Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Curvy girl

I guess it's been about a half a year now since my daughter decided that my work as a mother was done. She's all grown up now, you know.

So, she says, she no longer needs me to help her take a shower, or make sure she gets all the conditioner out of her hair.

She no longer needs me to help her pick out what clothes to wear, or put them on.

She no longer needs me to help her comb her hair or make it look pretty.

She is all of 11 now, after all. A big girl.

So she started telling me NOT  to come into her room when she's changing. I have to wait until she comes downstairs to tell her to go try something else.

And she started locking the bathroom door behind her with a solid click when she showers, not opening it again until the water heater is empty, steam fills the air and water covers the floor.


But lately I've noticed that she did  need a little help in the rinsing department, so the other night I sort of demanded that she leave the bathroom door unlocked. And, after what I thought was a long enough span, I went in.

"Let me look," I said. "Turn around."

She dutifully turned her back to me and I reached for her wet head.

And as I did, I got the shock of my life.

There it was, clear as day. Her spine. And the big letter "S" it makes, just like on the X-ray we saw as the baby-faced doctor confirmed Scoliosis. 31 degrees.

"Significant."

And, again, my heart just broke.

What kind of a mother am I?

How did I not see that? Was it always there? Did I miss it? How did I miss it?

Oh, I noticed that she stands kind of awkward and funny. Stiff. Yeah, a little crooked maybe.

But we just thought it was a phase that came with too much height too soon.

And when she played basketball and volleyball we saw right away that she can't really run. At all. As my Cajun friends say, "She can't outrun lighting in a day."

But all summer long, even in an ever-shrinking bathing suit, I never saw the curve in her back, the "S" in her spine.

I hope it wasn't there all along.

Because now we're ordering her a brace, one that she will have to wear up to 12 hours a day. For the next two to four years. So that the rest of her growth will be straight and not crooked -- excuse me, "curvy."

But she will always be.

And I will always wonder, how did I not see it?











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