Entry #15 & #16 - Carson & Jon Jon Wangnild
These two next entries were a part of a family that I have only heard about in online health articles and cleft literature. Not only are both children cleft affected, so is their mother, Brenda. Three clefties in one family! I can't even begin to imagine the journey they have all faced. All supported by their father and husband, Daniel. I had the pleasure of meeting Daniel at Castle Marne and what a wonderful experience that was. Daniel struck me as the timid type. Not standoffish by any means, just a quiet mannered man. But as I started the questioning, he opened up to Twanika and I without inhibitions about his families cleft journey.
You can probably guess what our first question was to him. What is it like being out numbered by clefties in your immediate family?! He answered with a smile and said "it's really something special." Daniel went on to explain how Brenda is an open ear and empathetic voice for both boys. This little trio of clefties are also accompanied by such a capable father figure. He talked about the dozens of surgeries between them all and how many hospital visits and doctors appointments each one has and how they balance all of that scheduling. IT'S TOUGH! Once we touched all of our bases with the boys cleft journey, Twanika and I looked at each other and had the same thought: Now what about YOUR cleft journey?
His answer was short, simple, and 100% sufficient. "I'd do it all over again."
As you can see from the photo above, I spent most of my time with them playing with bubbles and chasing them around the yard playing tag. I gotta tell you, I forgot how hypnotizing those bubbles are. Seriously though...once the kids were going after them if you took a quick glance around the yard at the Castle, you would see all of the adults popping one here and there. It truly was such a fun afternoon (even with those new dirt stains on my pants haha).
I saw the relationship these boys have with one another and WOW does it remind me of my brother and I. You see, my brother is five years older than I am, and naturally just so smart while I am the creative black sheep. It definitely made for an interesting dynamic between two strong willed boys. Him and I would mess with each other all of the time. From poking fun, to being downright devious! I liked to pull the little brother card often and usually my parents went for it. Sorry bro ;)! Ultimately, we loved each other a bunch as kids. Yeah we got sick of seeing one another but he was, for the first significant part of my life, my best friend. Carson and Jon Jon have an incredibly unique bond being both cleft affected. They are given the gift of walking through this cleft journey led by their mother and with a partner.
One of these days here soon, I am planning on making my way back to Denver to get Brenda in front of the camera. I can't imagine her not having a place in "1in700" alongside her cleft strong cuties.