Special, Little Handful

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Booksie Classic
I often think about the children who are born with birth defects or tumors. I know one personally, and have babysat her before, twice. This is just a short story of how I feel on her.

Submitted: December 13, 2012

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Submitted: December 13, 2012

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"Lilly, Lilly, no," I bent down to swipe away the stale goldfish cracker that has probably been on the floor since last week as Lilly reached for it. She has a habt of crawling, patting the floor until she finds something to shove into her mouth. Lilly simply hits the ground again and turns to play with a sparkling white costume she ripped off of one of her Barbie dolls. I sit down on the futon but refuse to let my mind wander, as it so often does, from babysitting. I'm already tired from watching this little two year old, but it's only seven-thirty. Her parents wont be home until nine.

Lily's special. Not la-la-la special, but she does still have trouble forming her words. She was born with a tumor, which completely altered her appearence when she was born. Not having a right eye, a fake one was place in the empty socket, but the skin is closed over it forever. The lower park of her nose isn't there, and the rest of it is pressed neatly against her face. The top part of her mouth, the top lip, isn't half there and curves up into a rounded point. As I sit here, on the couch, getting up to brush something out from Lilly's grasp, I can't help but think of how this tumor completely alters her life.

And her parent's expectations.

My heart breaks inside of me as I watch her flap the silky Barbie dress in the air. If she really does learn how to talk, as her speech therapist continually assures her parents, and maybe even gets to go to school, how many people will simply ignore her? This little beauty, with sandy blond, curly hair pulled into two zebra striped bows, and one beautiful little blue eye...how many people would walk past her in a hury, trying not to talk to her lest they unbalance the status quo? Just thinking about this makes my stomach upset at how many of us brush off people like Lilly. 

A sudden screech fills the living room as I have to snatch away a random wood shaving from Lilly's tiny fingers. The fingers of a normal baby. She slowly files into one of her fits, the ones that happen so often that I've figured my own way to deal with. I pick her up, facing her out in front, and swing her in a circle.

"Vrooooo!" I yell, holding her tighly, "Vrooooo!"

The tantrum slowly subsides into mild giggling. I genlty set her on the couch where she turns onto her stomach and burries her face in the soft green cushions. I rub her back, then poke her in the sides. Lilly squeals and tries to swat my hand away like any other two year old would.

Like any other two year old...

I hear her sigh, then she gets up on her knees and falls into my lap, cooing gently to herself. She finds my belt loop and strings her fingers through it one at a time, takes them out, and then does it again.

"Li-ly," I rub her back like my mom rubs mine when I'm not feeling good. It offeres some comfort to her, but she's tired and gets on her knees, hands reaching up at me. Getting up, I hold her around her waist, her stomach pressed tightly against mine, and stand up. Lilly puts her head on that comforting spot where my shoulder and neck meets. When I had first held her like this, she had bitten me, feeling awakward in someone else's arms. But now, after babysitting her four times, she's become used to me and my plain smell and stance that always hovers over her so she won't trip on herself. 

"La-la-la-la," she says quietly, practicing the vocals her speech therapist taught her only half an hour before. "La-la-la-la..."

"Yea, Lilly; la-la-la-la..."

"La-la-la..." she huffs into my shoulder. Wrapping my arms tightly around her waist, I swing side to side. I've seen pictures of my mom holding me the way I'm holding Lilly. My mom told me that it's always offered some sort of comfort, some sort of safety, when she held me like this. The effect it has on Lilly shows how well it works. Now, she's gurgling to herself and drifting off to sleep, her one good eye blinking and then slowly closing until it was accompanied with a sweet, quiet snore. It's a good thing I've already dressed her for bed. I don't think I would've been able to get her Dora footie pajamas on without waking her up.

Her room is decorated like a normal two year old girl's room. A soft rosie pink color with frilly white curtains hanging over a stout, square window. Her crib (yes, her crib) sits by her humble changing bed. I gently, slowly, lower Lilly into the cradle until her head rested softly on her tiny pillow. Earlier, she had screamed when I tried to get her bows out, so now I happily removed them from her feather-soft hair. She stirs a little as I place them on top of her dresser, but she doesn't awake. I can't just leave her alone in her room. With other children, I would've been able to get them to bed and then turn the volume on Criminal Minds way low and wait for theit parents to get home. But no, I'll feel too guilty if I just walk out on Lilly, so I pull a tiny children's tea-table chair out and set it by her crib. 

Now I'm free to let my mind wander and, sitting by her crib, I can't help but think of Lilly. And her parents.

Gosh, her parents.

What was it like, hearing from the doctor that their baby had a tumor the size of a quarter and therefore had a birth defect? I myself would believe it to be shameful to have a baby like that. But that just proves how low I really am. But her parents...they didn't give her up. They loved her. For me, its hard to imagine having a child that isn't like the rest. A lot of the time I wonder if her parents ever felt regret. Even just babysitting her, I got a first-hand experience at how much of a handful Lily could be.

I guess that's why they love her so much. She's just the perfect outcome of a special, little handful.


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