Something that we often gloss over (or merely mention in passing) with regard to Namine’s physical therapy is the pain. As hard as Namine works, it’s easy for us — that is, Jessica and myself — to forget that she’s in pain.

Most of the time Namine doesn’t complain about her feet. When she’s in therapy, she usually doesn’t say “my feet hurt.” Instead, she says “I need a rest.” You’d normally take that to mean “I’m tired, I need to catch my breath,” but for her it means “my feet hurt, I need a minute for the pain to fade a bit.”

Having the clubfoot repair surgery — twice — has not yielded results quite like the How Your Child Will Benefit From Foot Surgery pamphlets would advertise. Her feet are constantly fighting their modified position. Prior to each therapy session, Namine’s therapist must stretch her feet.

"This is nothing but a price I promised myself I'd pay, and I'm paying it."

It is to Namine’s credit that she doesn’t complain. It didn’t used to be that way; oh, she’d cry and she’d fight. But now? She understands the necessity, and she understands that this is the cost of teaching her legs to walk.

Jessica and I elected to have Namine undergo foot surgery the first time; Namine was too young to posit an opinion. But it was her own decision to follow through with the second surgery. I will never forget the excited look in her eyes as she said to me on the day of surgery:

"I’m having foot surgery today, so I can have my feet fixed and I can walk better!"

As it turned out, there were complications. Had we known there would be, would we still have put her through it? I can’t say. But what I can say is that she loves to walk, and that despite the pain, she endures the foot stretches now with a glad heart.

So bring it on, her attitude says. I can take it, and I will be stronger for it.


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