She was three. Just released from a far-away hospital after life threatening brain surgery, ready to take on the world again. I was happy just to have her back. My little “Mr. Clean” (shaven head and hoop earrings) and I were driving to our local mall for “Daddy’s Day”. I cherished our time together. For a while, I thought I lost her.
I loved my little bundle of energy so much. I was going to protect her from the world. I was going to make life as easy as possible for her. She had already been through so much. I could feel a little of how a mother must feel as a single father raising a daughter that had started life with two strikes against her. I was determined to be her sunshine coming out of a dark night. But sometimes God has different plans than we do. Her dark night had just begun.
My beautiful little girl would soon embark on a long road of seizures, surgeries, special schools, medications and end up partially paralyzed on her right side. She never learned to ride a bike.
Today, she is almost seventeen. She cannot use her right hand and walks with a noticeable limp. She has had to overcome one obstacle after another. She has always had to struggle in school, both socially and academically. But through it, she has developed a radiance and a charisma with a tenacity that has a combining effect of a Venus fly trap. Spend a moment with her and you are captivated for life.
At first glance, she is a cripple. At second glance, one notices beauty and charm. At third glance, one is left almost stunned at the wit, deep wisdom and determination of one so young.
She is planning a career in early childhood education. With one year still remaining in high school, she and I, one night not too long ago, mapped out all the courses she would need to take in community college to enter the University. She invited me to participate, so “dad” could have a part. But the planning was hers. She volunteers weekly at a local hospital, on the children’s floor. She baby-sits a neighbor’s children five days a week. On her own this year, she stood outside in line for four hours on a cold Canadian January afternoon and enrolled herself, with her own babysitting money, in two courses she felt she would need for a foundation to develop her career.
At first, one would be tempted to shake their fist at God. Plans in raising a little girl that never panned out, a life of struggle; but as I look at what He gave me instead, I fall on my face in one big tear. Just watching her, I can see the difference between a good architect and a great one. I think I would have been a good architect. I would have given my daughter a good life. But the one God gave her… and me is priceless.
Dedicated to my daughter...And I love you so. (c)1999 Rick Beneteau