When people first see Veronica, they usually ask if and when her lip will be repaired. I can't blame them. Whenever anyone has a medical condition, people are always eager to have modern medicine fix the situation. Before we got her, I intended to have her lip repaired as soon as the doctor recommended and we will. Her surgery is already scheduled for the end of September (to allow for a couple months of adjustment and additional bonding time).
I hadn't anticipated feeling conflicted about it.
When my other children were born, I studied their little faces intently. I looked over their hands and feet, the shape of their heads, the creases in their wrists. I watched their expressions - the way their eyes crinkled before crying, the pursing of their lips as they dreamed of eating. I felt compelled to commit every detail to memory.
Now I am doing the same with Veronica. I want to study every part of her. And the longer I look, the more I love what I see. And the sadder I will be to see it go.
Obviously surgery to repair her cleft lip and palate are necessary. I do want her to have clear speech, an easier time eating, and the ability to go out without people staring at her (other than because she is so cute). But the decision isn't the emotionally conflict-free situation I thought it would be.
I am sure she will be just as cute after her surgery as she is now, but I have fallen in love with her cleft smile. That cute little gap in her lip and gumline makes her smile look even wider. I have confidence that her surgeon will do a great job, but I think about the beautiful face God gave her, the face I fell in love with, and know it will change forever. This isn't a gradual change like the way friends get a few crinkles by their eyes or the way a young child's face morphs into a big kid face when they get their top grown-up teeth in. It will be a sudden change. All of you who know me know that I am not great with change.
And as I look at my daughter, I know that her cleft is the reason she is my daughter. My husband and I specifically joined the Waiting Child program because we knew we could handle a few extra medical quirks along the way. Had Veronica not had this small difference, she would not have been our child. That makes it even a little harder to let go of this visible difference of what helped make us a family.
Let me reiterate and be perfectly clear: I am glad we are able to provide the surgery for her. I know I will fall in love with her changed face. But it will be bittersweet, too.
Am I the only one who has felt this way?