She’ll Be Fine
“She’ll Be Fine….”
I heard this statement more times than I can count after Meredith was born. A broad, hopeful statement announced with such confidence that for many, it would override the grim prognosis given by the neurologist. Sometimes it was peppered with additional claims like, “Oh, she is so beautiful. She’ll be fine” or “Lots of kids are a bit delayed. She’ll be fine” or “The doctors don’t know what they’re talking about. She’ll be fine.”
I am still not certain if the ones saying this actually believed it or if they were just trying to be positive in a very negative situation. They might have truly thought that cuteness was a measure of how a baby will turn out. This is reflective of the other belief that with enough love and prayers, miracles can happen. The problem with that is when miracles don’t happen, you can’t help but wonder if perhaps you would have loved a little harder or prayed a little more, things would be different.
I tended to lean more towards the knowledge and experience of our neurologist. I would nod and smile at those who would state “She’ll be fine” with such gusto and sureness that I couldn’t bear to shatter their dreams for our daughter. I would lead them to believe that I, too, knew she would be fine. The thing was, I knew the complete opposite was true. She wasn’t going to be fine. In fact, she was going to be far from fine. She wasn’t going to talk or walk or eat or dance or skip or sing or hug or do an extraordinary amount of things. The one thing I knew for sure was that our girl was not going to be fine. She was dealing with a brain injury so extensive and complex that the mere fact she was still living was our miracle and I knew that this would likely be the biggest miracle of all; the fact that she survived her birth.
“She’ll be fine” was expressed in an almost patronizing fashion. Beneath “She’ll be fine” was “Quit being such a worry wart. Let’s not entertain the reality of what you are dealing with. You are such a drama queen. Seriously, she’ll be fine.” And it was often punctuated with the flip of a hand and I usually felt like maybe I was over reacting, maybe she would somehow, with enough hope and faith and prayer, be fine.
All of those people from the early days were right!
I have rarely been wrong when it comes to Meredith but all of those people who brushed off my concerns and worries with a flippant, “She’ll be fine” were right all along.
I do know, though, that their version of “fine” was very different than what “fine” has come to mean in our lives. Back then, “fine” meant she would fully recover, she would be neuro-typical and even “normal” (whatever that means) and “okay.” It was an attempt to ease our worries and invalidate our concerns.
Look up the meaning of ‘fine’ and you will discover that it means ‘of high quality’ and is associated with words like: excellent, first-class, first-rate, exceptional, outstanding, superior, splendid, magnificent, exquisite, select, supreme, superb and wonderful.
“She’ll be fine?”
You bet she is. She is finer than fine.