Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Took me by surprise

A week or so ago we got pictures done of Abigail. They are the ones for a website (and when they are posted I will link to it again). Anyway it was a lot of fun. Our friend came to ballet one Saturday morning and then we met at a park last week to finish the pictures. I couldn't wait to see them finished.
And yesterday she brought the disc over filled with beautiful portraits of our girly, and a few of us together. But something weird happened. My eyes began to brim with tears. I loved the pictures. I wasn't sad about that. And they did such a great job capturing her sassy and fun-loving personality.
It was that for the first time I saw what other people see. I am the one who puts Abigail's braces and straps on everyday. But I quit noticing them. We decided to do the pictures with them because right now they are part of who she is.
I didn't expect the emotion that came with it though. The feeling of sorrow at how she looks "different." The sudden flashback to the family at the park that just kept staring and the realization that the staring was not because we were getting pictures done. It's probably the first time I saw the idea that there is "something wrong."
I still think she is beautiful and perfect just the way she is. I don't want something different because I want my little bug. But there is something sort of hit you in the face when you are trying so hard still to come to terms with the labels that doctors and therapist have put on your child, and all of a sudden you can step back and see more than just your child.
And I think this is the difference. When I look at Abigail all I see is...well Abigail. Sometimes I notice new cafe au lait marks. Sometimes I look at her face and see some of the dysmorphic facial features that a few people with NF have. But they are these small glimpses that go away as quickly as they come, and all I see again is Abigail.
But the pictures were different. They were these all of a sudden in my face pictures where I see lots of cafe au lait spots (that I doubt anyone else noticed). I see that she has a flat nasal bridge, and wide set eyes. And I see the devices that I put on everyday to help her body work like it should.
I have felt like I finally got to the acceptance stage of grieving. But I guess this may be a process that I arrive at over and over only to find myself back at the stage of anger, or denial, or whatever the other ones are.
I will leave you with a few of our favorites. Because they really are AMAZING pictures.

Doing her ballet.


Enjoying swinging with papa.

One, two, three, weeeeee!

In a tunnel.

My sassy face.

Still greiving I guess,


  1. it is ok to grieve. i hate that it hits so quickly and without warning. it'd be nice if there was a speed bump first! i will say this, and i'm not saying it to be saying it, i didn't notice the straps. i don't understand why people stare. they're silly. i'd say something else, but i'm trying to be nice.

    anyway. all i saw was abigail, bright and funny, sweet and loved. i saw her joy in ballet, her funny little girl stance that was all proud and shy at once. i've never met her, but she overflows with love.

    i know you know that. but it's ok to grieve too, to hurt for all those mean things that people do and say unthinkingly.

  2. She is unspeakably beautiful... I am so drawn to her eyes and smile; all I see is Abigail too, even though as someone who deals with NF every day too, I'm looking for it...

    Grief is a process; and I think it becomes a part of you. I don't think it ever really loses its ability to take your breath away, though. Grief and joy dance together so closely sometimes, it's difficult to tell them apart.

  3. I didn't notice the straps until you pointed them out. It may be the make up of your family, it leaves folks wondering. We get it all the time and don't even notice it too much anymore.

  4. She is so gorgeous - I absolutely love that smile, those cheeks, and those beautiful eyes!