At birth I took my sweet time entering the sterile world of the delivery room and my ears paid the price. The pressure on my soft cartilage cause them to stick out straight like handles on a large trophy for the world to grab onto. I am told that my distinctive ears were spoken of by family and friends and sometimes strangers.
By the time I was in pre-school, my mother had decided to take action. She didn’t want here baby girl teased for something she could control. So, at the tender age of four I went under the knife and was submitted to plastic surgery. I wonder if my parents, who were young and not yet established financially, paid out of pocket as any insurance company could see this was not a needed procedure.
For six weeks I wore an ace bandage around my head. This was to hold down my newly altered image. It was the first time I was aware that I looked different. I couldn’t play with the other kids on the playground at school. “You have to sit still or you’ll bump out your stitches,” Mom said. One day a little blond boy shoved me up against the toy box and did knock out a few, now that ear sags a bit. I call that one floppy.
After the bandages were off I rarely ever thought about my ears or that procedure again. Except when someone new came over to the house and saw the poster sized photo of myself and my two older sisters when I had my naturally sized ears. “Wow, you’re ears were big!” They’d say, as though we were unaware of the difference.
All these years later I am glad I had it done. I imagine I was spared from some cruelty that comes with childhood, though like everyone else, teasing was an ever present part of my young life.
I took that life sized photo out of my families home and now it sits in my own. I wonder sometimes while looking in the mirror what I would look like now with ears like teacup saucers. I also wondered if maybe it was a trait in my genes instead of an effect of childbirth. When I found out I was going to have Max I questioned if he would have those nice and convenient handles attached to the sides of his noggin. He came out with cute little normal sized ears. I am glad he did too. He ended up with my strawberry blond hair and that’ll be enough to get him through the junior high hallways he will walk in six short years.