I am writing this post in reflection on all that I have learned from my middle daughter, Esha.
Esha has had a lot of health challenges over her lifetime. When she was 3, we found out that she wasn’t breathing well when she slept. She had her tonsils taken out and she started growing again – 3 inches in a summer! However, she continued to have issues with her growth and we ended up finding out that she has severe reflux (heartburn). This effects her ability to get enough calories to grow. It has been very hard to watch her struggle and I have struggled along with her. As a parent, there is nothing harder than watching your child suffer. As a mother and a physician, I have been angry/disappointed in myself that I have not been able to “fix” what is wrong. For a long time, I couldn’t move past these feelings.
Then, one day, I was telling this story to a good friend of mine. I expressed my heartache. When I got to the end of the story, she reflected that what stood out to her was not the pain, but the resilience in Esha. In spite of going through so much, Esha remained a positive force for everyone around her. That started the re-framing of my daughter’s experience for me.
Then, Esha had an incredible kindergarten teacher, Jess, who taught her a word that she could use to describe herself: determined. Five-year-old Esha would come home and tell me that she was determined. When I asked her what that meant, she would say “it means I can do anything I want to do, and if I can’t do it the first time, I just have to keep trying”. And she was determined. She decided that she would learn to ________________ (fill in the blank: snap her fingers, read chapter books, learn about her reflux, write an adventure story), and she persisted until she could do it. And Esha is a force to be reckoned with, she has a fierce positivity and sees beauty in everything around her. She pauses to appreciate the sunrise in the morning and revels in learning history. She loves freely. And she is determined.
Today is Esha’s ninth birthday and I celebrate her not only for who she is, but also for all that she has taught me. Happy birthday, my warrior goddess.