There are two babies in Namine’s life — one is a cousin, the other a friend’s baby sister. Knowing what her own infancy was like, being around these two totally physically normal babies has raised some difficult questions. But they aren’t difficult because we don’t want to answer them, or even because we don’t think she’s ready for them; there simply is no satisfactory answer.

"Why did I have a lot of baby problems?"

Namine knows what her infancy was like. She’s seen plenty of pictures, and as she’s gotten older, we’ve answered each question honestly. The difficulty comes in not understanding why — why she was born one way, and her friends another. “I don’t know” hardly seems an acceptable answer, but it’s the only answer we have.

Namine has told me more on multiple occasions that she wished she were different — “different” in this case meaning “the same” — the same as her friends. It’s typical for any child to wish things were different; to have different colored eyes, to be taller, to have straight hair instead of curly. Namine’s desire is not nearly so superficial.

But her desire also drives her, and it has resulted in a strong-willed girl who will never give up. Namine doesn’t understand the phrase “greater than the sum of our parts,” but she knows how our experiences can shape us, often in ways we’d never have foreseen.

We may sometimes wish we were different, but at the end of the day, we have to accept who we are. If we don’t, then we work to change it. Namine works hard to change herself for the better, too — to speak better, to walk without assistance. But more importantly, she is proud of what she’s accomplished. Her hard work shows, but never so clearly as her smile.

  • Elisabeth’s Mom

    It’s amazing what our kids can accomplish when they are loved, supported, and valued by their family, friends, and community.

  • I often wonder why my daughter has had to endure so much pain and sickness too. I haven’t come up with an answer that satisfies me yet. Thank God Bethany doesn’t know any different and doesn’t ask why. Namine is a brave and strong young lady. And adorable too! Her precious smile is priceless!