Forty-Eight with Many Exclamation Points

“Go ahead and take off your shoes.”

The nurse scribbled away while my second grader slid out of his velcro sneakers and onto the scale. He stepped onto it gingerly, as he always does. She walked up behind him, masking the scale from me as she moved the metal dial, ticking it over, and over, and over.

“Forty-eight pounds.” She called out to me.

My jaw dropped. “FORTY-EIGHT!? REALLY!?

I wanted to break into tears. Right there in the triage room, I didn’t care. “AWESOME, DUDE! You gained a lot of weight!”

I held my hand up to give him a proud high-five, but he just passed me, shy-fully slipped back into his sneakers and sat in the chair to get his blood pressure taken. He knew the triage drill well, all the years he’s been to the doctors, getting sick, being tested. He also didn’t want a big deal to be made about it.

But it was a big fricken deal.

I was struggling to contain my excitement. I immediately texted my husband about it, as soon as my hands could stop shaking long enough to get the fingers to work properly. My husband’s response almost leapt from the phone, equalling my happiness.

My son is underweight, and has been for over three years. 

He’s had bone tests that showed he was almost two years behind (at age six the doctors told us he had the bones of a four-year-old). He had numerous blood tests, skin tests, even hair. They all came back “within normal limits” and, thankfully, didn’t indicate cancer.

But the constant illnesses, the battle to put weight on this too-short-for-his-age, too-skinny child has been a battle indeed without any reasons as to “why” other than our move to Louisiana, where he also became an asthmatic.

We introduced protein shakes, encouraged him to eat as often as he could, we kept track of his calories, and even sought the help of a nutritionist (who, you wouldn’t believe, wanted us to feed him fried foods all.day.long.OMG).

“He’s moved into the twenty-third percentile.” She called out to me, interrupting my silent celebration within my head. “He’s within the normal range now.”

Tears were forming in the backs of my eyeballs, with three small children looking on, I had to force them to go away. I had to mask the lip that was now quivering, the sheer joy I was feeling, my need to want to scream at the top of my lungs, “YES!! FINALLY!!”

Normal was a word I’d longed to hear from anyone in regards to my son for a long, long time.

My husband texted me. “And I just checked 48 lbs is in the 23 percentile for his age!”

“Yes!!!!” with four exclamation points was my response.

That was how I honestly felt – as pointy, poignant and important as an exclamation point, to solidify how momentous this news truly was.

My strong muscle man during our Halloween Party

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