By the end of our Fourth of July celebration last night, Sophie’s face was streaked with red tears, the Elmos face painted on each of her cheeks running down her face.
She couldn’t have been happier.
“Oh, what’s wrong with your little girl?” people ask in the mall or at the grocery store. “Why is she sad?” (Translation: What mean thing did you do to your kid, lady?)
“Nothing,” I always say. Sometimes if I’m feeling magnanimous, I’ll explain. Except for her heart, Sophie’s not afflicted with the serious health problems that can come along with Down syndrome. (Not yet, at least, knock wood.) But she does have very tiny openings, including her tear ducts, which have been blocked forever and refuse any amount of medical Roto-Rootering done to try to open them up.
The third out-patient surgery actually involved placing teeny tiny tubes in her ducts; even that didn’t work. And when the surgeon admitted there’s a chance Sophie will grow out of it some day, we decided to skip any more ioptional procedures that involve general anesthetic.
So Sophie’s eyes are generally teary, if not goopy. It bothers everyone but her, apparently. It does impact the effectiveness of face painting.
That didn’t phase Sophie one bit last night. She still demanded an Elmo on each cheek and when the balloon lady Vera (scrub nurse by day, balloon lady by night) fashioned her the most amazing rubber Elmo any of us had ever seen, she was on cloud nine — even without fireworks, which are apparently too much of a fire hazaard in woodsy, P.C. Flagstaff.
The sparkler on Annabelle’s cheek didn’t fare so well, either, come to think of it. So it’s good we’re going back tonight for more face painting. I hope Vera’s there.