Namine hurt herself. It wasn’t bad, and we didn’t have to pay a visit to the hospital. It was Namine’s pride, I think, perhaps her self-esteem, that was hurt the most.

When I sit in the floor next to her, I tend to kneel. It never occurred to me that Namine would try the same thing, but she did. Because of her caudal regression, her knees don’t bend the way others’ do — her right knee bends somewhat, but her left hardly does at all. (And what little it does bend, it only does thanks to therapy.)

I’m not exactly sure how Namine attempted to kneel, as I was in the kitchen dishing out dinner, but I heard her yell in pain. I came running into the living room, not knowing what to expect.

Namine was sitting on the floor, grabbing her knees. She wasn’t crying, but she was definitely trying to hold back tears.

“What happened?” I asked.

Namine calmed down enough to tell me. “I hurt myself.”

“I can see that. How did you hurt yourself?”

“I tried to sit like you.”

I didn’t understand at first. “You’re sitting now. What do you mean, sit like me?”

“With my legs under my butt.”

“Oh. And your legs don’t bend like that.”

“No, so it hurt.” Namine looked at me, hurt and, I think, a little lost. “Daddy, why can’t I sit like you?”

This is a hard thing. Namine knows she’s different, but how do you explain that you don’t always have the answers, as much as you might wish you did?

“God made your legs different, babylove. I don’t know why, but He did.”

“I know, Daddy. I can’t walk like you, either.”

I wanted nothing more than to comfort her, but sometimes there’s no comfort to give. Sometimes all you can do is to be there for your loved ones, to be the shoulder to cry on.

Not having the words to make her feel better, I leaned in to give my daughter a hug.

But Namine would have none of that. She looked up at me. Her expression changed from sadness to something else, something I see often when she’s in therapy. Resolve.

“Daddy, I want to walk like you. I will, that’s why I have therapy with Miss Lesley. I want to be strong, with my strong muscles.”

Sometimes I wish that Namine would not have had to gain the emotional strength and maturity that she has to muster each day. But I don’t know anyone who works harder, and I can’t think of a better place to be than right here, to watch her grow up.

She’s going to amaze everyone. She already has.



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