I felt so angry when you texted me last week with this picture. It was the second full day in your brace and the first day in your new clothes that we had to buy to accommodate the brace. And, your favorite shirt of the bunch was shredded. I was angry – and it had nothing to do with any money spent a few days earlier on that top. You didn’t know it had torn because you couldn’t feel it. Kids were asking questions that you didn’t want to answer. You were upset. And I wasn’t home to be with you in those big feelings. So all my big feelings came to the surface.
I’d like to go back to this past summer when you didn’t know what the word scoliosis meant; when you lounged around in our hot house with shorts and a tank top; when we spent the day at the pool and our concern about the time was based simply on when we’d be able to eat dinner, not whether your four braceless hours were up. I wish you didn’t have to think about your back and the red skin beneath the brace that now covers it. I wish you didn’t have to keep track of time so that you clock all 20 hours in it everyday. I wish you didn’t have to worry about getting to class in time because you have to change clothes after gym in the nurse’s office. I wish you could wear whatever you want and sleep in whatever position you want. All that? I wish I could take it all away from you and — like you said in tears the other night — make it all “normal” again.
Do you remember that rainy day a few weeks ago? It was pouring. When we ran to the car that morning to drive to school, I told you I hated days like that day. I told you how hard it is to get up and get moving for the day when the sky is so dark and you hear the rain coming down and know you’re going to get soaked when you step outside your door. I told you I’d rather just refill my cup of hot coffee and get back under my blanket in my green chair and read for a few hours. Do you remember what you said to me?
"A morning like this is better than a cloudy one; at least you know it’s serving a purpose."
My dear, sweet, wise daughter – it’s a rainy day for you…a rainy season really. It’s not comfortable. And I understand that there will be nights you just lay in bed and cry because you’re tired of it all. But, my love, it’s serving a purpose. It is guiding your body as it grows. It’s hard now, I know, but it’s so that it won’t be hard later. And I really want that for you.
You can do this. You won’t always feel like you can. In those times, I’ll be here feeling big feelings with you and then cheering you on, reminding you of the words you told me yourself.
Kelly Raudenbush is a mother to four children and cofounder of The Sparrow Fund, a nonprofit committed to encouraging and equipping adoptive families. Learn more about her family's adoption story, how she's been changed by it and what life for as a parent to four children with all sorts of unique needs and gifts at My Overthinking.