Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Look at me, mummy

About three days before Christmas, Connor fell over and hit his head on the dishwasher door. I applied a bandaid and hugs and kisses and after a few minutes, he toddled off, secure in the knowledge there was still mischief to be found. I, however, was a mess. What if it had been worse? The possibilities of what could have happened ran through my mind. A couple of days later the bandaid came off and the incident was forgotten.

Yesterday I took him to the eye specialist to see what he thought of Connor's 'cross eyes'. Sometimes it's quite obvious, other times you can barely notice it, but lately it's been more of the former than the latter. There was some concern over his ability to look directly at an object. This meant that he no longer relied on both eyes and that it may already be too late.

The doctor ran the appropriate tests and gave me the good news. He still uses both eyes and his vision is clear. But it won't remain that way for long. We have to act now in order to make sure he keeps his eyesight. This means an operation. Yes, they want to put a knife into both my baby's eyes. The dishwasher incident is nothing in comparison.

My thanks to Calli for letting me talk through events this afternoon. I know the family is really feeling the strain, but we'll get through this together.

The thing is this. Ever since it became apparent that Connor had a problem (at about 4 months old) I've been asking myself if it's my fault. Did I do something wrong in labour that destroyed his nerves. Did I not push when I should have pushed, did I bear down when I should have panted? The simple answer is "no" he was born this way. But even knowing this, I still feel guilty. He's my beautiful baby and I shouldn't have let this happen to him.

They're going to do what?

1 comment:

Kate said...

Lyn, sometimes I get a strange feeling when I hear from my friends about their experiences as parents, especially women.

I don't know if it's a "guy thing" that the dads I know don't talk much about the extreme feelings that go with being a parent, or just the individual personalities of the dads I happen to know - Lee is clearly an exception, for example.

Anyway, as I get older more of my friends are becoming mums and dads. Thankfully, its not often they have worrying news to share, like your news about Connor's operation. But when they do, I have this awful feeling of helplessness, but more than that, a feeling of ignorance.

Both my heart and my head hurt because I know you are experiencing pain, worry, guilt, fear, anxiety etc... and as friend I wish there was some way for you not to have to go through those things.

But because I'm not a mum, I honestly can't empathise and to me that's just awful. My mind can't really grapple with the terror you describe. It's frustrating and leaves me feeling even more useless.

Sometimes I wonder about the parental connection, that thing that makes you love your kids so much you'd happily impale yourself on the nearest sharp object if it would protect them.

Does it just happen when they're born? Does it grow over time? Can you only have it with kids that are biologically your own? Should I worry that it might not happen to me when I have kids of my own?

Every second Saturday morning we pick up Rob's daughter Imogen from her mum's place and she is collected again the following day at 5:00pm. Over the two years or so that I've been part of this arrangement, I've come to care more and more deeply about Imogen, especially as she grows and I can see how smart she is, and how fast she learns new things. I love the silly, little galoompah-head (our term, not hers)

But I still marvel at the special thing there is in Rob's face when he cuddles her, or the sadness in it when Imogen goes back to her Mum's place and I know that no matter how much I want to I can't make that better for him, nor can I share the same feeling.

I actually don't know many people these days, both among my adult friends and the children I know, that don't come from blended families. I'm all for 'em, in fact, because in the right circumstances, I reckon blended families produce more flexible, creative and well-adjusted people.

But surely I'm not the only one who feels this way??