“Mommy will you lay with me?” This is what he says every night and no matter how much I have on my mind or how many things I know I have to get done, I do it. I lay with him every night. Sometimes until he falls asleep, sometimes just for a few minutes after our story and song, but I do it. I lay with him to massage his scars on his arm, hand and cheek. He grabs my hand and puts it on his hand, the hand without the scars and says, “rub this one, it’s so nice.”
I have four children to spread my love amongst, three of them are girls. I love them all to the point my heart feels like it might explode. But Winston is special. Some might say it’s guilt, some might say it because he’s my only boy, or maybe it’s just the age he is at, but he makes me melt just by looking at his sweet little face.
Guilt? Yes, guilt. When Winston was only 11-months-old he was burned with hot water from the bath tub. It was a horrific event and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t get a little teary. I used to flashback often to those exact moments of that day and ponder upon all of the “what if’s.” Then think about his future, questioning what problems the scars will cause for him later in life. But I have slowly learned to just enjoy our moments together right now. His personality is such a unique one, I don’t really worry anymore about him making friends, having a girlfriend, or even being ashamed of his scars. As all parents/caretakers of toddlers know, they make you laugh! Even when things are so bad, they still make you laugh.
It wouldn’t do justice to quote him, because without his sweet little voice it just isn’t the same. But I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
A favorite author of mine taught me to enjoy right now.
– The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle. “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”
Living in the now is what has helped me to get through this. Talking about Winston’s Story. Doing something about it now. Sharing it today and every time the opportunity arises to talk about it. I don’t hesitate.
Some people may have disagreed with me sharing his story and sharing the horrible pictures, but it got their attention. Sadly it’s pictures like the ones shared in Winston’s story that draw us in. If I were to just type “check your water temps!” how many of you would listen? But if you were able to visualize what could happen in the event your hot water temp is scalding hot, you would be more likely to listen and act upon it, and possibly even tell others. That is my hope.
People are afraid to ask me directly “what happened to him?” But I know they are curious and that they want to know. And I am OK talking about it, and so is he! I don’t want him to be ashamed. If I see a curious face I will just say “he was burned with hot water, make sure you check your temps.” Those few simple words have impacted so many! Countless people have made it known to me that Winston’s story was the reason they checked their temps, or were able to convince a family member to turn theirs down. I continue to share his story hoping that it will continue to spread to those who are unaware.
Many suggestions were sent to me for Winston’s healing which John and I greatly appreciate. We went through the first year of healing wondering what we could be doing differently to help with the redness and scarring. Unfortunately, he has keloid tissue, which means the scar tissue is thicker than most. Two years later there are still areas that are red and thick. I think John and I tried almost everything. (I learned a ton about topical ointments and what ingredients to look for, but that’s for another topic.) It just really came down to massage. We are still considering some type of laser treatment in the future. But there are mixed opinions on what age to do this. As long as the scars aren’t affecting his activities of daily living it would be considered cosmetic and should be a choice he makes on his own later in life.
As I said before, he has a personality like no other, so at this time the scars are only there to remind us and others of the dangers of hot water. Most days I don’t even see the scars. Anyone lucky enough to know Winston also knows that his goofy sense of humor at only age 3 is enough to make the scars invisible to those around him. However, he does have a contagious smile that sticks with you forever. Winston loves being a curious boy and I’m sure there will be plenty of fears and tears as his mother in the future. But for now I am just enjoying being his mother, and watching him grow along with his three sisters!