If you'll indulge me, a few words about the strongest person I know. She's eight.
As I've expressed previously, eight is a truly magical age; a time when fairies can still be real, the Easter Bunny probably isn't but we pretend it is anyway, and big sister's lip gloss is still better to eat than to wear. Eight is silly and adventurous and playful, especially in the case of my little curly girl who, you can tell from the pics, is my reincarnation. We'll laugh some other time about the irony in that.
Many times, I've witnessed her strength in ways that have made me want to run screaming through the streets. This child, above all others, has tested my Christian upbringing and my strong sense of self preservation. She once agreeably marched into the emergency room at our local hospital when I threatened to have her stomach emptied after she'd consumed an entire gallon of ice cream. All smiles, curls bouncing, she huffed off toward the automatic doors, nodding at the security officer as she passed without a care in the world, just to teach me how strong she was. She was three then.
This Friday when we went into the ER it was an altogether different scene. The bounce in my girl's step had suffered and she was hurt. While fooling around with some friends she'd jumped on a folding chair and landed badly. Very badly. She didn't want to embarrass herself in front of friends or others' parents, so she made some mild remark about being sore and carried on. We had company when she got home so when she showed me what had happened, I didn't quite get it all. I helped her a bit, gave the requisite snuggles and kisses, then went back to tending to guests. She didn't say a word. A short while later, I realized there was a bigger problem than I thought.