My daughter went to bed with a bad headache last night. On Friday, she came home from school with one, too. On that afternoon, she dropped her book bag in the front hallway and slowly made her way to the sofa to put her head down.
She’s all of eight years old.
Last night, after giving her a Motrin, I sat down beside her and massaged the area above her right eye, and said, “I’m sorry.”
While she gets her gorgeous blue eyes, and any athletic ability she may possess, from her dad, from me she has inherited migraines.
I remember getting my first really bad headaches in third grade—the grade she’s in now. By the time I was 10 my mom was taking me to the doctor’s office fairly regularly, trying to figure out “the cause.” Migraines in kids weren’t so understood back then. Basically the doctor would look in my eyes to make sure there were no obvious signs of something drastically wrong, and would then sent me for a vision exam.
I had lots of those. All the way till I was 25 and the ophthalmologist finally said, “You have perfect vision. You have always had perfect vision. Come back to me at 40 for reading glasses. For now, see a migraine doctor.”
And so I did, with very limited success.
Ever since I’ve been in my mid-20s, and finally learned much about migraines, I’ve feared passing the “gene” along to my future kids. (Thankfully my partner back then, who oh-so-briefly became Husband Number One, left our marriage before we could even think of having kids; he suffered from cluster migraines. Shudder.)
Anyway, through the years I hoped someone would find a “cure” for headaches and migraines before I brought new life into this world.
At least the medical profession is more aware of their existence, and ways to help manage them.
But still I feel guilty. And so I looked at my daughter last night, as I massaged her head and thought about my wicked genes, and asked, “Have I given you nothing but bad?”
She said, “Well, there are the headaches. And the aching legs. And my overbite.”
“Yes, all of those things. But the braces, at least, have already made your smile even more gorgeous.”
She grinned, and pondered a bit. And then said,
“Mom, you gave me something absolutely perfect.”
“Life. You gave me life. What could be better than that?”
And just like that, my eight year old swept away my guilt, and once again, my heart.