Forgive the alliteration. I couldn’t resist.
My youngest niece turns one today. One year ago, she was spending the night in the NICU struggling for oxygen. This tiny little thing was so delicate and fragile, under the warming lights to help her raise her body temperature.
Except, she wasn’t delicate or fragile. She was a mini-gladiator, and she was having none of it. She is one of the toughest people I've met. And that makes her right at home in our family.
My family is made up of the most amazingly strong people that I know.
My dad just had double knee replacement. Not twelve hours later, he was up walking. And only a couple of days after that, he told everyone that he was going home because he was done with the hospital.
So he arranged for his physical therapy to happen at his home and left the land of the adjustable bed. My mom is now helping him out at home. Which is actually quite an accomplishment for her, considering she had just broken her shoulder and a couple ribs in a fall. They are a badass couple, those two. They are partners through and through, and have set the bar for relationships incredibly high.
Baby Awesome has a big sister, who is equally epic in her own way. This kid knows who she is and what she wants. She is the type of girl that wants a Barbie for her birthday, because she needs to practice her surgery skills. Her favorite toy from this last holiday season was a tool set from some awesome aunt. ;)
All my girls need a tool set.
She is going to be the type of girl that will never take no for an answer. To get her to do something, all you need to do is tell her she can’t. I am pretty sure she will be the first woman… whatever. This one will smash through barriers. In her fabulous cowboy boots.
The mama of these two amazing girls is Dr. Sister, who spends her day taking care of other people’s children. It really amazes me that she dared to have kids at all. I know she has seen some things that would scare me completely away from reproduction. That’s why I will always cut up grapes for her kids.
Dr. Sister has had to shoulder the role of family caretaker. She is the one who checks our ears for infection, talks to our doctors to get details we have missed, and reminds us that a humidifier is kind of a miracle worker. And all I can do for her is occasionally fix her computer. Well, and provide her girls with tools.
Then there is Sister MSW and her two little rock stars. This sister has taken up running—having never run before—and is training for a marathon. Which blows me away. She is not only owning it, but she is doing it to raise money for Leukemia Lymphoma research. And now she is a runner. Like a boss.
Her daughter is absolutely one of my favorite people on Earth. For reasons like this:
She is waiting for her brother to come out of the bathroom.
She is a true artist. Incredibly talented and such a free spirit. And she takes no shit. She is a lot like me. We color outside the lines. We like bright clothes. We love to get messy from painting. We both wear glasses, and meat is our favorite food.
And then there is this guy.
My Star Wars buddy. He is probably one of the most kind and compassionate people I have ever encountered. He will do most anything to prevent someone else from getting hurt. And that makes him an incredibly strong person. Not many people would take on some unhappiness in order to save someone else from feeling sad.
Everyone needs a hero. This kid is mine. Every day, Captain Kidlet just amazes me.
Sometimes, I feel like I have no more to give. Sometimes I feel defeated. But my family… They are my strength and support. I am so lucky to be a part of this group of warriors.