Before I had Callie, I thought I was strong. I managed my own chronic illness, worked two jobs, and went to school. I was out spoken and lively. I did a lot, gave a lot, and was a lot for lots of people.
I now define strength and it’s many forms much differently now.
Callie was born with Tetrology of Fallot, a congenitive heart condition and also is a lower limb amputee. She’s had two open heart surgeries, one surgery on her hand, and two on her knee. She has a prosthetic leg but when I look at her I see what it means to be mighty.
Strength comes in many shapes and sizes. It can be still and tender, like when Callie reaches for my hand after her latest surgery. It can be brave and bold, like when I’m advocating for new therapies for her and accomodations in her classroom. It can be fierce and full of pride, like when I’m cheering Callie on as she took her first steps in her prosthetic leg. It can be soft and stoic, like when Callie bears walking on a prosthetic leg that no longer fits. It can be quiet and unwavering, like when we sat in the waiting room anxiously awaiting her to come out of her second open heart surgery. It can be patient and unflinching, like when Callie has to ignore those that make fun of how she walks. It can be unsure and but relentless, like when I say “I’ve got this” with tears in my eyes. It can be deep rooted and secure, like how we are as a family. As long as we are together, nothing can stop us.
Motherhood has allowed me to reflect on my own view of strength. I’ve learned the power in being vulnerable and the magnitued of giving myself grace. I’ve learned that we sometimes have to fight battles that no one even knows about and other battles that we bear to lessen someone else’s burden. It’s remaining brave even though we are afraid. It’s never forgetting just how far we’ve come and all of the amazing triumphs we’ve experienced. I’ve learned the power of forgiveness and the peace of moving forward. It’s appreciating the joy of what is instead of what isn’t.
Strength is putting one foot in front of the other each and every day. It’s continuing to show up and stand tall. It’s standing up 10 times when you get knocked down 9 times. Strength is owning our story. It’s advocating for my daughter and fighting for her. It’s pushing for accessibility and representation in media. It’s making the world more accepting of her and because of her. It’s grace and grit and I’ll be as strong as a mother…………… in all forms.