I suppose I could make a big deal out of Little Man graduating from Helmet Town, but it was truthfully sort of a non-event. After half a year of of donning that sweaty melon molder, one might think we'd have entered the orthotics clinic with our boy looking all palsied and weary and then ceremoniously lifting off the helmet and breaking into a gallop, like Heidi or Tiny Tim busting out of their leg braces --God bless us, every one!!! But instead my children were wildly behaved in the orthotics clinic while the helmet tech doodled around with his measuring devices and scanners. The tech pretty much conceded that we were done here, this head would have pleased even da Vinci.
I don't regret that my kid had to wear that half-cannon on his head for 22 hours a day, for six straight months. I could have done without the stares and the cautious questions from sweet church ladies as to what was wrong and was my baby going to be okay. But I enjoyed the extra barrier that the helmet provided for the wee lad learning to crawl and climb and headbutt. And I enjoyed the story of how his sister picked out a hot pink and purple helmet for him which we proceeded to cover with all the freebie stickers they give out at the Trader Joe's check-out.
People keep asking me if I'm going to keep that sweat-soaked souvenir and will it make the move to Tennessee? I think the only choice I have is to keep that thing. It tells the story of a great portion of my baby's first year of life. All the visits we made to get checked at the "Helmet Doctor"--visits in which Baby Girl insisted that she was very sick and needed to be checked as a patient with serious ailments.
I think the helmet also tells the story of healthcare, and in this I speak globally. The helmet symbolizes the care and concern, matched with the resources and solutions that were invested in the shape of my son's head. I'm grateful. But I feel heavy over how many children will go without medical care for maladies far more severe than a misshapen head, who may never see a doctor, nevermind a specialist.
So while I am not going to fete this finish line in Helmet Town, I will use this moment as an opportunity. Thank you to all the doctors, nurses, technicians and specialists everywhere for the care that you provide. Thank you, government agents, for ensuring the access to care we enjoy in this country. And God bless all those around the world who are in need of better medical care and facilities. I so wish inequity didn't rule the world and that the resources worldwide were as numerous and vibrant as the stickers that cover our souvenir helmet.