This is the question that Allie posed to me one night a few weeks ago as she was changing into her pajamas. With Anna in earshot, I certainly wan't going to answer "bad" but I wasn't going to respond with "good" either because it certainly isn't. I told Allie that her question was one that I couldn't really answer. That it's not black or white and I can't just answer with one or the other. She wasn't happy with that.
Good or bad?
Allie's curiosity and questioning, I suspect, comes from some recent difficult moments for Anna. Allie's just trying to figure it all out. Unfortunately, we're trying to figure it out too. As parents, we're expected to have the answers to all questions but we don't. We're learning as we go too.
With Anna, there's been a bit of realization her spina bifida isn't going to go away. And it's not really "having spina bifida" that's the issue - it's all the stuff that goes along with it. It turns out that the kid who often tries to be different, doesn't really want to be that different after all. She has stated that it's not fair that she's the only one in her class who doesn't get to go to the bathroom. So what do you think happened on St. Patrick's Day when a classmate told everyone how he saw a leprechaun go into the hall bathroom? That's right. At some point during the day, Anna flashed the bathroom signal to her teacher and went to the hall bathroom to check for the leprechaun because why should everyone else be able to do it and not her.
Allie and I did have a discussion last week regarding her question. I explained to her that although spina bifida isn't good, Anna is doing really well. Anna is good. And I hate to say, "It could be so much worse," but it could be. It could always be. I do wonder why this happened to Anna though. Why us? I'm not one to believe in "everything happens for a reason." I still struggle with what happened to Abbey. I suppose I just have to accept that there are no answers.
A few weeks ago, I picked the girls up from school and as we were walking to the parking lot, we ended up intersecting with a line of kids, mostly, if not all, from Anna's class who were waiting to be led out to the buses. Anna's BFF, who was near the end of the line, was frantically waving to her. As we approached, most of the kids called out to Anna. It was just a big jumble of words consisting of hi, bye, triplets, and blast off to space. That last bit was from the kid at the very end of the line. I smiled at their innocence and wished for it to remain in some form or other for many years to come.