Namine is a peculiar combination of tough and delicate.

In my opinion, not much illustrates this better than two of the things she likes most: Batman and Disney princesses. She’s weathered through some of the craziest pain I can imagine – the constant pain in her feet, for example, or her jaw and palate procedures – but she’ll surprise us sometimes by asking us to kiss an owie on her thumb. Or, what she’s been doing lately, ask us to kiss her elbows, which seem to be bothering her.

I think that Jessica and I sometimes take for granted the fact that Namine is only two and a half years old. We forget it, because Namine has been through so much, and though she does have tantrums and fits, she is for the most part a mature, well-behaved, and (I think the right word is) seasoned child. Seasoned by hospital time, by surgery, by – most of all – pain.

But we are reminded of how young she is the most, I think, when she shows pain. Not the piddly ear infections, not the bruises that she gets from moving around on the floor (which any child that can’t walk is prone to), not the stuff a normal two year old would cry about. That stuff is nothing to her. She won’t even tell you about it if you ask her. But the real thing all that other stuff pales against, especially the deep-seated pain in her feet. Her feet, which are constantly fighting against the new shape they’ve been given. Her hips, dislocated since birth but forced to support her weight in an effort to stave off the possibility of yet more reconstructive surgery. The kind of pain that you or I would probably pass out from. That kind of pain merely makes Namine cry.

And yet, she weathers through. Distraction helps; thoughts of Mama and Haha (that’s me – she pronounces “Papa” as “Haha”) definitely help.


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