The Mighty Logo

To My Small, Warrior Daughter 7 Months After Her Surgeries

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

You are stronger than you could ever imagine. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Resilience comes naturally to you. I have witnessed it. I look into your eyes every day and I can feel what you are made of to your core. You are someone who knows who they are and why they are here. It’s as if you have been sent here by a greater power to teach us a little lesson about ourselves every day. I am blessed to be your dad. You have taught me so much and I have only known you for three years. My little girl, you have the heart of a lioness.

I watched as you sat in the back of an ambulance, in complete amazement with what was transpiring around you. As sick as you were, you found a way to smile at the EMT’s and say, “Hello, what’s your name?” The amazement on their faces said it all, as you were being packed up and rushed away to the hospital.

It wasn’t your job to make them smile, but you did, because you are you.

I feared for you as you couldn’t catch your breath at the height of your fevers, spiking to 105 degrees. I would be praying to God asking if I could trade places with you. I felt you look into my soul in those moments and reassure me of your strength. It was as if you were saying, “Daddy, I am strong. Don’t worry, I will be OK.”

It wasn’t your job to reassure me, but you did, because you are you.

I laughed with you as we made silly faces together right before you were wheeled into your second surgery. Little did you know, you were the one making me feel better. When I saw you smile, my heart steadied for a moment in spite of the terror I felt. I never left the waiting room for a minute, but you never left me waiting without a smile.

It wasn’t your job to make me smile, but you did, because you are you.

I was there when an ICU nurse was having a bad day and I wanted to yell at her and protect you from anyone having a bad day. You wanted to greet her and ask her if she wanted your sticker. A magical sixth sense resides inside you. It’s as if you can tell when people are sad and you want to tell them that you care.

It wasn’t your job to show them you care, but you did, because you are you.

I felt fearful leaving the hospital to go home with you so fragile and weak. After almost a month of your life had been taken away, I was scared to let you out into the world again. I was anxious and a mess. My heart had a hard time handling the aftermath of the trauma. You knew this and would remind me of your strength. You would come to me, put her little hand on mine and say, “Daddy, I love you. I’m all better now, daddy.”

I never asked you to remind me, but you did, because you are you.

Seven months later, and I can still feel the remnants of the event as if it was yesterday. The emotions still crash upon me at night when I try to fall asleep. I embrace them and try to think of you so I won’t be scared anymore. You see, you inspire me to live fearlessly; to face my fears and feelings and stare them down.

I didn’t ask you to inspire me, but you did, because you are you.

You are now three and a half going on 13. You ride a two-wheel bike and play with your sister in pure joy. You smile so much, it’s contagious. You never cease to tell me you love me, and you give far more than you receive. I don’t know where you came from, but I am sure glad that you did.

Our lives are all a little better now, because you are you.


Photo credit: Nadezhda1906/Getty Images

Originally published: May 3, 2020
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home