Hamsatou was born with clubfoot. She spent several months with us at the hospital while she was being treated. We all missed her so much when she left. She has such a great (and serious) personality. We always counted it a victory if we managed to get her to laugh or smile. It’s not because she’s an unhappy child, she’s just extremely laid back and confident as well.
She recently came back to the hospital for a check-up. Everyone was so excited to see her again and squeeze her cute cheeks. When she came to art therapy, she was very clear in what she wanted. She asked to get her legs painted. I was confused because we’d painted her casts many times before, but now she didn’t have casts because she was done with her treatment and her legs were perfectly straight. She looked at me like I was obviously not catching on. Of course she knew she no longer had casts. She wanted her actual legs painted. So that’s what we did!
She sat so still and didn’t budge as she got each leg painted. Once we were done, she broke out in a huge (unprovoked) smile. We were overjoyed. She was excited to go back to her mother at the patient guesthouse to show her. It’s as though she had been planning to get her legs painted ever since she knew she would be coming back to the hospital to have closure with this experience. I thought about it and I really like the idea of painting on the actual skin once the treatment is finished. It’s a way of emphasizing the beautiful legs that have just been healed. It’s a way of saying, “you are beautiful, and we want to celebrate that beauty and bring positive attention and celebration to your healing.”
Sometimes the kids are a step ahead of me when it comes to truly knowing how to commemorate the beauty in their lives. I learn from them every day.
Originally posted at https://joshjulieblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/painted-legs/.