Saturday, October 4, 2008


The other day while we were driving, Olivia and I were talking about her upcoming eardrum surgery and that while she's asleep, they're going to be taking pictures and impressions of her mouth to make her new teeth. I always feel it necessary to let her know exactly what is going on with regards to her cleft related stuff. I'm direct. Maybe that isn't good in some ways, but she appreciates knowing. Olivia does not like the unexpected.

So, a few minutes after our conversation, she says to me, "Mommy, I'm so lucky."

After I asked her why she was so lucky, she replied, "Because I get great teeth and I don't have to wait for them to come in. I don't have to worry about them getting loose and pulled. I'm lucky."

I never thought about it that way.

From the day she was born, I knew we would have a conversation similar to this one-- one where we talked about the differences between her and other kids her age. But, I'd always invisioned it to be on the opposite end of the continum. You know, where she was crying and saying, "Why can't I just be like everybody else? Why do I have to do this?"

There have been other times recently where I've experienced moments of relief when it comes to Olivia. The only way to explain it is to think about having a backpack on with big, heavy rocks in it. I put this on the day she was born and have been wearing it for the past 6 years. It was really heavy that day, and over the first year of her life as we reached milestones and came through surgeries, little by little rocks disappeared from my backpack. The ones deep down in the bottom are the ones that hold my fear of whether or not she'll be made fun of, if she'll like herself, if she will be able to answer questions about all she's been through with confidence instead of being a shrinking violet.

I'm not saying that all of my big, heavy rocks are gone. As her mother, I don't know if they'll ever be gone. I think they'll always remain--even as small pebbles, but when I see her making friends in Kindergarten, it becomes lighter. When she can look on the bright side about a surgery or procedure, I'm able to breathe a little better.

What I want for Olivia is what every parents wants for a child. I want her to be happy, successful, content, and self-confident. Unlike other children, she's going to have a harder road at times, but my prayer is that I can make sure she never feels the burden of the rock filled backpack.

My job as her mother is to carry that for her--whether I feel like I can or not.


Laura said...

I am going to quit reading your blog, because almost everytime I do I end up crying. Seriously though, Olivia is a very lucky little girl because she has a mother as wonderful as you.

Colleen said...

And the rock-load we have in common was made a bit lighter for me the day we 'met'.
I guess the thing about these kids is that we couldn't see on the day they were born how God would send His comfort to us. You know, in something as simple as "I'm so lucky I don't have to wait for my teeth to come in..." Have to laugh, huh? Here you think you're trying to 'break' something to her and she looks at you like YOUR crazy!!
Gotta love life and it's surprises!

Colleen said...

not "YOUR"
(I could let it go as you know what I mean, but it just GLARES at me. You know?)