She’ll Never Be Able to Wear a Bikini

“She’ll never be able to wear a bikini.” I distinctly remember this thought.

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Here’s the scar after a shunt revision at 17 months.

Our 4 day old premature baby girl had hydrocephalus. “Too much fluid in the brain,” they told us. MaryEllen, at 4.5 lbs, needed surgery immediately if we wanted to preserve brain function. Placing a shunt in my tiny daughter’s brain would allow fluid to drain from her brain into her abdomen. This meant that her stomach would have a scar. The future flashed through my mind. How could we allow the doctors to disfigure her skin? In my thoughts, other girls frolicked carelessly on the beach while my preteen daughter sat alone, tearfully questioning her beauty. Would she forgive us? Could we find the correct words to explain the necessity of brain preservation to an 11-year-old?

The magnitude and the simplicity of that moment will always be with me. What choked me with grief became the furthest thing from my mind 11 years later.

Our minds have the unique ability to foresee what may never be. My goodness, my kids have been through the trenches and back. In my head, they have survived car accidents, train accidents, trachs falling out, parents sleeping through alarms, kidnappings, choking, brains not growing, and even non bikini wearing!

From this moment, let’s look at these moments from a different perspective.

“Really, mind, you’re going there?”

“Ha ha ha ha ha,” you silently reply.

Think of it as a bikini moment.

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