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Big lessons taught by a little girl

Over the weekend, I received what I count as the best compliment I’ve been given in quite some time.
While talking to my 7-year old niece Madison and watching her via our webcam, we were acting silly and making faces and she told me I made her belly hurt. Just reading that or hearing that doesn’t sound like it would be very complimentary, but trust me it was.
Apparently after talking and playing online with me for a while, she had laughed so hard that her belly hurt. For an aunt that lives so far away, knowing that the distance between Canada and Texas can be spanned enough to allow my niece to interact with me almost like I was actually there is amazing.
She doesn’t know it, but her little face and her funny giggle are just about the sweetest things I’ve seen and heard. They are especially important to me this week as she had her annual visit to her cardiologist to discuss the heart condition she was born with and to see how she is progressing.
Every year they tell us wonderful things and we go on with our lives but this year, his news wasn’t as favorable. She does not realize that the steps everyone who interacts with her is taking are because we need to make changes to how she lives or that her family is worried about her. I’ve always been amazed at how much small children are able to take in and work around and she still astounds me. She doesn’t realize how important it is for her to adjust to her new diet and lifestyle changes, she just does it. She also doesn’t realize it probably was harder for her family to adjust to the changes, if the truth were known. What she does know is that she has a family that adores her and that would do anything to make sure she is well.
My sister and I have handled this obstacle like we always do when we deal with her illness, which is to get ready for a fight and refuse to back down because she deserves nothing less. We also do this with as little disruption to her daily life as possible.
So over the weekend when she laughed and showed me her favorite doll and talked about the new kitten that she loves, I listened to every word. When she showed me her latest dance moves by jumping on her parents’ bed, I was happy that she enjoyed herself and in that moment, I realized why it is that her mother and I become so relentless when we deal with her illness. It’s because of moments when she laughs until her belly hurts.
Her carefree way of life and her moments of pure joy in doing the simplest things are a constant reminder to take more pleasure from life. I hope that for all of us, we never lose the desire to fill our lives with others that can make our belly hurt.

Candie Beck-Adams is community editor for the Ennis Daily News. She can be reached at candie@ennisdailynews.com.

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Posted by on Sep 23 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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