Christian Taylor Buchanan

Christian Taylor Buchanan

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Today I Failed As a Parent

Yes, you read that title correctly. Today I failed as a parent. Being a mom, being a good mom, has always just come naturally to me. I have a wonderful mom who really influenced that nurturing instinct in me. There's a saying that a child can only give what they receive, and I must say I received a lot of affection and nurturing and love in my childhood, and so it's always come easy to me to give affection and to nurture and love. And I feel that so far, in my 2 years and 10 months of mothering, I've done a pretty good job.

But today, I really feel like a failure as a parent. Three weeks and 1 day after Christian's first palate reconstruction, I failed him. Three weeks and one day after Christian underwent major reconstructive surgery on his palate, I messed up big time. Day one into being released from wearing his arm restraints, I allowed Christian to go play in his brother's room unsupervised. This wasn't an issue or problem before surgery because our house is small and I can hear him at all times, there's nothing in there for him to get into except a toy box, and I peek in often. However, after surgery, we were on high alert. There was to be nothing, absolutely nothing in Christian's mouth for fear of puncturing or opening up his palate. The arm restraints were to prevent him from putting anything in his mouth himself by stopping his elbows from bending, but he didn't have to wear them anymore after yesterday.

Today Christian sat in his brother's room, not being watched, without his arm restraints, and it happened. He punctured a hole in his palate. I'm not sure how or on what, I just know it's there, and I am sick. My immediate reaction of "Oh God, no!" scared Christian a little bit. I guess he thought he was in trouble. As I frantically begged him to open his mouth and let me see, he became more scared. And there it was. His beautifully reconstructed palate punctured. My heart sank, I burst into tears, and my logical self began thinking what course of action needed to be taken.

There was no blood, and no safety concern for Christian, so I decided just to call his doctors office and leave a message. Realizing that it was too late in the day to get a call back from them (they are an hour ahead of me) I called Christian's Mimi who has been to all his appointments with me in Indianapolis and asked her what I should do next. She instructed me to call one of the surgeons who had operated on Christian, Dr. Costa, and email Dr. Flores, the main surgeon on his case. Dr. Costa called me back and, at least, put my mind at ease in assuring me that we probably don't need to rush to Indianapolis for emergency surgery.

I could absolutely kick myself for letting it happen. Why didn't I just make him play in the living room? Why didn't I just leave the arm restraints on him? Ugh!!!!!!!! I am so mad at myself. Today I have failed Christian. I know he won't remember this incident, but I know it will stay with me.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Why I Won't Allow My Toddler to Have Cosmetic Surgery

It strikes me as odd that I have been asked many, many times if I will have Christian undergo cosmetic surgery to repair his birth defect. Apparently, it's not an odd question to most people, because I could not tell you how many times I've been asked. The number literally lurks somewhere close to 500, if I had to guess. I am not AT ALL offended by the question, and I enjoy explaining my answer, but still, I find it odd to be asked.

Imagine your beautiful child that you simply adore. Her little button nose, those ears he got from his daddy, that little smile with that one not-so-straight tooth right up front, those freckles that dot her cheeks, that bright red hair, or that jet black hair. As you imagine that, I am sure you have a few emotions that go along with it: adoration, admiration, love. You probably think that your child is the prettiest thing you've laid eyes on. Well, when I look at my child, with tissue in the place of where eyes should be, and a crooked smile that never stops smiling, those long eyelashes he inherited from me, the three scars on his face that remind me of the journey we've been on, that head full of beautiful, dirty blonde hair, and a nose that is now slightly off because of surgery, I feel exactly the same way. And why wouldn't I? Before he was born, I dreamed of this child, I imagined myself holding him and kissing his sweet little cheeks. I prayed for this child, so fervently, that God would allow him to live and me to raise him. I loved this child, with a passion that I have yet to be able to adequately put into words. I carried this child inside of my body, a bond that is indescribable.
Our perfectly imperfect family

So let me present this question to you about your beautiful child, and then explain a few things. There will be people who don't think your perfect child is as perfect as you do. What if those people suggested to you to get your child cosmetic surgery? What if they said, "Are you going to allow doctors to fix that incredibly large nose?" or "You know doctors can remove those freckles with just a few procedures" or "If you get cosmetic surgery for your child, she will fit in better and others won't pick on her." Devastating. Unreal. Who would really allow their young child (or even teenage child) to undergo cosmetic surgery to change their features, the features that you happen to adore in them? Heck, I can remember the controversy that went on a few years ago about a new trend of teenagers getting plastic or cosmetic surgery to "fit in" better and what an uproar it caused. It's just not an acceptable thing to do.

Although Christian looks different than most people, that also hold true for me. I've had to ask myself, and answer the question, "Am I really willing to let my child undergo cosmetic or plastic surgery simply so he can "look better" or "fit in?"" And my answer is no. Now, listen to this as coming from a mother. I say that because I had a plastic surgeon  COMPLETELY misinterpret this statement once. He had suggested to me to put Christian through an 8 hour neurosurgery,(Warning: this part gets a little graphic) where he would cut Christian's head open from one ear to the other, pull the skin back, cut the skull open, move the skull bone down, and reattach it with metal screws and wires that would be in Christian's head for the rest of his life. And the purpose of this MAJOR surgery? Are you ready for this? To lower his right brow bone and make his face more symmetrical. I was flabbergasted. The first thing I could manage to say was "Do you really think the ends justify the means here? Eight hour neurosurgery to just drop his brow bone?" And the doctor was shocked at my question, and didn't really answer it. He fumbled and stumbled and danced around my question, but never backed down that Christian needed this surgery. With the voice of a shaky, young mother who was so unsure about so many things, I tried to explain to the doctor why I couldn't allow that surgery, and why something so cosmetic could not possibly justify an eight hour neurosurgery. About a year later, when we were at Children's for a different specialty, a nurse was reading off Christian's chart to me. She got to the plastic surgery part, and she read "Mother refuses any more surgeries for her child." My mouth dropped. I immediately stopped her and said "THAT IS NOT TRUE!!!!!! Why would he write that?!?" And then it hit me. He completely misunderstood what I had said about Christian and cosmetic surgery.

So, don't misunderstand me on this. Does Christian need surgery? Yes. Will I allow him to have those necessary surgeries? Absolutely!!!! Do I want him to have unnecessary surgery? Absolutely not.

And here's why:
Christian will have many reconstructive surgeries over his lifetime. But there is a difference between reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery. His hard and soft palate were affected by his birth defect, and he will need to have that closed so that he can eat and talk properly. He will also have eye lids formed so that he can open and close his eyes, for protection purposes. He will have lots of surgery to correct his birth defect., and by lots, I mean several dozen  That is the short answer for what he will have done, and we will allow him to have these surgeries.

We, as a family, have decided, however, not to put Christian through lots of purely cosmetic surgeries to correct his facial features for several reasons. For one, we don't want to put Christian through more surgeries then he will already have to undergo. Surgery means that Christian will be in pain, scared, away from the comforts of home, missing out on being a child, friends, toys, fun. To add to the number of surgeries he will have just so he can "look better" seems illogical.

And it seems illogical because we think he is beautiful and perfect just as he is. So, we asked ourselves, if we really think he's beautiful, does it make sense to put him through tons of cosmetic surgery? We feel strongly about helping Christian to grow up KNOWING that he is perfect just the way he is, keeping his self esteem high, and teaching him to love himself. And we feel that we could not tell him those things and have him believe them if we do not prove that we believe them. And if we're constantly letting doctors perform surgery on him to "fix the way he looks," how can we prove to him that we believe he's perfect?

Now, that's not to say that when he gets older, if he decides that he wants the surgeries that we would say no. We would support him 100%. But for us, putting him through painful and scary procedures just so that the world will think he looks better is just simply against all logic and reason!

The truth is, no one is "perfect." We all have our own flaws. The secret isn't to get them fixed or hide them, it's to learn to love those imperfect things about yourself. The truth is also that there is no such thing as "normal." Who gets to decide what normal is, anyways? Ask two different people and you will get two completely different answers. In a world that screams "Fit in," I want Christian to know that it's okay to stand out!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Is This Really What Our Society is Becoming?

Is this really what our society is becoming? I had to ask myself the question when I came across this photo on my Facebook feed today. As I read, I could feel my face getting red. My heart just broke for the mother who had to open this piece of trash, and my temper flared at the thought of someone being so nasty and full of hate. This letter, so cowardly addressed with a made up signature instead of a real name, simply makes me sick. I can just see the letter's author, tiptoeing onto this mom's front porch, stashing the note, and running away like the coward she is, before anyone could see her. 

I have a pretty good sized social media following, so I do want to address the coward who wrote that, on the off chance she sees this. But, I won't waste too much space, as she just isn't worth it. To her I say this: You need some serious emotional, and possibly mental, help if you can harbor so much hate that you feel the need or desire to attack a child with a diminished mental capacity or his family. Please seek help so that you can stop spreading the blatantly apparent emotional disease that's eating you alive from the inside.

But that's not really the reason I wanted to address this. Most of you who will read this will do so because you adore my sweet child who has a very physically evident disability. I seriously doubt that anyone who thinks the way the author of that letter does will take the time to open my blog and read it. But you guys are the ones I really wanted to share with.

When I asked myself the question "Is this really what our society is becoming" after reading this letter, I was disheartened. But immediately I began thinking of all the times that I have been attacked because of Christian's disability, and how quickly so many people came to my defense, and I remembered the force and the passion with which you have stood up for me and my family. I also thought about the 100,000+ followers Christian has, and how you celebrate every tiny achievement and every huge milestone that Christian accomplished, right along beside me, as if he was a member of your very own family. I thought of the gifts he has received and the friends we have gotten the privilege to met over the last few years. And in less time than it took to read that nasty letter, I answered my own question.

And the answer is a resounding "NO!" This is NOT what our society is becoming. This is NOT representative of the majority of our population. I believe most people would agree, that letter, that mindset, and that attitude possessed by that person are NOT okay. In fact, it's down right repulsive, sick, and straight from hell. And I think many of you would agree with me when I say that I question the mental capacity of anyone who would or could find it within themselves to author and deliver such a vile piece of garbage to another human being, let alone even think it.

I take pride in the fact that people come to me with questions about disabilities stuff. I love when people ask me questions. Some of my favorites have to be "How can I teach my children to accept people who have disabilities?" and "What is a non-offensive way to approach someone who is differently abled?" Okay, so I paraphrased there, but you get the idea. When people ask me questions like that, not only do I enjoy sharing my opinions and insights into the subject matter, but it gives me hope that there are people out there who genuinely care, who would rather wrap in love, the mama and child that were the subject of this letter, then to ever cause them any heartache.

My hope is that that letter is shared all over social media, partly because I hope that this, and a LOT of other messages of disgust, get back around to the author. But I also hope that as we share that image, we can all rally together in agreement that things like that are NOT okay, and that we can let our voices be heard in saying out loud "That is not acceptable." And hopefully one day, letters like that won't be written.

I've said this before and I will end with it because it bears repeating. In some societies, those with special needs are revered so much that people will bow down when they enter a room. It is believed that they are put on the earth not to learn like the rest of us, but to teach. Oh that WE could be such a society!!!!!!!!!!

Follow up: This letter is now making the news, and is causing outrage across the country, as it should! Read this story about the letter here:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

To Parents of Special Needs Children, This is For You

To all the parents out there who have children with disabilities or special needs, who endure stares and whispers, and ugly comments, who can't post pictures of their child on Facebook without strangers making rude comments about a child who lives every day with struggles that most people couldn't imagine and couldn't handle. This is for you.

 To anyone out there who feels the need to make an ugly comment, stare, point, or whisper because someone happens to look different than you or your children, or what you deem to be "normal":

You are blessed with a child that doesn't have special needs, with a child that doesn't have a disability, with a child that hasn't had to battle a life threatening disease. Not everyone gets that blessing. You should be down on your hands and knees thanking God that your child isn't blind. You should be down on your hands and knees thanking God that your child can breathe without the help of a vent. You should be down on your hands and knees thanking God that your child can hear without the help of Cochlear implants. You should be down on your hands and knees thanking God that your child doesn't know what it's like to have chemotherapy medication running through their veins.You should be down on your hands and knees thanking God that you get to watch your child take his first steps, and run and play, that he doesn't need a walker or a wheelchair to get around. You should be down on your hands and knees thanking God that your child has never had to have surgery, that you don't know what's it's like to sit in a hospital room and watch your child fight for his life, struggle with pain, struggle with things that some adults have never had to deal with. You should be down on your hands and knees thanking God that you're healthy, that you never had to endure these struggles yourself, let alone your children.

But yet, you can't find the time to do that because you're too busy making fun of a child who's endured more in two years than you've ever had to endure in your whole life. And let me tell you something, if that's you, your soul is black. Your soul is dark. And you need to find Jesus, and you need to get down on your hands and knees and thank Him that you were blessed with a healthy body and healthy children, because not all of us get that lucky.

Before you ever opened your mouth to make a rude comment, that parent already knew her child was different. She didn't need you to tell her. That parent already knew that her child's birth defect was visibly noticeable before you pointed it out. That parent already knew that there would be people like you who open their mouth and react before they take the time to think about what they say and how it might impact others. That parent knew, long before they ever knew who you were, that there would be people like you who don't want to know the truth, the whole story, who just want to use their words to hurt and tear others down. But let me tell you something, you should be the one being stared at, because normal people don't go around trying to destroy others.

Now that doesn't mean special needs parents are not blessed. We just get blessed in different, and usually BIGGER, ways. Let me tell you something, if I could go back, knowing what I know now, knowing the struggles we would face, I wouldn't change a single thing. I would never change who my son is and who he is becoming, because despite what you might think, and despite what you see, HE IS AMAZING.

So next time that you want to open your mouth and say something rude or hurtful about my child, why don't you drop down on your knees and thank God instead that your children haven't had to go through what mine has.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Christian is turning 2!!!!

Christian's 1st Birthday Picture :)

February 18th is a huge day for us! It is a day to dance and sing and cry and celebrate the birth of a miracle child, our miracle child! Christian came into the world on that day in 2011, and boy did he ever make an impact! The world will never be the same since his first breath! I may be guilty of going a little overboard with Christian's birthday, but that is why! I am celebrating more than just a birth, I am celebrating a miracle! :)

Wow!!! This time last year, I was an emotional mess because my sweet little boy, who doctors predicted might not even live, was turning one! Can you imagine how emotional I am this year? That sweet little boy is now a toddler, he has a beautiful little brother on the way, and I am very pregnant! In other words, please expect the water works at his party this year!!!! :)

This year, just like last, we celebrate so many accomplishments, milestones, and joyous times! Christian learned to crawl at 14 months, he has learned to say many, many words, he usually meets all of his goals in his therapies every 2 months, and he makes his mommy and daddy so so so proud! Christian has traveled to 8 states in the second year of his life. We have been to North Carolina (on a lay over), Virginia (to shoot a pro-life video), to Ohio (to visit Nationwide Children's Hospital), Florida (for vacation), Alabama (on our way to Florida for Vacation), New Orleans (on a lay over), Arizona (on a lay over), and California (for the West Coast Walk for Life). He gets around doesn't he?!?! :)

And let's not forget that when Christian was 15 months old, his YouTube video went viral and spread across the world, making him a little celebrity, and gaining us so many new and amazing friends!

What a year it has been! Can you imagine if I had not chosen life for him, what this last year could've been like? This blog would not exist, and I wouldn't be telling you about Christian's 2nd birthday and all he's done this year. Many of you reading this wouldn't even know I exist. I would not have met so many of you and have so many amazing friendships that I didn't have last year. But most of all, I would not know the absolute purest joy and love in my life, my sweet Christian. :)

Everyone is asking about his birthday this year and what you can do for him. So, I have a lot of ideas that I wanted to share with you all, which is why I am putting it in blog form!

Of course, we have an Amazon wishlist where you can always find things that Christian would enjoy or that we need. The link is here:
Of course, that list does not have a ton of stuff on it, because I try to be realistic and not ask for things we don't need.

Secondly, if you find that the list just doesn't have what you'd like to send, we welcome any gifts and we appreciate them so very much! I can't think of a single thing we've ever received that we didn't enjoy! If you would like to ask me about a present before you buy it just to make sure we don't already have it, please feel free to email me at Also, if you send me an email when you are ready to send a gift, I will happily tell you our address to send it to. Our address is not private by any means and we will give it out for mailing purposes, but I do try not to post it in public forums. :)

Thirdly, if you prefer not to send a gift, but would still like to do something, my friends Mary, Candice, and Marisa are working VERY VERY hard in actively running the GiveForward website and it's fundraising campaign to help raise money for Christian's medical expenses that his insurance is refusing to pay for. I can assure you that every penny that is sent there gets sent to us. Mary, Candice, and Marisa get nothing for doing this except my undying gratitude and love! They are amazing! The link for that is here:

I have some more exciting news for anyone who may have already done these things in the past or is looking for another opportunity to give for Christian's birthday. Many of you have heard about Special Kids, where Christian receives all but one of his therapies and where he goes for daycare (aka nursing care) twice a week while I'm at my doctor's appointments, etc. They are totally non profit and run on love from others. They help kids with all kinds of special needs in all walks of life to overcome obstacles that they face. We love Special Kids with a passion in case you can't tell! They have been so so good to us and they love Christian and do so much for him that I couldn't do alone!

So, they have started a campaign for the month of February called "Do it For Love" with Valentines coming up and all.  So I though it would be neat to celebrate the Do it For Love Campaign to coincide with Christian's birthday and anyone who wanted to could give to Special Kids in honor of Christian during his birthday month! There are several things you could do!

If you are local, please consider signing up for the Special Kids Race, and running for Team Christian! We will be there this year in full force, wearing our Super C shirts! The race is a fundraiser that Special Kids puts on every year. Runners (and walkers) from all over come and join in the 15k, 5k, or 1 mile fun run! We will be doing the 1 mile fun run again this year considering I will be 8 months pregnant! :) The cost of the race is minimal, but the impact you can make by participating is huge! And Christian benefits from every penny that Special Kids raises! You can sign up for Team Christian and the Special Kids Race at

If you are not local and can't come run with us, but are still interested in helping Team Christian reach it's fundraising goal for the race this year, you can donate directly to Special Kids at our fundraising page also known as our "impact page" because we are impacting Special Kids in such a positive way! If you donate here, the money goes straight to Special Kids, and it counts toward Team Christian's fundraising goal! You can check out our impact page and donate here:

Another way that you can help Special Kids if these first two options don't tickle your fancy, Special Kids has started an Amazon wishlist as well. It is full of things that they need in their therapies and nursing to help the kids be all they can be and get the best care possible. If you would like to browse their wishlist, please visit here:
And if you see something that you feel compelled to send them, please do! Anything purchased on that list will go directly to Special Kids and will be used for the kids! It is very possible that some of what is purchased on this list will be used for Christian!

So, I hope I have given you all some great ideas about Christian's birthday and ways that you can get involved! Please feel free to email me if you have other ideas or questions about his birthday!

Also, for anyone who is close enough to attend his actual party, here is the Online invitation! We would LOVE to have you join us!!!!/events/330152270419702/

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Experiences with Bullying

For anyone who follows us on Facebook, you have probably, at one time or another, seen someone make a rude or hateful comment on a photo I've posted of Christian. It has been happening pretty much since he was born. In fact, much of the reason that I decided to make the video that went viral was because of all the negative comments that we would receive, whether through social media or face to face when we were out in public with Christian. And I have to say, I am tired of it. I sometimes find myself unable to deal with a hateful comment on a particular day, or exhausted with the idea of checking my email and finding another rude comment left on my YouTube Channel. So this blog is my outlet to vent my frustrations and share my wisdom on the matter. I consider myself a professional at handling bullying, after all, considering all the bullying I've dealt with over the last few years.

At first, the comments hurt. I remember the day that I first took Christian out in in public, to the grocery store, and many of you have heard me talk about that experience before. I've spoken about it multiple times in interviews. The part about that day that I remember the most vividly was the feeling in the pit of my stomach that those comments left, and the tears that I couldn't hold back as I put Christian in the car and drove home. I remember getting Christian home, wrapping him in a blanket, and cuddling him up close to me, and telling him that those people were wrong. I told him how beautiful he was, and how he was the most perfect thing I had ever laid eyes on. He was only 2 or 3 months old then. He had no idea what those people had said. Heck, he still doesn't understand things like that. He also had no idea what I was telling him. But I said those words to him, I guess, maybe as my way of responding to the hurt. I could not comprehend, and still don't,why someone who had no idea who we were felt compelled to say hurtful things about an innocent child. What could their purpose be except to hurt us? What motive could they have except hate?

I didn't tell anyone about that day for a long time, especially my husband and my family. In fact, I'm not sure they had ever heard that story until the video went viral last May. I decided that the pain of knowing what those people had said was just another burden that I didn't want them to have. We were all already so heartbroken over the last few months, with finding out Christian was blind at birth, our 4 miserable weeks in the NICU, one surgery already taken place and another scheduled for just a few weeks from then, and the struggles we had in taking him home and trying to figure out how to care for him. I didn't want to add yet another weight to my family's already broken spirits.

So I went on dealing with these comments by myself as best I could. I even did experiments. I tried different methods of reacting to the comments to see which reaction would have the most positive affect. I tried getting upset, being rude, explaining myself, questioning them, ignoring them, you name it. Occasionally the scenario would play out in a good way, and leave me feeling a little better, but that wasn't usually the case. Usually, no matter what I said, the conversation was awkward, I was clumsy, and I left with that familiar pit in my stomach.

After the video went viral, because we were in the public eye, the rude comments became more frequent, and more vulgar. Not that the rude comments were the dominating factor, because they weren't. The majority of the comments we received were so loving and heartfelt that many of them brought me to tears. But the rude ones still stung none the less.

At one point, on my YouTube Channel, I had a group of individuals who apparently banded together to attack me. Four or five people spent one entire day leaving comment after comment, unprovoked, with no replies from me or anyone else. The comments ranged from things I couldn't understand such as an apparent reference to their so called "group," to stating that they planned to "rape that baby in his eye sockets." There were dozens of comments in between that included references to masturbating to photos of Christian, threats to murder him and rape me if we were found, and you get the idea. Comments like these didn't leave that pit in my stomach. They were obviously comments made by people who were sick and unstable. They did, however, terrify me. I took screen shots of all the comments and filed a complaint with the FBI's Cyber Crimes Unit. I got an e-mail almost immediately informing me that they had received my complaint and were looking into it, and a phone call a few days later from my local FBI, getting all the information they could collect. The officer that had our case finally concluded that the people who made those threats were not in the United States, and therefore the FBI wasn't going to go any further at that time due to a lack of threat of danger, but that if anything else presented itself, they would take appropriate action.

Although I've not received any comments to that extreme since that instance, I have received plenty that were just vile and full of hate. I've had people tell me that I should be ashamed for exploiting Christian, ashamed for letting him live such a miserable life, ashamed for posting his photos on Facebook and expecting not to get rude comments. I've had people tell me that my "kid is a walking abortion." I've had people post hate comments on my photos and insist that they won't stop until I block them. I've had people who get mad at me because they saw a photo I posted. They tell me that they didn't want to see it and it's my fault. Even when I explain to them that I didn't post the photo on their Facebook page, and that they must have seen it because one of their friends liked or commented, they still curse at me until I block them. My favorite new term has to be "kill it with fire" which is apparently a "common phrase" nowadays, used by people my age and even younger as a bullying tactic. When I was younger, bullying consisted of "fart face" and if you really didn't like someone, "retard." It's a sad commentary on our society when threats to kill someone are just common place and overlooked as if the person had been called a "fart face."

Two nights ago, I saw a guy posting comments on a photo of mine, saying how dare I photoshop photos of my kid to get pity. I sent him a friend request and a generic message, hoping to just get the opportunity to chat and "win him over" so to speak. I found out he lived about an hour from me, so I started with small talk about that. I didn't mention his rude comments at all or Christian. His response was to call me a sick person and to leave him "the hell alone." I replied saying that I noticed that he had lived closed by and just wanted to say hi, along with an apology for bothering him. He replied again calling me evil. I explained that he was welcome to Google about Christian's birth defect and see that it was a real condition, but again apologized for having bothered him. He kept messaging me about photoshopping photos of Christian until I finally just had to block him to stop the messages. Lesson learned there for sure! I probably won't attempt to make friends with people who make rude comments anymore, not because I don't want to; but that definitely taught me that some people just don't want to understand.

I am not naive. I have come to realize that as long as Christian is seen in social media, there will be rude comments and hateful people who can't be "won over" so to speak. I have also come to realize that I can't stop it. All I can do is control how I react. God has done a MAJOR (I'm not even sure that word is adequate) work in my life in the last 2 years on forgiveness. True forgiveness, the kind where I can think of those people who said that they wanted to rape Christian and not wish harm to them. The kind where I can see a rude comment that was just posted, and although my blood immediately starts boiling and my heart starts pounding, and I want to lash out at them, I can muster up enough of myself to say something respectful. I have learned that God doesn't expect me to only show respect to people who deserve, or to be kind only to people who are kind to me.  Don't get me wrong, it's not easy! I don't just breeze through those comments and smile and feel good about saying something polite to someone who just said "WTF is that thing?!" about a photo of Christian. It doesn't feel good at all, for the moment. But later, when I have calmed down, and I think about, I am always glad when I do react positively. And when I fail to act respectfully, and do lose my cool with someone, I always regret it later. When people bully, the point is to hurt you, knock you down, and make you feel worthless. Surely they don't expect you to just agree with them! When I react negatively and lose my cool, they have accomplished their purpose, they have won, and I feel knocked down. When I stay calm and react to that hate in a way that I know I should, I have peace about it, I don't feel defeated, and the bully has not done what they set out to do which is hurt me. So really, when you think about it, what good does retaliation do anyways? It is simply giving the bully what they are seeking. Is getting the "last word" or calling the worst name really winning?

What God has taught me, most importantly, is that one day, Christian WILL know what those people are saying about him, he WILL hear rude comments while he's out in public, and I cannot protect him from that, but I am not powerless. I can teach Christian how to handle those moments, just as I have had to handle them for the last 2 years. I can show him that getting upset won't make it better or make it stop. I can show him that what those people say has no affect on his value and self worth, and does not diminish who God has created him to be, and all the good his life has brought into this world.

So, why have I spent the last 9 paragraphs on how Christian and I have been bullied and how we react to it, when you probably figured that this post was going to be about all those people who need to stop bullying? It's because I'm convinced that bullying will never stop on a large scale, because bullying doesn't happen on a large scale. Bullying is an individual choosing to act in ignorance, using misguided or skewed information, to distort the truth in an attempt to judge, belittle, or provoke another individual. We have all witnessed it, and if we're honest, we have all probably participated in it at one time or another. We know well what it is, but the solution still eludes us.

The solution to bullying lies within each one of us, and  in my opinion, parents hold the predominate key to putting a stop to bullying altogether. When we raise our kids to know that saying mean things to or about others, even if we think they deserve it, is NOT ok, we are part of the solution. When we teach our kids to be slow to anger, and to control their emotions and use self restraint, we are part of the solution. When we use that restraint and self control ourselves, and be a living example, we are part of the solution. When we make sure that our children are included in the lives of others who are not like them, and show them how to respect those people for who they are, we are part of the solution. When we speak up when we see bullying take place, and don't just turn a blind eye, we are part of the solution.  When we stop using Facebook as an outlet to say things that we would never say to someone face to face, when we learn to live the Golden Rule, when realize that it's not all about me, when we open our hearts and minds to accept the fact that not everyone is going to believe what we believe or agree with everything we say and that it's OK, we are the solution. The solution really all boils down to one simple word: LOVE. When we choose to love others, not because they have done anything to deserve it or earn it, and not because we "have to," but because we want to be the solution, the world will change, one person at a time. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best "I have decided to stick with love, for hate is too big a burden to bear."
All I have to say, is how can you NOT love this face? It melts my heart every time!