A week from today my beautiful girl will have her first appointment with the laser surgeon. The procedure itself will last less than fifteen minutes from the time anesthesia starts until I’m called back to recovery. Much less complicated and involved than the two eye surgeries she’s had so far.
And yet I find myself in much more inner turmoil about this appointment.
First of all, here’s the discomfort factor. I’ve been told by other moms that it simply ranges for different kids. Some take Tylenol after the procedure and are fine. Others have been prescribed heavy pain meds. My girl seems to have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but sometimes I still wonder if she really is ‘tough stuff’ or if it is still that sense self reliance rearing its ugly head. I cringe to think that she’d maybe rather be in pain than fully count on me to help make it go away.
But far beyond the discomfort, there’s the message that I’m afraid at some point that she may interpret out of seemingly cosmetic surgery.
That’s the part I dread. That she may misunderstand why. Before she is old enough to fully comprehend the surgery, will she think that I didn’t think she was beautiful enough? Because she is! Will she think that each time I’ve stroked that little red cheek that I haven’t meant it when I said, ‘piao liang’ (beautiful)? Because I have! Is there a possibility that she’ll interpret our decision to move forward with treatment as an effort to ‘fix her face?’ Because that’s not what it’s about!
I’m struggling here. This is an elective surgery that at the very least will be itchy and uncomfortable. I also know it will cause small, circular, purple bruises all over the right side of my baby girl’s body. I realize it likely will draw even more attention to her birthmark. A birthmark she’s so sensitive about that it caused her to hide her face from us the day we met her. If there were a way that I could shield her from the harsh days of middle school, or even curious adults who have asked insensitive questions in front of her, we would likely skip the number of treatments it will take before Dr. B thinks the port wine stain is as faded as it will get. If there were guarantees that over the years the stain wouldn’t thicken and possibly cause vision issues from swelling of the eyelid or breathing issues as it covered her darling little nose, we wouldn’t have a trip bright and early next Monday to Duke on our calendar.
Because in my eyes, she is absolutely beautiful. Just as she is right now. I don’t see her port wine stain. It simply isn’t possible for me to focus on it at all. I can’t get past her smile…