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.

97 thoughts on “Loose Ends Reminds Me Of Bookends Which Makes Me Want A Sandwich

  1. What a little beauty, and is that “future hell-raiser” I see in her eyes. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

    You done good, Mom.

    Here’s a hug from me… (((( ))))


  2. I remember how scared you were waiting for her surgery and what would come after it – she’s become such a cute little lady and she’s ready to conquer the world. I love it!

  3. Beautiful daughter. Amazing, strong, and beautiful mother. This post was so wonderful that I don’t even have it in me to make a witty and sarcastic comment, as per usual.

    However, I think I may go make a sandwich.

    1. Isn’t that incredible? For me, it’s now over. Finally, I can lay it to rest. I don’t know why it took writing a check, but that’s what it took to solidify that we’re done.

  4. If I’d known you then, I would have sent huge cyber hugs. So glad she came through like a true champ. Just about fell off my chair when I read that one of my new favist of the faves bloggers has a daughter with the same dang name as mine. Yes, way. How cool is that?

  5. A couple of things …I need to borrow this and post it everywhere on the internet….Maybe I can change it to Joey and Amelia “The one who regularly breaks the bones of her foe and then sucks down the marrow for a snack.” LOVE IT!!!

    Also, yep, I wish I could go back to all the times my son went to surgery and every time a doctor told me a new diagnosis and just give myself a big reassuring hug and some optimistic thoughts.

    Just a crazy question……When my son was on the OR table for the first time I was so scared he would pass on the or table that I practiced over and over again saying this “Please donate any life sustaining organs”. I don’t know if I would have done it but I wanted to donate if he did pass……..What do you think you would have done???? I know morbid question.

    1. Dude. Take all that you want.

      And I would have donated all of her that I could have. Absolutely. Any part of her that could have lived on in someone else, yes. Of course. I think that’s the most precious, amazing gift I could have given another person. That’s a beautiful thought, Rebecca.

  6. Ahhh, closure.. It IS over now! I know exactly what you mean. She is going to rock this world. Look how she is rocking just yours!

  7. Nothing better than an ass-kicking little girl.

    I just commented this morning on another blog about Playmobil. Funny to read two references to something I haven’t thought about in at least 7 years in one day. Don’t you think that if Playmobil people were blown up to life size, they would live in Ikea and have names like Sigrid and N0elsk?

  8. I love that look in her eyes:
    you are watching me now, wait to see what I do when your back is turned!

    sweet awesome Mimi, happy day

  9. I remember those heartbreaking days when you were waiting for surgery, for answers, for a diagnosis. I remember wanting to wrap you up in a hug because I know that feeling of wanting to come out of your skin because you feel like you’re going to break in little pieces.

    I remember crying with joy when you told us how Mimi kicked brain surgery’s ass.

    Never forget for a second that you were the one who passed on that Ass Kicking Gene to your Sweet Little Sunday Girl.

    Much love to you and your darling.

  10. Hi!

    I am stunned: your daughter’s name is identical to the little one I babysit. Wow. I never noticed it before.

    Gorgeous name, gorgeous girl. I don’t need to tell you that you are lucky because you already know :-).

  11. I just wanted to share….
    I am 30 years old now, but I was also born with an Encephalocele. I had surgery at 3 months old and have no affects from it. I never have. The only thing that exists from my Encephalocele is a large scar on the back of my head, I am so glad your daughter is a case like mine.

    1. NO WAY! That’s probably the best story I’ve ever heard, Kim! I’m going to tell my friend Nikki about you (she’s pregnant with a wee one with an encephalocele and could use some stories like that). So glad to have met you.

      Mimi’s scar is large, but it’s beautiful. It tells a great story. Okay, now I’m crying.


  12. In tears. I know that “I can’t believe I’m going to get to keep this child past (insert surgery date here)” feeling all too well.

    But she made it and YOU made it. So here’s to kick ass Amelia and her kick ass Mommy!

  13. Thank you for sharing your daughter’s beautiful story. When my Sweetpea was 6 months old she was diagnosed with neurofibroid disease…I remember how scary it was. Fast forward 18 years, she has turned out to be a lovely young woman with very few health issues. I wish I could have just been a little calmer during those first few years…but maybe that made her a stronger little kick ass kid too – and helped to gray my hair faster!

  14. Someone mentioned gooey. I certainly feel gooey having just read that. Damn you.

    Having kids just makes your insides turn to goo. It’s a good thing I had two of them because my insides were headed in the direction of petrified forest.

    Glad your little one is fine, she’s adorable…

  15. You know what is awesome and sucks all at the same time about this? I honestly don’t think I can ever appreciate my kid as much as you can. But posts like this remind me that I need to.

  16. And sometimes they send you the bills crazy late! That’s happened to me. Once, I paid them, knowing from my insurance I would owe it, and they REJECTED my payment, and then like a year later sent me a bill. I mean, really.

    Glad things are going well!

  17. Oh my god do I want to nom those cheeks. I love that curly halo, mine has those too, but not much hair- much to my consternation.
    but anyway, way to kick some ass Mimi- you better watch out for her she will be a fearless one, she just has it in her!

  18. Looking at that picture, it just breaks my heart to think of sending such a small baby to surgery. And then look at her now!!!
    Many hugs and kisses to both of you.

  19. your kids are beautiful. i’m so sorry you had to go through this. i’ve done three (relatively minor) surgeries with my kids and it’s awful (AWFUL). i can’t imagine head surgery. you’re a brave mama. with a gorgeous little fighter 🙂

  20. First of all, what an adorable little girl! You are a lucky mama! And on a TOTALLY unrelated note, I loved your “Lousy Lover” article. I could totally relate to most of it. Probably a bad thing, huh…. ha ha.

  21. What an emotional reminder that must have been, to get that bill in the mail. It’s been a hell of a year, and I feel so blessed to know Amelia through you. I can’t wait to see what the next year is like!

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