Last night, before putting Namine to bed, Namine gave Jessica kisses. By the time she had finished hugging and kissing, Jessica’s glasses were sufficiently smudged. After I tucked Namine in and came back out into the living room, Jessica showed her glasses to me. “Look at this. All I can see are her little fingerprints.” This seems to me to be a perfect analogy.
It’s difficult for me now to remember life before Namine. That’s how life goes; when things change, you can scarcely remember what it was like before. And Namine has changed us: giving us more compassion for those less fortunate, sure. Making us more patient and understanding, definitely. But most of all, making us so very grateful for what we have – and to never take any of it for granted.
Namine is relatively healthy now; even with the occasional cold or not-so-occasional ear infection (thanks to that blasted ear tube coming out), we have little reason to visit the ER anymore. That was not always so; there was a time not so long ago when an ER visit was a weekly thing; and we would not return home for several nights. Through it all, though, Namine remained not merely upbeat but cheerful. Her length of patience and happiness far outstripped our own. I thought then, so do I think now, that if my daughter – who has endured more hardship in her three short years – if my daughter is this happy with life, what right do I have to be otherwise?
Namine knows about failings and shortcomings. She’s not ignorant of her own disability. She accepts it; it is simply the way things are. But acceptance is not doing nothing; she works hard at her own improvement, in speech, physical therapy, writing, I could go on. She stands and walks at home whenever she can. She’ll wheel herself in her wheelchair as often as she can. She accepts her disability (for the lack of a better word I don’t dislike), but she works at her own improvement. She works.
We can learn much from Namine. We can learn to see the wonder in the small things, in the miracles of everyday life. We can learn to love as a child loves, without reserve, without judgement. And most of all, we can see her little fingerprints in our lives.