My family had the recent pleasure of taking a trip to a family cottage on Jamestown, Rhode Island. We had a great time getting reaquainted with family that we hadn’t seen in a while. The kids had fun playing with their 5-year-old cousin, Nate. We were there for my birthday and for my husband and my 12-year anniversary. There are great restaurants within walking distance in Jamestown, so I got my lobster roll and crabcake fix for our anniversary lunch. The trip was well-worth the 18 hour drive each way. We were entertained throughout the drive with books on CD – tales including the second in the Books of Umber series as well as Peter and the Starcatchers.
These family trips always represent a challeging time for my daughter, though, as she tries so hard to stay in compliance with her 22-hour-per-day brace requirement. This is tough when there is an in-ground pool at your disposal for all your waking hours, as well as beaches a half-mile in every direction. We also went hiking in the nearby Beavertail State Park, located right on the island. Beavertail represented some wonderful opportunities for challenging hiking conditions as we navigated steep and slippery rock formations – something my daughter handled well in her brace. It was tough for me to navigate and I had full ability to bend at the waist! But, Cindy tries very hard to stay in compliance, even during these family trips. One strategy is that I make her a t-shirt, similar to the bodysuit that she finds so comfortable, to slip on top of her bathing suit for the times she is outside of the water. She can just slip on the t-shirt, the brace, and a cover-up, then remove it when it’s time to go in the pool. It’s not a problem if the t-shirt or the brace gets wet, so this works well and keeps her comfortable. Some days during the summer, she likes to take off her brace and spend her 2 hours in a pretty little sundress. But, she is very disciplined – if she was in the pool that day, she declines the pretty sundress in favor of one of her other pretty – but longer sleeved – dresses. It’s nice to see that even at the age of 8, children are capable of making the choice to stay in compliance. They can fight the brace daily and argue with their parents, or, like Cindy, they can decide that it is, indeed, worth it to make the necessary sacrifices. I think there is a lot I can learn from Cindy. Oftentimes, I am not willing to make the necessary sacrifices to do what is best for my health (put down the second dish of ice cream!) or well-being (go to SLEEP already!) But, just as she has shown me, the sacrifice is worth it.
A final amusing anecdote – Cindy recently got orthodontics – a spacer that covers the roof of her mouth, as well as brackets in preparation for wires. She was very stressed out in anticipation of getting them put on, and I pointed out that kids get these all the time and that any girl who can wear her Scoliosis brace with such diligence and ease won’t have a problem wearing orthodontics. “Well,” she replied, “But the scoliosis brace is EASY.” I’m sure most kids would choose orthodontics. Praise God she’s not one of them! 🙂