Today while I was brushing Bella’s hair for school, she stopped and held up her hands in the mirror. Bella was born with a left hand limb difference, her fingers never formed on her left hand. The day we found out was one of the most difficult days of my life. Pure joy of finding out our first child was a girl, followed by “but she doesn’t have a left hand.”
I wanted to share my joy of knowing that the baby that was growing inside of my womb was a girl, a daughter. I also wanted to curl up in a hole and cry for days on end. How would she brush her hair, where would she wear her wedding ring, would she crawl, hold a cup, zip her jacket, ride a bike, fix her hair, tie her shoes, do her makeup? A storm of questions raced through our minds.
Fifteen weeks later, she was born. There was nothing “wrong” with her, but yes she didn’t have any fingers on her left hand. She was perfect, 5 pounds and 10 ounces, 19 inches long, a head full of black hair and wide-eyed! Five years later, she’s much like that today. Stubborn and faces the world head on with open arms. Her hair is blond and her eyes are hazel; she’s tall and lean. She’s patient, caring, and kind. She worries about other people’s feelings. She entered life wide-eyed and ready to go.
And today, she held her hands up in the mirror.
“Mom will I ever grow a hand on this side?” she asked with a serious look on her face.
“No, honey, you’ll never grow a hand on that side. Why are you asking? Did something happen?”
“Yeah, well Shawn said his mom was born without a hand and then her hand grew. I told him that couldn’t happen. Did it really happen mom? Can that happen?”
“No Bella, Shawn was wrong. There’s no way his mom could have grown a hand. That doesn’t happen in real life. I’m sorry he said that.” I looked at her sweet face; her hazel eyes had turned from me to staring at her hands in the mirror. Her face was not one of happiness or sadness. She looked so serious.
“Bella, are you ok?”
“Yeah I’m just really mad that Shawn lied to me about his mom. I don’t like when people lie, that’s not a nice thing at all.” Her eyes turned from the mirror back to me and I wrapped my arms around her.
“I’m sorry he lied too, that’s not a nice thing to do. I’m sorry that he lied and it hurt your feelings.”
I finished brushing her hair and putting her hair in a ponytail—something she’s learning to do on her own.
It wasn’t about her hand, and it wasn’t about the fact that it couldn’t grow fingers. It was about the fact that he lied. Today, she learned a lesson. She learned that lying hurts people. I’m sad it had to be hers. I’m sad it had to be about her hand. I’m glad she wasn’t crushed by WHAT he said; I feel better that she was crushed by the fact that he lied about his mom.
To read more about our story, limb differences and our goal of heading to Camp No Limits each year, visit our blog at http://bellacampfund.blogspot.com.
Sarah Zizzo is a 35-year-old pediatric nurse, clinical instructor, and is in the process of obtaining her master’s degree in nursing with an education emphasis. She has been married for 7 years and is mother to Bella and her two younger brothers. Sarah is an advocate for limb difference awareness and a support to other parents.