I got a bill in the mail last week, which is highly unsurprising, because between my “Get out of -ologist free card” I’m pretty much always sending off some payment or another. So it was with exactly NO emotion whatsoever that I opened a bill from the big umbrella corporation that is home to most of my doctors.

When I put it THAT way, it sounds so sinister.


I opened up a bill, looked at the dates of services, squinched up my eyebrows, wondering how my daughter had walked herself to the doctor, and then looked BACK at the dates of service and realized they were asking for a co-pay from last year.

From one of her many pre-surgical neurologist appointments. The dates just happened to coincide with this month, minus a year.

Somehow, in all of the hustle and bustle of taking our daughter to and from the doctor every day or two, our daughter–whose age was still measured in days–I’d somehow forgotten this one, single co-pay. Everything else has been long paid off, all the receipts and insurance pre-authorizations shoved into a manila folder somewhere.

It’s marked maybe “Amelia.” Or “encephalocele.” Or maybe it says nothing. It could say “Happy Birthday, Steve;” I don’t actually know. There are thousands of cross-sectional pictures of her brain in that folder too, should she ever want to see how her skull wasn’t properly put together, or where her brain hung out of the back of her head.

I thought about what a difference a year makes as I wrote out the check yesterday, because it’s been almost a year since my daughter had her brain surgery. I’m the same person who wrote,

“I cannot break this feeling of doom and foreboding. I cannot imagine a life past next Thursday one way or another. I cannot believe that I am lucky enough to have this baby AND KEEP HER.”

I wish I could go back and give myself a huge reassuring hug because I remember how horribly terrified I was that she was going to pass on the table. If I could do anything, I’d go back and do that.

She kicked brain surgery in the balls on February 26, 2009:

(she was very, very, very swollen from surgery)

And here she is now, my daughter, the girl with curls like a halo. The one who regularly breaks the bones of her foe and then sucks down the marrow for a snack. My ass-kickin’ little girl.

Not to be outdone by her oldest brother, she helps wash walls, even if it’s only with a wee Playmobil brush. Also: planning on how to remove that wall with her teeth. Because OBVIOUSLY.

She even helps with laundry. If by “helping” you mean, mischievously throwing all the “too small” clothes I’d sorted carefully out all over the house with her brother so that they could roll around in them. Which, I have to say, may have made my too-small heart grow 30 sizes.

Oh Amelia Grace, how wonderful life is with you in our world. We couldn’t imagine it any other way.



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