“Do you want to cover it up?”
I had taken Callie to a photography studio to have her six month photos done. We didn’t get to do new born pictures or even maternity pictures due to her early arrival and subsequent stay in the NICU, so I wanted to make sure that I made up for lost time.
I had planned out her adorable outfit changes, brought her favorite stuffed bunny to make her laugh, and scheduled it post nap time to ensure she would be her normal sunny self for the photographer. We were prepped and ready to roll.
I wasn’t prepared for that question though. The photographer was referencing her leg. When Callie was born, her left leg was markedly shorter than her right and her little foot turned in at the ankle. It didn’t look “normal” by any means but I didn’t quite understand the question.
“Cover what up?”
“Um, her leg,” the photographer said quietly.
Did I want to cover up her leg?
To make others comfortable with seeing something different?
Was I ashamed of it?
Did I want to hide that imperfection away in the dark?
Pretend it didn’t exist?
Would she not be accepted as she was?
Tuck away that unique part of her?
Hide those imperfections, the season, the story, and the journey we were on?
I looked at the photographer and smiled. Callie looked up at me with her big blue eyes and clapped her hands. In hindsight, this was the first step of onto the path of advocating for Callie and I imagine our life would be drastically different had I responded any other way. I’m so thankful that even though I didn’t know what lay for ahead for us, I knew in my heart what the right answer was.
“No. She’s perfect just the way she is.”