Failure

Failure:

The omission of expected or required action. example, “a failure to comply with the basic rules”. negligence, dereliction, omission.

As a father I have spent many years attempting to be the type of father that my children would look up to, someone they would be proud of and maybe even someone they may model their own moral center after. In being a good person, someone with integrity and patience and fortitude to forge through difficult times so that they, my children may be well taken care of and live healthy, productive and successful lives in their own ways. And in the end being people whom they themselves can be proud of.

Then one day you wake up and realize that you failed them, that at some point and why didn’t you recognize the need earlier, you botched an opportunity to make certain that they have every advantage afforded them, and that includes being looked after physically as well as emotionally and mentally, that somewhere along the road you parried responsibility and let someone else make decisions that you yourself ought to have considered.

We have all had that Adam’s Forward Bend Test to see if we might have Scoliosis, probably at some point during elementary school. The doctor stands behind you, asks you to bend over and visually checks your spine. If nothing appears abnormal than we all go about our business. I relied on the doctor to tell me that my children were fine, that they were healthy and normal. Is that where my responsibility ends as a parent? Too often I think we rely on others because they have a certain degree or they hold the position in society we have been told to respect and rely on for the truth, and by allowing that message to be delivered to my children I have failed them. After all I am the first and last line of defense for my children is that not right? Am I not the one person that they ought to trust to take care of them above all others?

I found out recently at the age of 12 that my youngest daughter has Scoliosis, and generally speaking by age 13 our skeletal systems are fully matured, and if you have Scoliosis and nothing has been done to attempt to affect a change by then it’s too late, and the possibility that they will have to live with the pain and the frustration of having this for the rest of their lives. My daughter is ahead of her age growth mile stones, I have researched the braces; there are hard ones, soft ones and semi-soft body strap systems and each one of them have their own claims but absolutely none of them can nor claim to affect and actual fix for their intended purpose. But if it is bad enough after 13 years old then the only option is surgery and even that is not a sure thing.

So how is it that my daughter’s Scoliosis escaped me, was I so flagrantly absent minded as to never notice the symptoms’? Was I wrong in assuming that her complaints of back pain were the sheer result of her involvement in sports, I say yes. I say I should have known something; I should have seen it or heard her more clearly and why had I not. I assumed that her passion and continued intense participation in sports was an indication of her being completely and physically healthy and I was dead wrong.

How does a father stand there as the doctors’ tell his little girl that this will be a life long struggle and watch her little eyes well up with tears and her lips quiver as she thinks about how it will affect her playing sports? How does a father tell her that we will do everything we can to work through this, knowing that I could have done something more, that I should have done something more.

Last weekend I watched her play softball for her team at the state tournaments, she played hard, she won games and she celebrated some great plays. But by the time she couldn’t throw the ball straight any longer because her back hurt so bad, it was too late and she couldn’t push through it any more. She blamed herself for losing the game, she hated that she couldn’t do anything about the pain, about her spine twisting and pulling against her own muscular structure, fighting within her young body, contorting her in unnatural directions sending intense, shooting aches throughout her back. She walked off the field and broke down, tears streaming from her beautiful eyes and rolling over her soft adolescent cheeks. I am sorry Georgia Rose, I am sorry that I cannot take that pain from you.

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