She sits beside me on the sofa. So close she is pinching my leg beneath her. Her shoulder digging in as she leans against me.
Thirteen- in underwear and a thin tee shirt sitting in the front room scanning the photo files on our computer. Her boldness and confidence always amazes me.
I stopped looking for the 3 photos we need for the team banquet (one baby, one toddler, on current) ten minutes ago. I am now simply testing a hypothesis.
"What about this one?" I ask over and over. Her "no's" are defiant dripping with disgust. While her "yes's" are oozing with laughter.
The difference between them is whether or not she is wearing glasses.
People make poor historians. We tend to forget. We store memories in duplicate and mix the 2 versions up then spit it back out diluted and rearranged.
I have forgotten how bad it was.
Forgotten the sound of her baby animal cry, "mamma!" when ever she thought she was lost.
The shut down when we started patching in an attempt to gain vision.
The places she wouldn't go because she didn't do well in crowds.
The hands cupped around her face, nose pressed to the glass museum cases trying to see in.
The work and frustration of learning to interpreted what she was seeing.
And the quiet corner she finally retreated into. The one I thought she would never get out of.
All I could see was the image of her on the first day she got her glasses. How she had pushed the big chair up until it touched the television- and she still couldn't see it.
"I'm sorry," I said looking down from the camera, "it was just so hard...."
Once Beach asked me if there was anything I would change about her.... that was a long time ago.
Then and now the answer to her question is No.
I won't change a thing about her.
She has created her own way because she had to. The pay off was she got to choose how she wanted her world to look. She made it beautiful, full of glorious little details, and bathed in sunshine.
I spent more time watching her interact with various girls and coaches at Regionals than I did her gymnastics. We received huge compliments on what a great teammate and gymnast she was. How kind and sweet she is. She always makes me proud!
It is heart breaking to be reminded just how much of her life she spends struggling to find the light. But the light she finds is unmistakably the most brilliant.
"You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it's important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages." Michelle Obama