I climbed up into the bed with her and snuggled in close.
“Good night baby. Get some rest, we have a big day tomorrow.”
“Mama, are you scared?” Callie asked me as she tucked her little hand into mine.
I paused for a moment before answering. We’ve always tried very hard to keep a balance between being brave for her and modeling how to work through different emotions. I wrestled internally for a minute before I responded.
“Yes,” I whispered. “A little bit. Are you?”
“No. Because this is what warriors do. We go into battle. That’s what I’m doing tomorrow,” she said with a decisive nod.
The simple strength she had took my breath away.
She was right. She was a warrior. Not because she always won, but because she always fought.
She wasn’t born strong, she was made strong. Through heart ache and heart break, battle after battle. Time and time again.
And we were gearing up for our toughest battle yet. We were blissfully unaware of the risks and the danger during her first open heart surgery. We had zero clues. This time around though–we knew exactly what we were walking into. We also knew there would be an added challenge this time–Callie was no longer a newborn. She was a very active, outspoken, and opinionated little girl. The path to recovery would look much different than when she was a baby.
As her eyes started to slowly close, I pulled her closer to me. I whispered to her that she was courageous and brave.
I told her that tomorrow she was going to rise up to the challenge and be the warrior that she was.
I told her that tomorrow that she was going to raise up her sword and even the fiercest dragons would back down.
I told her she was resilient and strong.
I told her that Daddy and I loved her more than anything in the world.
And then I kissed our little warrior princess good night.
She needed her rest.
She had a battle to win the next day.