Locks of Love

Some time earlier in the year Meghan told me she wanted to donate her hair.

Inspired by a few stories of children with cancer, and prior to her own diagnosis  (a very mild and stable case) of alopecia areata, she knew something good could come of something so basic so she set about the business of growing her hair.

locks of love

She knew she needed 10 inches to cut for “Locks of Love,” and she was determined.

I was inspired.

So while she grew hers, I quietly grew mine too.  It wasn’t the first time she led me by her example.

And when her resolve strengthened I shared my intention with her, and we were set to donate our hair together in September.

Except mine wasn’t long enough – not yet.  And maybe that was a blessing because she got to blaze the trail.  She sat bravely as her pony tail was chopped off.  She smiled as her curly hair bounced up as if it had been waiting for the weight to be released.

hair 1

hair 2

And somehow I think she grew up even more that day.  And with that selfless act, she became even more beautiful, more mature.

meg school photo

So, when it was finally my turn, she held my hand.  She held my camera.  She reassured me that I had done something good.

Sometimes she is so much the grown up that it is frightening.

Sometimes, albeit rarely, she is a ten year old kid.  I am working to treasure both.

mom school photo

hair 3

It’s OK if my hero is 5’2”, wears a size 8.5 shoe, some of my clothes, and was born after the turn of the century right?

hair 4

She makes me want to be a better person.

better-person

Do penguins have knees?

I can credit someone else’s Facebook post for even allowing that random wondering to slip into my head.  But it has served as a distraction… so I am grateful.

It’s hard for me when I need to choose my words carefully.  I usually just lay it all on the line and that’s how I keep it together.  Except when your heart is heavy because of matters that just need to be private, that makes it extra hard.  So that is why I haven’t been posting much.  But without my writing the voices just stay in my head, and then…penguin knees

But my heart is full for so many reasons, and some I can share with you.  Blessed by my consenting 10 year old, as long as I don’t disclose anything embarrassing – to educate the world about “beatingcowdens.”

The headaches have been around on and off for a while.  So long that I don’t actually remember.  It sounds awful that I as a mom could say that, but it’s true.

I remember the pediatrician saying to me that I should take her to a neurologist because he kept hearing me mention headaches.  I remember being overwhelmed by too many doctors.  I remember last year blaming the prescription change on her glasses.  I remember blaming chelation.  I remember blaming allergies…

But the headache hasn’t quit.  It’s been weeks now.

It  varies with intensity.  We are trying to get her to understand and use a pain scale to get some consistency.

pain scale

But pain is such a personal thing.  It’s just not easy.  We can never exactly know the pain of another because every body perceives pain differently.

What I do know is that there has been a headache to some extent for over a month and that’s too long.

What pushed me into action was last Monday night.  Homework was finished, and I was ready to bring her to swim practice- the place she loves more than anything.  And she told me no.

She said she didn’t feel right.  She said she wasn’t strong enough.  So I let it go and kept her home.  But THAT didn’t feel right to me.

Then there was the day that she was waiting in my classroom for the school day to start and she said, “There it is mom!  Feel that pulsing?”  As she put my hand on the side of her head I got queasy.  We all have pulsing in our heads to some degree, but once you have dealt with a vascular malformation – or a few – the pulsing takes you to a new mind numbing level of anxiety.

And when the teacher gave her a shell and she held it to both ears, and said , “I can’t hear it the same in my left ear…”  And then there is the ringing that comes and goes…

So tomorrow we head back to Manhattan to visit a neurologist.  A little later than the pediatrician would have liked, but we are going.  And with every deep fiber of my soul I hope with all my heart that he tells me my girl has the worst fall allergies in the world.  And in a few weeks it will all be just perfect.

That’s the story that will get me through the night.

faith