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To My Daughter With a Limb Difference: I See You

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I see you, baby girl.

I see you taking that first brave step.

I see you glancing quickly to watch people’s faces when they look at your prosthetic leg.

I see you evaluating whether they are going to meet your eyes or continue to stare.

I see you get that tiny little smile ready, your hand half-raised to wave at them.

I see your shoulders slump when they make a terrible face.

I see you constantly navigating your terrain, trying to find a sure foothold, watching out for a slight lip in the pavement, a hole you might not see.

I see you traversing a world that is not built for you, running a race that you aren’t fully equipped to run but never even losing stride.

I see you looking at other kids’ legs, watching them run, jump, dance, play, hop and live with abandon.  I see that moment of cloudiness in your eyes before you lift your chin and continue on.

I see you jumping wholeheartedly into each new endeavor, never allowing your differences to stop you from trying something new.

I see you adapting, making things manageable for you and making a safe haven for others to live a life without limits.

I see you advocating, championing for the underdog, the runt of the litter, and the lost cause. You see a little bit of yourself in them, I know.

I see the pain on your face when kids say your leg looks weird or gross. I see the toll it takes on you. I see you questioning how kids can be so mean. I also see that steely look in your eye because you won’t ever let them see you cry, shuttering yourself in a protective armor.

I see you trying to hide your prosthetic leg, tucking it behind a blanket or standing behind other kids when you don’t feel secure.

I see you continue to stand back up, time and time again. No matter how many times you’ve been knocked down, you just keep standing up. That fire is forged in your soul.  You will not be defeated.

I see you feel big. You feel your feelings and aren’t afraid to lean into them. You are comfortable experiencing unbridled joys and can safely allow yourself to sit with your grief, understanding they both can comfortably share space in your life.

I see you growing up way too quickly, forced by fate to handle way too much for someone your age.

I see you talking to your doctors and your specialists. You are well versed in your medical history and are very much your own advocate. You have an opinion on your care plan and you make sure you voice it.

I see you playing video games, comfortable in a virtual world where you can compete on an even playing field. There aren’t any disabilities there and I believe that’s why you love it.

I see you fiercely fighting for your independence, wanting to do everything for yourself just to prove them wrong.  Wanting to show those that doubted you, that told us not to get our hopes up, exactly what you are made of.

I see how you are comfortable with your scar from your open-heart surgery. You see it as a battle wound and not where you lost the war. It’s where you picked up your sword and fought.

I see you questioning God, questioning because you don’t understand sometimes why He picked this life for you. I see you feel conflicted because you know you are strong enough to handle it but still heartbroken that it’s you that has to go through so much.

I see you responding with grace when strangers ask you questions about your prosthetic.  You always take the time to talk to them because you know it’s a good time to break down biases, stereotypes and ignorance. You do it when you are tired, when you don’t feel like it, when you really just want to be left alone. All in hopes of making the world a more inclusive place for people like you.

I see you changing the world. Changing the face of beauty. Reimagining the definition of strong. Shattering glass ceilings. Inspiring everyone that meets you. Touching the lives of so many. Coming into your own. Quick with praise, a hug, and reassurance when someone has a bad day. Secure in who you are but also constantly pushing yourself to be kinder, more compassionate, and better version of yourself.

I see you… just getting started.

Originally published: December 28, 2020
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