3/6/09

Wise Women Friday: My Own Brilliant Daughter

From the conclusion of my fifth grader's "math autobiography":

"The thing I've learned from math 
is that even if you don't like things, 
you have to do them anyway."

And now you are a woman, my child, for there are two lessons that all girls must learn in order for them to cross the threshold into womanhood.  

One:  Bad hair cuts happen, and they will happen to you.

Two:  You have to do things you don't like to do.  

I do many things that I don't like to do.  As, I'm sure, do you.  But what I mostly dislike doing is visiting the pediatric neurologist.  Surprising, isn't it?  Because if you've been to a pediatric neurologist you know that the waiting room is filled with smiling, laughing parents.  It's true.  They are happy, so happy, so very, very happy that their big, toothy smiles seem cemented to their faces.  Which, of course, they are.  Because if you visit a pediatric neurologist you are not on a pleasure trip.  You are facing a serious issue; and heaven forbid you let your child think so.  So you smile, smile, smile.  

Our serious issue is what's called intractable epilepsy.  My thirteen year old has it.  She's had it since she was five.  Many children with epilepsy outgrow it.  She won't.  Hence the intractable part.  But she is a lovely girl.  Very sweet.  And she has to do what she doesn't like to do too.  Like take medication.  Go to bed early.  Fade to black for thirty seconds a couple of times a week.  

It is not a blessing to have a chronic medical condition, but hardship has its gifts.  And you will find no more empathic thirteen-year-old in the world than my daughter. There is a boy with Asperger's in several of her classes.  She always asks to be seated next to him so that she can watch out for him.  When there are substitutes, she goes up to them and whispers that this boy has a learning difference that affects his emotions because she doesn't want them to yell at him if he acts out in class.  She knows what's it like to feel different, and it has made her a better person, but then, doing what you don't like to do almost always does.  Even when it's nothing more than math.   

Guess what I'm doing today?  Here's a hint: I'm smiling.

9 comments:

Palm Axis said...

I've been a patient of a pediatric neurologist and I haven't changed my hair style since I was 10. No I take that back, I changed the part 20 years ago.

My 30 year old cousin has epilepsy and now seems to be doing well. He went through a 5 year period of not wanting to be on meds (a very dark period). Finally he's on the right track and my Aunt is smiling for real.

Your daughter sounds like a sweet heart. The apple didn't fall far from the tree.

Pasadena Adjacent
(Palm Axis just won't let me sign in as Pasadena Adjacent) needy basta%$#

barbra said...

Good luck with the hard-work-smiling today.

Margaret said...

The smiling went fine. In fact, I really like the neurologist, so it's not that hard. And we've been doing this for a long time so it's not even that traumatic. I just always feel a bit morose beforehand. I hope I didn't sound all whiny and pathetic.

Mister Earl said...

You're smiling and I have tears in my eyes. Nice thoughts.

altadenahiker said...

Whiny? Not at all. I think you sounded proud.

Petrea said...

Oh Margaret, you've made me cry. In a good way. Because you're a good mom with a lovely, generous daughter. Wonder where she learned that?

Cafe Pasadena said...

I was gonna guess what you were doing was smiling while blogging. Something you have to do anyway.

I can see there is at least two positive reasons for pain & suffering.

Excellent work: A

Susan C said...

Looks to me like there are three wise women in the Begin Again family.

J&D said...



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