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When I Made My Daughter Proud by Hiking in the Rockies With Rheumatoid Arthritis

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As a momma, my goal has always been for my children to see me as a whole person — someone who makes mistakes and can own up to them, someone who, at times, is weak and vulnerable and someone who sometimes even falls apart. 

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has definitely given my children experience in all of these areas. They have witnessed me at my worst. As young children, they helped me undress, have been rudely awaken by our border collie to come help get mom out of the bathtub, held me while I cried after rheumatology appointments and much more.

But as a momma, I also want them to see me at my best, to see me pick up the pieces and move forward. To show that I’m strong enough to handle whatever comes my way. I want my kids to know I am forever learning and making myself better as a person. When I show them my strength and make them proud, it is the best feeling ever!

My daughter and I decided to take a short spring break vacation together — just the two of us. She has always wanted to see the Rocky Mountains, so we planned a trip to Colorado. We had several things we wanted to do during our short three days, but the main thing was to hike in the mountains. Unfortunately for us, Colorado had a blizzard two days before we arrived, so the mountains were covered in deep snow. But we didn’t let that stop us.

Together we took in the beauty of Mother Nature. We stood and absorbed the absolute quiet, we watched a mouse run on top of the snow, we stopped to observe birds and we even ran into two separate families from our hometown of Wichita, Kansas. It truly is a small world.

I am going to be honest: The higher we hiked, the more difficult it was for me. My 17-year-old was jogging up the inclines while I had to stop for frequent photos (and catch my breath). But on this mountain, I made my girl proud. She saw me keep going. She saw me push my physical capabilities of trudging up snowy trails. On one path, she said, “Mom, you are almost 50 and have RA. I hope I’m as active as you at your age.” This will forever be my favorite part of the trip.

Rheumatoid arthritis is forever an up and down journey. Some days we face challenges and need the help of others. Other days, we prove to those around us and ourselves that we are strong. We may have an autoimmune disease, but we don’t let it stop us from making those around us proud.

Follow this journey on The Life and Adventures of Cateepoo.

Originally published: September 27, 2016
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