I'm so teary right now. It seems that everything is making me cry and the only reason I can come up with is that my kiddos are almost 4 years old. I cannot believe that these last four years have happened in a blink of an eye. I'm so very emotional thinking about their tough beginning in this world and that without the help of Assistive Reproductive Technology I wouldn't have them at all. Yes, it is certain that I am blessed.
Madeleine is getting a new leg in two weeks. This will be her third. I'm so proud of her for growing up and being so active and such a little delight but every time this milestone, this new leg comes I cry. Perhaps it is the reminder that she will always endure this. Perhaps it is the thought that time never stops.
I took her to this fabric store to get special fabric. It was not close to our house but it was the only one that had what she wanted. So we drove all the way there. It took 40 minutes. There was traffic and a lot of rain. When we got to the store we found the fabric that she wanted and bought it. The ladies that work there were asking me about what kind of project we had planned. They always ask. I explained to them Mad's leg situation and the buyers and cashiers alike had all the questions and curiosities of anyone. Well right when I was discussing what a brave and capable and well-adjusted little girl I had Mad decided to have a full-on meltdown. I mean in a huge way. Kicking. Screaming. Scratching me. The whole works. We promptly left and I cried in the car all the way home. I don't know why I cried. She has tantrumed before and I have dealt with it before but this was different. I felt judged by those ladies. Judged that I, as a mother, had to endure a kid with a deformed leg and a bratty little girl on top of it.
I think I felt the pain for my daughter. She will always be judged. And I will always feel that someone thinks I did something stupid in my pregnancy to bring this about. Seriously, I thought I was over this. I didn't think I would emotionally go through this shit again.
Today we went to a great Seattle landmark restaurant. We haven't been there in a while but it is comfy and neighborhoody and family oriented. Madeleine decided that she didn't want to wear her leg (sometimes it is uncomfortable to sit on her knees to eat, or in a booster seat with the leggie on). I took it off and put it on an empty chair next to us not thinking much about it.
Our table was next to another table that had a mother and two children. The little girl was 5-ish and her brother around 8 or 9 I guessed. While I was looking at the menu the mother told me that her daughter was curious about the 'foot' she saw on the chair. I pulled out the leggie and discussed the situation. I explained the whole thing:
-in utero the leg stopped growing
-born without a bone
-had to fix foot to accommodate the prosthesis
-goes on like a boot
-she can do anything you can do, climb, ride a bike, jump, run etc.
-no, it is very rare, not associated with twinning
What surprised me is that Madeleine climbed over to this little girl and pulled her pant leg up and showed her her residual limb. This is not something we share with strangers very often, if at all. Mad was so brave about it. She explained it so well and without missing a beat she said, "hey, you have a kitty on your shirt! I love kitties they are my favorite!" and then the little girl started chatting with Madeleine about the restaurant and it was like they were two best friends. Before they left, the little girl, Gabriella, came over to Mad and said, "I like your leg, maybe we will see each other again and we can play!" and gave her a high five.
This is the best case scenario. It will not always be like this.
Two weeks ago her leg fell off on the school bus. (yes, I know it is strange that they can take a school bus to preschool but they go to an inclusion preschool where the district provides bus service.) She told me that the little boy that sits across from them started laughing at her.
It is almost summer. Although you wouldn't know it because in Seattle it is raining and cold. But sometime soon we will have summer and everyone will see her prosthesis and all the questions, stares, pointing, whispering will come back. And I just have to get use to this and to be strong for my little girl and model the correct way of dealing with it.