Over the years I have become comfortable with my body and its new form. It has taken me a long time, but I finally reached a place where I could wear my prosthetic with pride instead of embarrassment. My prosthetic is not my biological leg, and I no longer feel compelled to try to replicate what I lost.
Carbon fiber and titanium springs can be just as beautiful and functional as skin and bone. I haven't worn a cosmetic cover on my prosthetic in years although I understand and respect that other amputees choose to wear a cover. I think that choice is one of the greatest advantages of being an amputee!
I'm not embarrassed about being an amputee, but I have come to realize that showing my prosthetic in public comes with a cost. The visible components are a magnet for stares and attention. The first few days of Kindergarten are not about me--they are about Robby. Yesterday morning while preparing for the Kindergarten evaluations, I struggled with whether or not I should have my prosthetic visible.
I wanted Robby's classmates to get to know him on his own merits before learning that his mom has a robot leg. I knew that by donning my typical wardrobe with my prosthetic in full sight, the attention would automatically be shifted from him onto me. I wanted my son to have the attention of his peers, not me and my leg.
After struggling with what I should wear, I realized that Robby deserved the right to make his own first impression. Yesterday morning, despite the temperatures, I wore pants to the Kindergarten evaluation. I didn't conceal my leg out of shame or embarrassment. I didn't even wear pants to try to spare Robby from the comments of his classmates. I wore pants because the moment was about Robby and not about me.
In time his peers will discover my prosthetic, and I have no doubt that they will be fascinated. I will use my leg as an opportunity to educate them about amputees and people with disabilities. Yesterday I did not feel that it was the appropriate time for that lesson.
Despite my best efforts to keep it from happening, Robby is growing up. I find it impossible to believe that he is five and ready for school. Unfortunately, everybody keeps reminding me that I am now the parent to a school aged child!