Friday, June 7, 2013

swimming, storms, and stares...

Ahhh, the week of our annual Hilton Head getaway, the week of our anniversary and my birthday!

And if it looks like we're having too much fun, it's because we were....

My boys.

She is fearless in the water now.

After what's-becoming-a-more-common scene where she refused to go play in the fountain because she feared what the kids might say about her alopecia, I was able to convince her otherwise.  And she then had a blast.

Speaking of alopecia, I had an unusually tough day with it while we were here.  Perhaps because while we're on vacation, I'd like to have an "alopecia vacation," too?  (Is that possible?  It seems that traveling actually worsens the alopecia since we're out of our typical routine where people know us.)

But instead of the much-desired anonymity, we received even more than the usual stares and extra attention and free gifts.    That may not sound so difficult, but when you walk around with a bald girl every day and almost every interaction with strangers is either an educational lesson or a how-do-I-get-through-this-awkwardness moment?  It's just exhausting at times.

On this particularly hard day, Caroline and I went on a walk down the beach together.  Suddenly I hear someone calling out, "Ma'am!" and I know.  Here it comes.  I know I didn't drop anything, so it's going to be something to do with alopecia.  What will it be this time?  Someone to pray for us?  Someone to give me a doctor's name who cures children's cancer?  I looked and saw a middle-aged woman and her daughter (age 10 or 11) coming towards us, the daughter holding a bunch of balloons.

"Excuse me, my daughter would like to give your daughter her birthday balloons."  Okay, whew.  This one's not going to be so bad.

"Oh, that's so sweet, but you really don't have to do that," I tried to politely weasel my way out of the situation, especially because WHO'S WALKING AROUND ON THE BEACH ON THE MORNING AFTER A TROPICAL STORM WITH BALLOONS?!?  I, for one, certainly didn't want to carry them around!

"No, please take them.  She really wanted her to have them."

The daughter hands them to Caroline, who is SOOOOO used to being given things that it's inadvertently making her feel like she's the center of the earth.  I have to remind her to even say thank you.

(And what are these situations going to be like on the day after she realizes that they're giving her these things because they think she has cancer?!?  Embarrassing??  Humiliating??  Won't they make her feel her differences all the more keenly?  Doesn't it point out the thing that my daughter is most insecure about?? I'm not sure even someone with cancer would want the extra attention, to be honest.)

Obviously though, I'd rather have those types of interactions rather than the other type that we received that day.... loooong stares (especially from grown-ups-- at least put a smile on your face if you're going to stare!) and double-takes, followed by whispers and mutterings as they walked away.  It made me feel like my family was a circus attraction for all to see.

But such is life when you're "different," I guess.

With the help of swimming lessons all semester, this gal became a small fish in the pool.  By the end of the week, she could swim (with goggles and a snorkle) all the way from one end of the pool to the other without any floaties!  Way to go, CC!

This little guy is quickly becoming a beach bum, too.

We also happened to pick a week where a tropical storm came through- fun, fun!

Fortunately, it didn't ruin our plans too much, especially with an indoor pool where we stayed.

This was about the extent of the "damage"- a gust of wind knocked over our stroller on the beach.  :)

She climbs.

He "climbs".

I love them.  I don't care if we look different.

My family is beautiful.

See ya later, Hilton Head!
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  1. Nanny & PapaJune 8, 2013 at 8:04 AM

    They are beautiful! They are God's wonderful creations. We love them and glad they are a part of this family!

  2. Well, the storm (or the stares) didn't seem to put a damper on the smiles of either the kids or the parents! What a beautiful, happy family. Great post!

  3. looks like y'all had a great time! lots of fun :-) honestly I think understanding about alopecia is growing rapidly. it seems like in the last few years it's come to the forefront and although I'm sure you don't want to be pioneers in this journey there are others who have started paving the way for y'all. keep up the courage, corbetts!