The first time we took June to have her casts removed the technician asked if we wished to keep the casts. I was appalled, keep the casts?! A permanent reminder of this experience I would do anything to not have? To look at the devices that caused my baby frustration and us so much stress and anguish? I thought not, and the casts were promptly thrown out.
The second time around, however, at my husband’s suggestion we kept one cast, and made the decision to keep one cast every time they are changed. He gently suggested one evening that maybe we should have kept the first casts- I, of course, shot him a very dubious glance; keep those horrid things? No, thank you. He granted me that it was not a pleasant thing to keep (my point exactly), to always be able to look at the physical representation of the challenges we faced so early on with our daughter, but then, he added, we might like to look at her progress with each cast. He said we might enjoy seeing how tiny her legs once were and then how they grew each week, little by little, as they straightened out. He even brought up that it might be nice to show June one day, when she would be much older, and with her problems in the past, be able to appreciate the medical aspect of what happened when she was a baby.
I had to admit he made very good arguments so we now keep a bag in the closet for her old casts, and though I never look at them (it’s just way too soon to be able to detach the feeling from the medicine) a part of me is excited to talk about this bag’s contents with June sometime in the distant future.
I envision that the knowledge of her journey augmented by the tangible proof of the effort that went into healing her will inspire her to undertake the journey again, only as a healer the second time around, not a patient. I imagine that something good must come out of the hardship, that this will be the motivation that June will need to become an extraordinary human being, to help others in the way she was helped, to be creative and innovative in bettering the human experience for those who struggle.
So now, when we take home the casts, though I won’t be able to look at them for some time yet, I’ll think of them as tools to motivate a move towards a brighter, more inspired future for our family, symbols of light and positive things to come, that for the meantime will rest in the dark depths of the closet until our family is ready to emerge, stronger than ever.