Ever since Mitch was a toddler he loved to feel the wind in his face. He loved riding 4-wheelers more than he liked a Sippy Cup filled to the top with undiluted juice - and he loved juice. It was as if his soul wanted to drink in every moment of mortality possible, before it was too late.

I took this photo a few weeks after Mitchell’s diagnosis. We drove to my mother’s ranch in Southern Utah to tell her the news in person. I cried that night, and many nights thereafter.

During this trip I remember looking at my sweet little boy in disbelief – wondering if hospital staff made a clerical error and Mitchell’s diagnosis belonged to someone else. Everything seemed impossible. Impossible because he looked so healthy, there was no way he had a fatal disease. Impossible because I was scarcely prepared to be a father, how could I possibly care for someone so sick? It was impossible because my heart was already tender. 

I will never forget this moment one mid-summer afternoon – it was the most perfect of days. Mitch screamed out with excitement as his mother helped him drive a mini-4wheeler as fast as it could go. It wasn't all that fast, but to Mitch, he may as well have been going the speed of light. I couldn't help but notice how Mitch would place his hand half on the handlebar (to feel like he was steering) and half over her hand (to feel the safety of his Mother’s touch) – he was so happy. I remember also looking at my sweet wife who was having such a good time watching her little son enjoy the thrill of the moment. 

I wished at this moment my sweet wife could see herself through my eyes. This dear woman who carried a heavy and broken heart for her son yet put on a smile so as not to frighten him was stronger and more beautiful than she knew. This loving mother who often wondered and worried if she was doing it right was doing things perfectly. She did it right, not because she didn't make mistakes, but because she loved her children – and love nourishes. Love heals.

If ever my wife has a moment of self-doubt, and we all have them (heaven knows I have plenty), I want to point to this photo and say “Look at the life you gave our boy! I love and honor you. Thank you.” If only she could see herself through my eyes. 

I borrow the words of Paul Brownlaw who once wrote, “There shall never be another quite so tender, quite so kind as the patient little mother, nowhere on this earth you'll find her affection duplicated.” 

Such is true of every mother who loves her child, and the world is greatly blessed because of it.