Saturday, March 17, 2007

Glass or Steel?

Lately I have felt like a complete poser. Forgive the 80’s terminology, but that is what I feel like. I want to write, I want be a writer, but I am doing very little writing what so ever. Whine Whine! As my Hubby, the Air Force Academy grad, would say... "Wah Wah Wah...I want my milk and cookies!" This blog tonight may not be about writing at all, but there are some things I would like to talk about that may influence someone’s life out there.

As Alyson so sweetly pointed out, my daughter had surgery in Texas last week. This was not her first, nor will it be her last. It was the most invasive, and the second most important. My daughter was injured during delivery due to a failed ventouse and forceps delivery leaving her paralyzed on the left side. She has a Brachial Plexus Injury called Erb’s Palsy. The past 8 years have been a very emotional journey for all of us in our family. Our whole world revolves around Bryn’s physical therapy, occupational therapy, craniosacral therapy, water therapy, dr.’s visits...etc. It can be a bit overwhelming, but it is life. She is an amazing kid and an amazing

I think over the past eight years I have deliberately punished myself for the guilt I feel over what happened the day she was born. The day before she came into this world, I was carrying two large boxes of water. We were living in Australia and water commonly comes in 4 liter boxes, like cheap wine here in the states. I carried the boxes of water from the market all the way back to the house. Well, it was too much and my water broke, even though I was not in labor. I will spare you the details, but I have always thought...”if only I had not carried the water, then Bryn would have stayed “inside” until full term, and then the Doctor would have.....”...bla bla bla. Somehow I thought everything would be different, if I had just changed my behavior. This belief was further complicated by an acquaintance who quoted a verse from the bible that was something along the lines of “Visiting the inequity of the Father unto the children”. Bryn was paying for my sins. I have been harboring this guilt in my heart for eight years.

When we were in Texas I met an amazing woman from Iraq. She and her husband are both Doctors and on the night her baby was born there was too much fighting outside the hospital, she could not get in and her husband could not get out. So she had to go home and deliver her baby at home with the help of the neighbors. Her baby was delivered by forceps as well. He also was left with a debilitating Erb’s Palsy. You may have heard of his story on CNN or in People Magazine. He and his mother flew to Texas and had his surgery the day before Bryn’s. While our children were recovering we spent some time together. She said the most beautiful things to Bryn. I wish I could recall every word for you, but I was so in awe of her strength and beauty that I can only paraphrase for you.

She told Bryn that she had been thinking about how to explain to her son why this had happened to him and what he was going to need to do as he grows. She told Bryn that people who are born perfectly healthy and grow up easily are like a delicate glass. When they come to face the very difficult things in life they will shatter like the glass. But that Bryn and Karm, because they will face so many difficulties and have to conquer so many hurdles in childhood they will grow to be strong and solid. When they come up against the very difficult things in life they will survive and succeed because they have learned to survive and succeed as a child.

In America many people look at children like Bryn and feel pity, sorrow or anger (at the situation). Here is a woman whose country in in civil war, who makes only $400 a month as a doctor, whose baby is permanently disabled due a series of events leading back to a war started by an outside country; and she is focused on how good this will be for her son. Just hearing her speak was so humbling to me, and liberating. Who am I to think I am so important that I should feel responsible for the the greatest life learning event for my child? There are much greater powers at work here. This is not something to crucify myself over, but something to rejoice over. It takes quite a stretch to change to this mode of thinking, but I am working on it, every hour, literally. I have always known that Bryn would be stronger for her experiences, and I try to remain ever so positive, but I never honestly viewed it as good.

So I guess the human experience, what ever that may be, is mostly good. We are all learning, and traveling through time and we should be grateful for the bumps in the road that life hands us, even the ones that seem cruel at the time. Even though I have gone off the track from writing, I hope this story brings you a little peace too.

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