Since I woke Namine up this morning, she’s been excited. She knows – well, knew, since she’s been taken back for surgery now – what’s coming, and what it means. I’ll let her tell you in her own words: “I’m having foot surgery today, so I can have my feet fixed and I can walk better!”

If I needed any validation at all (and sometimes we all do, from time to time), my three year old daughter, who is so young yet so mature, so innocent yet all too knowledgeable, has provided me with it. This is what it’s all about: the end, which justifies all the painful means, is to enable her to walk without pain. Or, failing that, with less pain. It astounds me that she gets it, that she understands not just the here and now, but also the big picture.

We all woke up at 4:00 this morning in order to give Namine her medication and some water. Jessica went back to bed for a while until we had to leave at 5:30, and Namine and I watched Phineas and Ferb for an hour and a half. She’s done much better this morning than she has in the past, given that it’s a hospital morning; but then, she’s older, more mature, and I really do believe she gets the big picture a little better.

Of course Namine did flip out quite a bit when the nurse in lab blues came to draw blood; if she has any fears, they are of ear suction and blood draws. She recovered quickly, though; she always does. And as drawn out as time can be – having arrived two hours before the time for surgery – that time, too, passed quickly, or so it seems in retrospect. There is too little time with those we love. Even though this is a surgery she’s been through before, even though we trust the doctor operating on Namine, it never gets easier. As many surgeries as Namine has had, as used to this as perhaps we ought to be – every goodbye is hard. Every goodbye is heartbreak.

I wish with all my heart that it was not necessary, but it is. Wishing will not make it so, so we embrace the alternative: grit your teeth, struggle through the worst of the pain, and come out a better person. Changed, scarred, perhaps, but for all the experiences, not jaded but capable of more love than before. That is Namine to me: she has endured – she endures – more pain that I will probably ever know, yet she is all smiles, with such loving embrace. If anyone should be jaded, I am certain it is her. But still she loves.