My son Jess was born missing his left hand. He also was born with the sweetest face and the heart of a champion.

When he was born, all I could think of is all the things that he wouldn’t be able to do.

What I have learned is there is nothing he can’t do.

He has taught me so much about using what you’ve been given, and not worrying about what you haven’t.

Jess wants to be a firefighter, a cop, a superhero. It hasn’t occurred him that he is limited because of his stumpy. No one has ever told him that he ‘can’t’ do something or be anything. His prospects are as wide open as any child’s.

He believes that he can be anything he wants to be, and so do I.

We all know the pain of crushed dreams, and I know down the line, I won’t be able to protect him from life’s lessons. If I do my job right, he will be prepared to pick up those dreams and move on. I hope I am capable of doing my job right!

I have a wonderful role model in my own Mother. Though she is gone now, I have a lifetime of memories to pull my own actions from.

I was born with Rickets, due to an inability to absorb Vitamin D. My mom was first told that nothing was wrong with me, even though she could see that my legs weren’t straight. When she finally convinced the Doctors that something was wrong with my legs, I was put into braces, the kind that go from waist to shoes.

Oh, how I hated those braces!!

The Doctors told my Mom that I would never walk properly, but she didn’t believe them, and she made sure that I didn’t either. She never gave up on me.

Maybe because of all the extra attention, I was walking by 7 months old. Now, I did have a funny gait, but, I was walking. I still waddle a bit, but at least I proved I could do it.

The braces caused some emotional problems, and Mom and I decided to take them off when I was 4 years old. I have walked free without them ever since.

Thank you MOM!!

I think that a child will live up to the expectations and expecting a child to be limited will only lead to an adult who leads a limited life.

I am not a child psychologist. I have no degrees to show. I am just the Mom of Jess, a congenital amputee that is 5 years old, and open, loving and determined as a kid can get. Only some days do I see this determination as a less than desirable trait, usually when I am hot and tired and he wants to go to the park.:-)

My child will start kindergarten in September. I am worried that he will be told that he is less important than a 2 handed child. This is not acceptable to me, and if I have taught Jess properly, it won’t be acceptable to him either.

My vision of what my son’s future will hold is different from what I expected before he was born, but it is just different, not less glorious, or less normal.

I try to keep myself from being overprotective, and it’s hard.

How do you manage to show your child that you acknowledge and accept their difference without making a big deal out of it? It is a balancing act between accepting and expecting, I guess.

I expect Jess to have a full, normal life, doing what ever he wants or needs to be.

I accept that Jess may have to work a bit harder than others to get there.

Jess just learned to unlock our back door. This may not seem like a major milestone, but if you knew our back door, you’d change your mind. It is hard for me to unlock with both hands.

I always expected him to learn how to do it…..