Monday, February 27, 2012

Crooked

The day they handed me that beautiful little bundle of pink, she was perfect.

I checked.

Ten little fingers. Ten little toes. All working parts in between. And the ultimate dream come true as she was born from one woman and given to another to love.

The day they said I could take her home from the hospital, she had turned a funny shade of yellow. Jaundice, they said. Not too bad, but enough to delay our departure for a few hours while they checked her blood levels. And after I assured the doctor that my house was indeed very brightly lit -- I don't believe in drapes -- they let me take her home.

A few days later, her little tongue developed millions of little white bumps. Thrush -- necessitating her first prescription from the pharmacy.

And I think I can count on one hand the number of prescriptions she has had since. One case of strep. One case of flu. More than a few bladder infections because she has a HUGE bladder and because she would rather hold it until the last second than stop what she is doing.  But other than that, nothing. Nada. Not even one ear infection in the life of this adopted, formula fed, cold bottle baby girl.

She's perfect.  Well, except for her messiness and dislike for baths, that is.

Until now.

At her latest routine check-up the day after her 11th birthday, after telling me that Lora was practically off the charts for her height, her pediatrician noticed Lora's posture. I've noticed it. Even as she stands a full head and shoulders above her friends, she doesn't stand straight. She's rather crooked. And stiff.  The doctor noticed it too.  And, after asking my girl to do the routine bend at the waist, she ordered an X-ray at the hospital.

And a few days ago she called us with the results. "Pretty significant" scoliosis. Curvature of the spine.  We now have the name of an orthopedist, who, they say, likely will recommend that my beautiful, talented, smart, funny, angel-voiced, artist, writer, messy, pre-teen baby girl will have to wear a brace for the next several years.

And my mother's heart hurts.

From the day they are born we wish we could wrap them in bubble wrap to keep them safe and free from harm. And we wish we could encase their heart in steel to protect it from hurt. We would gladly take their shots for them if we could, step in the ants, jump in front of the wasp, cushion every fall.

I also want my baby girl to be perfect, in everything she does and everything she is. I want her to have perfect curls and perfect skin and perfect posture and perfect teeth. I want her to never feel hurt and pain and discomfort. I want her to never be picked on or teased for being adopted or for having acne or for having crazy hair of for wearing the same sweat shirt three days in a row or for smelling bad.

Or for having to wear a body brace when she goes to middle school.

But she will.

Right now she thinks it's cool, like the kid with the cast who can't wait to show it off to her friends. But what will she do when the reality comes? The inconvenience? The discomfort? The 23 hours per day?

I told her she's like a tree that grew too fast (at age 11 she is 5-foot-2 and is expected to grow another seven to eight inches) and grew crooked. The brace will help keep her from growing more crooked, but won't undo what's been done.

And will it work?

I don't know.



But I know that no matter how crooked, no matter how messy, no matter how frizzy her hair, she is perfect to me.



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