It’s hard to believe it is a decade this month that we got Sporty’s Clubfoot diagnosis. It feels like yesterday that my head was a blur with things like “birth defect,” “worried,” “she’ll be able to walk but never compete with her peers athletically,” and “we recommend an amniocentesis to rule out other genetic disorders.” I can still feel the amnio needle piercing my skin and pulling out fluid, my head buried in Papa Bears arms too afraid to look at the screen and see that needle come within centimeters of Sporty. But here we are 10 years later and the joke is on that perinatologist that struck the fear of God in Papa Bear and I. If only I had a crystal ball to look into the future back then. To save myself the sleepless nights worrying about her arrival (cause I needed sleep then to make up for Young Jedi’s lack of sleep), to enjoy infancy and not focus on treatment so much. To see the strong, athletic girl that we are constantly shuttling to activity after activity.
10 years ago I was on bed rest waiting for our amnio results. This weekend, we’ll be at softball games all weekend watching her first softball tournament on her new team. Watching her take the field never gets old because I know our story could be much different. I know we’re lucky that, despite her tough case of clubfeet, she’s pain free and she has full mobility. I used to wonder “why us?” I now look at her clubfeet as a reason. I feel like we were given clubfeet for a reason. Sporty is now embracing her feet. She recently shared her journey with her new class. She could have chosen something else to share. This move could have been her fresh start. No one at her new school knows about her casts, braces or surgeries, and she could have kept it that way, but she chose to share her journey. That’s all I’ve ever wanted, to raise a girl born with a difference and to embrace and accept it. She’s who she is, clubfeet are a part of that, they don’t define her but they certainly have helped shape her resilience, her strength and her courage. I don’t ever want her to be ashamed of how she was born and so far she doesn’t seem to mind her difference. And as for us, if we can help new parents and show hope for the future, then the countless trips to the orthopedic surgeon, the hours spent shuttling her from activity to activity, if they give hope to another family. It’s all worth it. So here’s to a decade with clubfeet in our life. I really couldn’t imagine Sporty or our lives any other way!