I’ve mentioned before how Jordan is recognizing her differences… I try not to make a big deal out of the little mentions here and there. But last night was difficult for me and a bit of a moment of awareness for me as a parent. Here’s the story.
I was asking Jordan to get ready for bed when she stopped everything and told me how she didn’t want her little arm. She wanted to grow another hand. She wants to be able to hand off an item from one hand to another… back and forth. I told her she could do that already. But she disagreed. She complained that she’ll drop the mythical thing that she wants to pass between each “hand.” I told her she has a helper hand that can do some of that work, but she immediately disagreed. The helper hands she currently has aren’t good enough. Then I told her that if there’s something she REALLY wants to be able to do, we’ll talk to her prosthetist Mr. David and we’ll find a way to help her do what she wants to do.
That wasn’t enough. She wanted a hand. She didn’t like her little arm. Her whining kicked up a notch.
I wanted to find another solution. But that’s when I had a slight glimmer of realization. She deserves to mourn. She needs to mourn. I felt sad when she was first born. As I rejoiced for her life, I cried for the knowledge that we’d have moments like this one. I cried knowing my daughter would have to face a culture that loves classic perfection and that she’d have to learn to accept herself. I cried in fear that she won’t accept herself.
So I stopped finding solutions. I picked her up. I let her talk about her sadness. I gave her a hug. I told her I understood. I told her that she is who she is and I love her.
After 15 minutes, she moved on from the conversation and got her pajamas (she pronounces it “bah-jah-mahs”) on and brushed her teeth. (Mind you, she did all of these things on her own.) We read her book, we said our prayer, I sang her a song. It was bed time. I closed the door and moved on to go find her brother for his bedtime. But before I could do that she got out of bed to go potty again. That’s her best delay tactic. But before she went back to bed, I stopped her. I told her how I love her. ALL of her. I love her from head to toe. That’s when she asked:
“Even my little arm?”
“OF COURSE your little arm!”
And that’s when I kissed her little arm.
“I love your little arm.”
I kissed her big arm.
“I love your other arm.”
I kissed her head.
“I love all of you.”
Jordan said: “I love you too. I love your clothes. I love your “bah-jah-mas.” She was proud that she expanded her love beyond the physical Mommy. I gave her a monster hug and she seemed to finally relax. It was like we finally moved past what was bothering her… At least this time around.
It felt good and sweet. And I think I finally let her mourn a little bit. I think I’m learning.