Teenagers tend to think they know everything, so please don’t tell them I’m saying this. Otherwise a can of worms might open up and I really hate worms. Like, more than the average person. No, I mean, they really gross me out. The most horrific set of words to me are “Live Bait”. It’s enough to – oh. Right. My point.
My daughters both have Scoliosis.
Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine. Apparently it is quite common. I know! What?! But Google swears it’s true. My one daughter has such a mild case that she only needs physio-therapy and carries around a cute little lumbar support pillow. The other daughter has a slightly more serious case. Not scary-level serious – but serious enough that she has to wear a back-brace.
Scoliosis is more prevalent in the following types of people: tall, Caucasian, female, and twins (check, check, check aaand check) and yet! I spend many a guilt-ridden hour stewing about what I did to cause this to happen.
For example, their shoes of the past 15 years. Did I not get them the right shoes? Should I have gone orthotics over fashion? Was it wrong to love the lady-bug sandals? I promise you, you too would have caved at the lady-bug sandals. And the little yellow Wellingtons! Tiny adorable footwear has always been my weakness. Recently I saw baby-sized Ugg boots that made me want to fall down and weep. But now my shoes choices worry me.
It’s not just the shoes...I worry all the way back to pregnancy. Did I squash them? Should I not have eaten so many Snickers bars?
Then as toddlers…their milk intake! Should it have been always regular milk and never chocolate? What about cheese? They called it teese…that means they’d had enough of it, right? Or maybe that was the problem! Should I have gone vegan? No cheese at all, just vegetables and beans and positive vibes. Maybe I should have bought the “yoga babies” CD. I knew it. Or gluten? Was it the gluten? No – can’t be. Gluten has only recently become the (apparent) number one source of all health disasters world-wide.
So Grace. She is allowing me to give her name because I convinced her how full of grace she actually is (very). So Grace will have to wear a back-brace, said the doctor. For how long?! I cried in anguish, glancing over at Grace who was grinning at a text she just sent. Oh, she had heard the doctor all right. She just didn’t really care. There were many cries of anguish to follow (all by me) “She’ll have to wear it until she is finished growing” was the answer. WHAT?! But that could be forever! I mean, once you stop growing lengthwise, you grow width-wise…and then you grow hair in weird places. And then you grow downwards! And then you grow irritable. And then you go outside and grow geraniums. What is this “stop growing” thing? How is she going to have a career and find true love and maybe get married and maybe have kids and take care of those kids and function as a…
What. She gestured her head towards the doctor who was actually still talking while I veered off into my imaginary nightmare.
We have a test that will determine when she is finished growing.
One to two years.
The following days were filled with many many calculations. Me trying to fit in the number of hours she had to wear it around school hours so she wouldn’t have to wear it to school. When Grace found me underneath a mountain of crumpled paper, she put her hands on my shoulders and looked down at me from her nearly full-grown (let it be true) height.
Yes? (still kind of anguishy…it’s surprising that my knotted eyebrows ever made it back down)
I’ll just wear it to school. NBD.
Teenagers love to acronymize things. It’s actually kind of a fun game, figuring them out. NBD is “no big deal”.
It is a big deal!! I cried in (you guessed it) anguish. But then? It wasn’t. Grace was right. The style at the girls’ school is all huge sweaters and long shirts. You could not ask for a more accommodating fashion phase to wear a back brace. I noticed a few short little “belly shirts” on display at the malls, but I’m hoping that the fashion overlap that occurs when you live in a lesser urban area will last for a while. Oh, also? I’m a mother. There will be no belly shirts ever.
I didn’t want her getting trampled by the 1500 or so kids at her High school, so she takes the “special” elevator at school. No hesitation. She lets her friends ride it with her and they have way too much fun doing it. She actually got a kick out of people whispering and wondering why she now used the special elevator. The brace is cumbersome, hot, and probably quite painful at times, but she shrugs it off. To look at her, no one could even tell she’s wearing one.
Except me (wringing my hands) (in anguish). So circling back to who is teaching the life lessons to whom…while I stew and fret and worry and regret, Grace seems to be just fine. To sum it up?
Did I mention that she's my hero?