Monday, April 18, 2011

What Big Girls Are Made Of

It has been a very bad few weeks for Calypso health-wise.  She's also taken a big emotional hit, which is harder to absorb when your body is in revolt.   Isaac has an unusually high pain tolerance and he's a 15 year old football player being surrounded by macho athletes, trainers, and coaches (don't get me started).  Though he is typically a compassionate sort, sisters are considered a different creature sometimes.  Someone recently inquired about Calypso when Isaac and I were out and about and his sister was absent.  I let them know she was having a string of bad days at which Isaac added, "Yeah, and she's not exactly the tough type."  The person asking was a woman who likely weighs less than my left leg but who has a 5th degree back belt.  She knows a bit about tough.  The person intending to answer was me...I like to think I know at least a little about toughness.  We both corrected my over 6 foot tall defensive end of a son letting him know that the level of perseverance his sister has demonstrated in the last 10 months speaks to a considerable level of mental toughness and that toughness isn't measured merely by one's ability to take down a big guy in pads or ignore physical pain.  Here then is the toughness his sister is made of...

-She ended one school year and commenced the next with hospitalizations yet she worked full time in between.  

-She went to school half-time for the first half of the year and managed to keep up her grades in spite of being absent so much.

-She's kept on top of what her assignments were and finding people to borrow notes from.  On days when she had borrowed notes from classmates and she was too sick to go to school she took responsibility and made sure I had the materials to return to the school office so classmates kind enough to share wouldn't lack their own notes when preparing for tests.

-She has missed out on the overwhelming majority of social activities a girl in her last year of high school could expect to enjoy and was either forgotten or nastily dropped by a number of "friends."  In spite of a lot of tears shed over it has held her head up and found solace in the few true ones left.

-She has continued to offer her ear and her shoulder to friends when they are hurting. 

-She has been called down for a talking to by the school nurse who thinks she needs to stop faking and just gut it out and has had to endure the repeated rolling of eyes every time she makes an appearance in the nurse's office.

-Although she fought us for a long time she finally saw the value in going through some major nutritional shifts for a significant period of time.  She kept to it even when her father and brother brought foods forbidden to her, which she craved intensely, into her presence and enjoyed them in front of her.

-She has advocated for herself before teachers, school administrators, doctors, and when she felt necessary....her parents.

-She has bought running shoes in the faith that she's going to be able to get back to running even though a brisk walk wears her out on a good day. 

-She has found a way to smile and laugh and persevere (admittedly interspersed with some dark days) for months even though she has said she doesn't remember what it's like to feel well.

My son, she may cry more often and complain about feeling awful but when the tears are wiped up she picks herself up and keeps moving forward as best she can in spite of still not having answers and not knowing when or if she will ever feel better.  It may not be taking a hit from a 220 lb. senior on the opposing football team but that's the tough your sister is made of.  Respect it.


Hilary said...

She, like her mother is made of tough stuff. I hope she starts feeling much better very soon. My heart aches for her and for you. You and yours are in my best thoughts always.

Thanks for your lovely email, today.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Sending up a prayer for your remarkably tough Calypso, and for you, my dear lime, as well.

S said...

tell it, sister

Bijoux said...

Have you found an answer yet? I'm wondering if I missed something?

Craig said...

See, the thing is, 15-year-old boys haven't lived enough to understand feminine toughness, or to recognize it when they see it. . .

Cricket said...

Yeah... what Hilary said. I'm not embarrassed to tell you I teared up a bit reading this.

With my love and prayers.

lime said...

hilary, thank you so much. we hope so too.

susan, thanks, we can both use the prayers.

s, megaphone and soapbox in place

bijoux, no answers yet

craig, very well said, my friend.

cricket, and tears do no in any way diminish a man's toughness. thank you

Craver Vii said...

I was trying to think of what to say, and then I read Craig's comment. Yeah... what he said.

It's not slamming the lad; he's a good kid. It's just that he doesn't really understand that kind of toughness.

Craver Vii said...

Also, I feel like I want to rough up the school nurse for rolling her eyes. I know she's only human, but that kind of antic adds insult to injury... literally!

Dave said...

That's nice Michelle. We boys, being macho tend to look down on the apparent weakness of the female sex, but remember, we still love you and most of us still respect you too - Dave :-)