In the past few years our daughter has given my husband and me many reasons to do just that. At the age of nine she received the early diagnoses of Idiopathic Scoliosis, which means the spine naturally grows with a curve instead of straight. Essentially, her spine is in the shape of a “C.” For the past two years she has worn a prosthetic brace for 22 hours a day seven days a week, to hopefully keep her spine from moving any further as she continues to grow.
My husband and I were initially devastated, as we could not imagine how a confident, beautiful, and wickedly smart middle school girl was going to handle the pain of being singled out for being different. The image of a young Joan Cusack from Sixteen Candles, desperately trying to take a sip from the drinking fountain, was tattooed in my mind from the moment we received the initial phone call to the day she saw her Orthopedic Surgeon. How would we ever, as a family, get through this painful time?
For those who know Kate, they would probably say she is a sassy girl with spunk and always manages to glide through life with a twinkle in her eye. This period of her life has been no exception. She has rarely shed a tear and almost never complains about having to wear the equivalent of an inflexible unventilated upper body cast under her clothes all day and all night.
She has continued to achieve academic excellence, as well as remain active in sports and theater. She has danced in A Chorus Line and managed to fly 20 feet in the air as Wendy in Peter Pan. While none of it easy, she has continued to drive herself with conviction and grace.
For that, Kate, I take a page from your handbook and salute you as one amazing kid!