Today I was back in the town that I called home during college. Fall is nostalgia for me, what can I say? I think it's something in the leaves, the way the air feels when it's at the perfect temperature for jeans and a sweatshirt, the remembrance of new lunch boxes and squeaky shoes that came with September.
I reminisced about the differences of what Ann Arbor meant to me today, versus what it meant to me a million years ago. Instead of a backpack slung over one shoulder, it was a diaper bag. Instead of the butterflies in my belly coming from cute football players with great eyes, or professors that had a sixth sense of who did and didn't read the assigned 70 chapters and proceeded to call on those that didn't, the butterflies today were swirling about, nervous over what one more physician was going to say about Little A.
I wasn't looking for a spot to tie up my bike, but rather a spot to park my car in the giganto-plex parking structure, I wasn't fishing for the notes that I took the last time I was in class, but rather the medical reports and insurance information and copies of this and that and things I found on the internet. (Damn you, internets).
We found our way, Little A and I. We even got there on time, no grace period needed. We sat through the endless medical history questions from the nurse, knowing I'd get to repeat them all to the doctor again in twenty minutes. "Did you not get the records that were sent"? I always ask this question, just for fun. FYI: typically, the response is a blank stare, an occasional fumble of a chart. No, they've never reviewed jack prior to walking into the room, similar to my test-taking techniques of yesteryear.
Today our physician presented a choice to me: Little A could have surgery soon, or we could wait one more year. There is a 65% chance that she could grow correctly and that in that time, with her medication, heal herself, to speak. Or I could opt to heal her medically, sooner rather than later.
After her exam, during which she screamed bloody murder and "No" while they were prodding her, I asked about ten questions, and ran my fingers through my hair, tapped my feet, and rubbed my hands along my neck. "What would you do"?, I asked. Of course, I knew he would tell me that he couldn't offer that type of advice.
"Maybe this is something to talk over with her Da-" He stopped, mid-word, glancing at the empty ring finger, his eyes then noticing the very blank portions of her records. "It's just us. This is the decision-making team. Scary, huh"? I laughed. "It's OK, we're fine". And for the very first time, I meant those words.
"What do you think, Little A?" I tilted my head to hers. "Ummmm, no." I looked at him and smiled.
"I'm going to wait. I am. I think I'm going to wait and see what happens". I said it more as a question, looking for his affirmation.
"Great, I'll write you a prescription for the next year and you can call if she regresses". He smiled warmly as he shut her folder and asked the nurse to go and get the prescription form.
"You're doing fine, you know", he said as he squeezed my hand before walking out.
And suddenly, one day in Ann Arbor, I learned more about myself than in the culmination of so many others.
And out we walked, bag banging against my shoulder, air smelling like football season, sun feeling like school bus rides, life feeling, once again, like a beginning with endless possibilities.