Girl Child’s unplanned surgery was nearly three months ago. Today I realized that for the first time in nearly a year, life feels normal.

Much happened to Girl Child in the last year, starting last summer. I haven’t written or shared much because I simply didn’t have the oomph. I was worried like only a mom can worry, and words to write down – usually an effective outlet for me – failed me utterly.

In a quick run-down of events, here’s what went on:

We decided to change her school late last summer, moving her from a small private school to a larger public school. She had a really negative dynamic with a person in her class at the small school, and I could see that it was tearing her down. The class was very small, so there was no opportunity to engage socially with other kids. This person simply tormented her, and we could see her withdrawing into herself. She was sad, whiny, and avoided engaging with kids when we were at planned park outings and such.  That, I’m here to tell you, will break your heart.

We tried to get her to wear her hearing aid to get used to it again after a summer hiatus from it toward the end of last summer, and the mold caused her to get staph infection at the opening of her microtic ear. She started at her new school, and three days later we had to rush to California for a surgery. Thankfully this one turned out to be relatively minor.

Because this was her first year in a public school, she was finally eligible for hearing-related educational services. She was tested for everything you can imagine being tested for in an educational setting. She was diagnosed with mild ADHD. At the end of all that, it was determined that she was eligible for a 504 plan. I’ll explain all that another time.

She got braces. She got myofunctional therapy. She got tapped for Title 1 Reading at the beginning of the last school year. She got referred to physical therapy because the skin graft scar bothers her – she’s in something that feels similar to pain on her abdomen all the time. Her hearing aid wouldn’t stay in, so she has to go unaided. That makes it difficult for her to catch full conversations and unfortunately, can affect her socially in a negative way. Her mind fills in what she misses, and she’s wrong sometimes, taking something that was said the wrong way. So, while she made friends, it’s still a little harder for her and she’s fairly sensitive. But, she made friends.

I signed her up for a program through Girls, Inc. called Allies In Action, hoping to help her see what a healthy respectful friendship looks and feels like, and how to stand up for herself and other kids.

Through all of this, we kept telling her, “Look at all the stuff you’ve been through. You’re the strongest kid we know. You will know yourself and what you are made of long before your peers. We’re here to help you.”

Somewhere along the line, she started to believe us.

Flash forward to now, and she’s back to thriving. She’s averaging reading a book a week this summer. She’s going to camps, riding her bike, playing dress up, asking if she can dye a pink streak in her hair, and today she completed a kid’s triathlon.

For the first time in a year, things are normal. Normal for us, anyway.

And this mommy can, cautiously, take a deep breath.

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