. Lacey, you're doing a wonderful job. Don't worry about the questions. He doesn't have the baggage of the world on him & he doesn't want much info. You gave a perfect answer. Even if you didn't (& it WILL happen some day), the love & normality of your life, the way you work hard & love him...that will cover over the little mistakes here & there.

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  26. Well done Mummy!! You handled that beautifully! xx

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  27. You have a beautiful family! I have been following you for years. I enjoy watching Christian grow and learn. I think you are a amazing mommy. Christian is so lucky to have you by his side for the journey of life. Christian is a very handsome young man.

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