The bright pink line running down the children's chests after heart surgery is hard to miss. If they wear any shirt that isn't up to their collarbone it's bound to show. Bound to mark them as different. We try as hard as we can to help the kids see their scar as a mark of honor. They have been through a lot. They have come a long way. Their scar is not something to be ashamed of, it is something to be celebrated.
With this in mind, I had the opportunity to connect with the kids on a deeper level today when they noticed the scar on my right elbow. They pointed it out and held up their hands. Where did you get your scar. I'll explain it to you the way I did to them and see if you can figure it out. The fun of only knowing the few words of a language is the pantomime we do to fill in the gaps. The words in quotes are the words I know in Kurdish. Everything else is me acting this out:
Point to self. "Soccer. Futbol." Stand up. Pretend ball at feet. Kick and run around. Fall down. Crying. "Surgery." Point to elbow. Sewing up the wound. "Good."
Did you get that? It's amazing what you can communicate with actions and a few basic words. I liked being able to share this with the kids. They then proceeded to show me their scars. It's a new level of trust and assurance for them. I can almost hear them thinking: "You have one too. You won't think I'm weird. Instead, you'll celebrate it with me."