An important part of parenting is protecting your children from infectious disease. While my offspring have been able to avoid measles, mumps, and Jenny McCarthy, I am still a failure in this regard. You see, my daughter has contracted a condition that flares up every December. It elevates her stress levels, tires her out, and completely disrupts our life.
It is sad. She is only 12.
I wish there were a cure.
Some kids grow out of it, others learn to live with the condition even when it is in remission, but it never goes away.
This disease is called Balleritious Nutcrackevitus.
I heard it was first contracted in France. It found its way to my house when my oldest daughter was 5. It caused uncontrolled leaping and a swirly dizziness. She was a mess.
I hoped she only had the juvenile strain but as time has gone by, it has only gotten worse.
At first it was almost amusing, but then it started taking over. The uncontrolled swirls gave way to these repetitive motions. She would squat then stand, squat, then stand- for hours. She would lift one leg, then put it down, over and over again, and again, and again, and a gain. It ate up all of her mind and soul, and finally, it ate my weekends.
We have tried everything. We have seen experts, spent thousands of dollars on treatments, and finally, we visited an institution.
It was like some sort of leper colony where similarly infected young people could commune and older people could commiserate together. It was supposed to be therapeutic but it seemed to only make things fester.
We even tried relocating, thinking that perhaps a drier climate would help her system grow stronger. It was hard, she struggled. We thought she would finally break free, but then Decembers would roll around and she would succumb.
One specialist recommended we try these orthopedic sort of shoes. They build in some sort of contraption to try to control the spinning. These medical devices are expensive and not covered by insurance. She has become completely dependent.
I have learned that varying experts disagree on prescribed treatments. Vaganova says do this, Cecchetti says do that. Balanchine only treats a specific strain of the illness. I have been told that we have to pick a theory and go with it. I always want a second opinion.
I have watched the patient get worn down from a swirly little squiggle to becoming serious beyond her age. She tends to fixate and focus on every little bit of the therapy. You have never seen such a dedicated out-patient. All of the patients are that way. Fixated.
I fear that if she does not recover soon, institutionalization will be her only hope.
Merry Christmas Nutcracker families.
We arrived at a point in the program when nothing was going on. Lunch slash break I suppose. Folks with long braids, bells on their legs, and t- shirts lounged around on lawn chairs. We wandered through booths selling beads, feathers, and kitsch.
I’m not sure if anyone at the pow wow was Navajo or not, but my little one had never experienced a Navajo taco. She has now. I’m pretty sure my middle school had no Navajos but we had Navajo tacos on the cafeteria menu at least once a week. I’m paying it forward.
I like being in a place like this. Well, maybe not a place exactly- an event. An event where the sounds and sights aren’t the same as every other day or place.
If you spend enough time going places and doing things you don’t normally go and do, then normal sort of shifts. If normality is displaced life gets interesting. I like interesting.
When the dancing started, when the grand entrance began, it was other worldly. The sounds, the movements, and the colors surrounded everything. There was a pounding constant beat driving below with a high pitched chanting up above and in the middle was colorful swirling motion.
This isn’t history but it is tradition. It was very much a now and not a then event. There is so much of native life that is dead, that is then, that it was nice to be in the middle of something that was now. It was alive. It is good to see things stay alive.
Tickets are a bit steep but what do you do when the ticket is to see your own kid? What we did was buy one ticket with which the Mrs. saw the first half, then we switched at intermission.When the lights began to dim I found my seat and sat down. The woman next to me looked over and remarked, “you don’t look like the woman who was here before.”
“Yes. She looks much better than I do. She’s my wife.”
“Not better; just different.”
When the Sugarplum Fairy danced onto stage the excited woman on the other side of me proudly whispered, “that’s my daughter!”
She’s very good. The mother asked which one was mine. “O, she is little. Does she like ballet?”
“She loves it.”
“I am soooo sorry,” she said in all seriousness. “We moved here from Oregon for my daughter to go to this school.”As I watched my girl all done up in lipstick and blush, bun pulled back tight, I wonder if there will come a moment when this all ends. Will she decide she is done? Perhaps my budget will crush her dream, or maybe a stone faced instructor will one day have to tell her that her skill has taken her as far as she can go and that its over.
But none of those times are now. Now is all smiles and this strange soft, mushy feeling I get when I see her stand with straight back and elongated neck on stage. I love the wide eyed excitement in her face when she tells me all about how the little kid she was in charge of is a hand full and how she got to be in the front row and how there is an after party and can we please, please, please go?
My fear of tomorrow can wait till then.