Big week in our house. My eldest has to go for an operation under general anesthetic. It’s not a big procedure. She doesn’t have to stay over night and she will only need to be unconscious for an hour and a half. It is not an emergency. It is planned. It is a relatively straight forward procedure and the surgeon has carried out similar operations countless times before. I know all this.

But this is my baby. My princess. My first born. My maternal instinct is screaming at me to pick her up and run for the hills. She doesn’t need to have the operation. It is not a matter of life and death so my heart says ” Delay. No need to put her through it just yet.” But my head knows the reality of the situation and must counsel my heart into taking the necessary and appropriate action. So far so sensible.

Child number 1 has had problems with her ear almost all her life. She had her first ear infection on her first birthday. We had planned all kinds of treats to mark the first anniversary of our becoming parents. And there she sat, looking forlorn and small in her pink pyjamas all day, too unwell really to get dressed. Poor little mite. Off to the doctors. Antibiotics for perforated eardrum and on we went. Until the next time. And the next. When she was two and a half the ear drum burst and never healed over and that is what the operation has to fix by some clever fiddling with muscle tissue and spare skin.

Since then I have beaten a trail to doctors and hospitals usually after holidays when a fortnight in water has caused some ghastly infection despite our best endeavours to prevent water getting in. She swims like a fish. Has done since she was very young and loved competing but there has always been a huge payback for her. Her hearing is impaired – probably contributing to the noise levels when she is around. She has almost daily pain and regularly has to deal with the embarrassment of gunk or blood or both pouring down her cheek. So of course this is the right thing to do.

If you have children you will understand. If I could do it for her….If there were anyway that it could be achieved without her having to go under the knife I would do it. But I can’t fix it or make it go away. I have no power. I am her mother but I cannot protect her from what is about to happen to her. I know that there will be plenty of other situations in which I will be similarly unable to do anything but that doesn’t make it any easier. I signed the consent form. I have allowed this to happen and now I must sit back and let it take its course offering love and support and comfort wherever and whenever it is required.

Of course, her main concern is that she will have to have some of her hair shaved so that sort of puts it into perspective. And hopefully it will be a success. She will emerge with a functioning eardrum, repaired hearing and a licence to get her ears wet whenever the mood takes her. If I believed in a higher being I could pray. As it is I shall wish for success and bake for when she gets home. In one piece.