Even in the NICU, she made her temper known. Her furious bleats echoed from the previously calmer walls, disturbing the other tinier occupants and their parents, and I had the good grace to feel sheepish as my daughter wailed fiercely, her gigantically fat legs and arms pounding against the sides of the isolette.

“Let me the fuck outta here!” she hollered without saying a word.

I echoed the sentiment, with my own words, of course.

My daughter, she is a fighter.

At birth, my Amelia Grace, the fighter, born with her brain hanging from her head, she disturbed the entire labor floor with her angry screams. Indeed, one of the only clear memories I have of her birth is her shrieks, so loud, so furious over the grievous sin of having been forced to be weighed.

(I, of course, feel precisely the same way every Friday when I am weighed in, but, you know, I am much more in control of my tantrums, so I can shriek QUIETLY before having to see the number on the scale)

This trait, this fighter trait, it has never left my daughter, my warrior girl, and it is with intense pride that I see her furiously beat her hands against the floor, shrieking in anger over some injustice, because it is so familiar to me. She is her mother’s daughter and she should know how to fight.

Yes! I say to her, YES, my brave, sweet girl, you FIGHT against it. You get good and god-damned mad and you take that anger and you channel it into something good and you use it for all it’s worth. That is the tiger in you, my child. And you let that tiger out and you let it ROAR and God HELP anyone who gets in your way. That fight will remind you you’re alive.

My little Amelia is a warrior.

If anyone should be born with the spirit of a warrior, passed so handily down from her mother’s DNA, I think it should be a daughter, someone born with the odds stacked so heavily against her.

Still, she doesn’t speak to me and tell me the secrets of her heart, although when I look into her deep brown eyes that mirror so closely my own, I can see them there, just below the surface. The Little Prince was right, what is essential is invisible to the eye. And when my heartstrings pull painfully in my chest, imagining the times when it will be so hard for her, I comfort myself in knowing that the warrior heart that beats within my own chest beats within hers as well.

The secret place, the land of tears, well, that will be hers alone, as it is with all all of us.

As I look at her, awestruck, often bemused by her anger, flared up by the terrible injustice of having been told, “no, no we’re not having candy for dinner,” I never forget how lucky I am to have her by my side.

Her speech therapy will begin soon. She’s operating at quite a delay, backsliding from even where she was several months ago. So now we put on our platinum battle armor, polish our diamond coated swords and get ready, because it’s time for the fight to begin.

My Miracle Mimi, my Warrior Principessa; it’s you and me against the world, kid.

So watch out, world.

87 thoughts on “You + Me Against The World

  1. What an angel. That post made me teary eyed and I will almost never admit that. You’re an amazing Mom.

  2. I believe in you both, darling. Do you know @adjunctmom? I bet you guys could swap some stories.

    Love ya, B.

  3. Warrior Principessa Mimi … yes … I do believe she should have her very own super-hero caricature, to go with her super-hero persona!

  4. You *WILL* get through this Becky. And Amelia will be perfect. Just as she always has.

    All my love to you and your precious girl.

  5. Beautiful post and even more beautiful picture. I an see the anger in her eyes. Imagine if YOU couldn’t talk or express yourself in words. Her eyes would be yours. I want to follow you for a very long time and hear what she has to say about all of this when the dam breaks.

  6. I’m so sad that she has to fight but I know she will kick some serious ass and emerge victorious, Mimi, conqueror of all things that dare get in her way.

  7. Tears again, dammit! It all just seems SO unfair!! I know there’s no way *I* can help, but oh, I wish I could. Big hugz to you and Mimi both.

  8. If she is half as strong as her mommy, she will definitely kick whatever delays she has in the ass. Hard. Sending prayers and good thoughts your way.

  9. I’m sure you are in the Illinois version of First Steps and they are amazing Aunt Becky. Joey started when he was just 13 months old (he was only operating at a 6 month level) and when he graduated out of the program at 3 years old, and we did the exit question and answer thing, he scored at 36 months old. (That being said he did qualify for 4 days of pre-school with physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy) but he’s catching up and doing well. Mimi will catch up too and she will blow her therapist out of the water with what she is capable of doing!

  10. Well, God Dammit. I have a rule about not crying at nap time unless I’m out of diet coke but I’ll make an exception this time. Very sweet!

  11. Oh my love,
    There is no harder stress than being a mother. The worry about your children and to know they will be okay. I am a nut when it comes to this. You are a rock and an inspiration. Both you and Amelia will conquer ALL your wars! And win! She will be the top prize when all is said and done! Just always remember to give her gratitiude and umph! I kow you will because you are a fantastic mama!~ Luv Ya! Shannon

  12. Oh you sweet, funny woman, I had no idea, I’ve tweeted w/ you lately, don’t want to say some stupid platitude, but I will send all the good wishes I’m capable of your way. You are both breathtaking! She is such a gift, and you manage to keep your humor through this time. Again…wishing you NOTHING but happiness, peace and good health!

  13. You know what? I don’t think she needs speech therapy. I think that if you see her lips moving after she’s finished making sounds, that’s because she’s starring in a Japanese movie and she’s about to kick some ninja ass.

    Bring Mimi to Chicago!

  14. You both are an inspiration. Also as a parent of a child with special needs we always fight the fight. Keep it up.

  15. Awesome post, I think you both are amazing fighters and I know with you in her corner Amelia has the best support she could ever have. I’m praying for you both! Keep us posted on her progress, please.

  16. Go Mimi go!! She says so much with that face, she doesn’t see the need to be vocal yet. That’s gotta be her Chuck Norris look right there!

  17. Dude – what happened before that picture was taken? Did you tell her that she was going to have to wear your bonnet? Because Mimi looks ANGRY (or intensely focused) and you look a little scared. I have no doubt that your little warrior will conquer language – she’s probably just looking for the properly bedazzled battle-ax and velvet-lined chain mail. Good luck – you guys can do it!

  18. I have no doubt she will conquer words and anything or anyone else that jumps in her way. She is ur strength, echoed and magnified, nothing stands a chance against her and you. Fight on little warrior Fight on !!! ( love that thug look she is rocking, Binky and all!)

    1. Why does Aunt Becky think Im a robot? Ok so one time I did the Robot but I was drunk and the song came on and u know what…STOP FREAKIN JUDGIN ME OK!

  19. You two make a great pair. With you as her advocate I’m sure the Warrior Princess will get all the help and support she needs to catch up.

  20. Well, I usually just lurk since there’s little that I could add to your blogging splendiferousness. However, today, for you and for me, I thought I’d tell you a short story…
    I was born three months premature weighing in at a whopping 2 lbs, 3 oz. The first words my Mother ever said to me were, “Fight hard, little one.” And I did.
    I spent the first month and a half of my life in the NICU. I wore a heart monitor for the first year of my life…I also gave my father a full head of gray hair during that time (guess it saved me the trouble in my teens).
    Throughout my infancy and into my childhood I showed signs of some physical and developmental delays. I got stuck in the “Special ed” PE class in elementary school…whooo was that fun.
    But I fought, and beat, them all. I’m now a doctoral candidate in literature and an adjunct professor. I get my first class of ickle froshies to torture next month.
    I admit I’m still not the most coordinated person on the planet- I’ve got a really great scar on my upper lip from tripping UP an escalator (it impresses the ladies when I tell them it’s from a bar fight)- but you wouldn’t think I’d ever been anything but “normal” to meet me…unless I open my mouth.
    Like Amelia, I’ve fought my whole life and will keep fighting. Like Amelia, it’s my Mother who taught me the value of the fights you NEED to win.
    My Mother lost her own fight with ovarian cancer a year ago last week. When she did she taught me an even more important lesson: some fights we lose no matter how hard we try, but as long as we take a bunch of motherfuckers down with us it was worth it. The fight is always worth it.

    For all her battles, Amelia will always be lucky. She’s got you.

    1. Thank you 🙂 I haven’t really talked about it much, but I guess that’s what the blogging community is all about. Confession, absolution, above all- connection and knowing that we’re not alone.

    2. My daughters were born almost 3 months premature and have also had a long hard fight. Thank you for the inspiration. I hope they will fare as well.

  21. Wow, those totally confident, “I can take you, mf’er” eyes. You’re starting the speech therapy and she will do well. How can I predict that? Look at her eyes. Once she learns the tools, there will be no stopping her. Stay strong, Aunt Becky and the Daver.

  22. Beautiful girls, both of you. Being a mother brings out the tiger in all of us I think, but it’s even better when we see that tiger in our offspring. She, is most certainly a tiger. I’d be pissed too if I were her and I’m glad you revel in her anger in her passion and in her. And I’m glad you’ve shared it with us.

  23. Holy Gorgeous Eyes, you two. Your pranksters have been Mimi’s cheerleaders from the beginning, and we’re not putting our megaphones down anytime soon.

    Now stop making me cry. Talk about weenises some more. 😉

  24. Where is the effing disclaimer?

    Now I feel the urge to get knocked up.

    We talked about this. You KNOW she is the only baby in the history of the Internets that gives me baby fever!

    Now I have to go get my ovaries drunk.

  25. My daughter, Mimi’s twin, screams next to yours. Their brown eyes flashing their anger together. How dare we not let them have candy for dinner and play with scissors while running around chasing the dogs.

    We will help them be as strong as they need to be. We cannot fight their fights for them, but I’ll be damned if we will sit idly by.

  26. I have absolute faith in you as a mother and Mimi as a fighter.

    I know it will be hard. But you can do it and you will be the best advocate for your sweet girl. You are stronger than you think, better than you know, and your core is made of stone cold steel, my love.

  27. “nothing is more powerful than beauty in a wicked world” – amos lee

    The story is beautiful, the picture…ahhh, both of you just radiate beauty, focus and power–you can just see that Mimi will kick the balls out of this little setback.

  28. ok…so i was gonna say ‘strength’ instead of power…..but the longer i looked at her eyes, and yours… it’s definitely ‘power’ that i see …the power to take control of this situation/problem and beat it.

  29. I have no doubt that Mimi is going to conquer the speech and then have you all wishing she hadn’t. She’s going to win. Her little neurons will find their own pathways and then her words are going to kick everyone’s butt. In the meantime, she’ll resort to brute force. Go Mimi!!!! We’ve got your back girl.

  30. Damn right, watch out world! You 2 are an invincable team. What a gorgeous picture. Smooches to you both from me and my girl.

  31. Keep fighting the good fight. You will be amazed at what she will accomplish. I wish it could be fixed with the push of a button but keep up this great attitude and you will be rewarded on the other side. I have walked this path before and both of your strong wills are going to be needed. As I tell my friends who have kids with challenges – stay pissed, it makes you work harder.

  32. With every word you wrote in here, I smiled. I envision your girl, mad as hell, demanding that her voice be heard. I hope she retains that mighty personality.
    My girl, my fighter, would wail and shriek out her anger, her demand to be heard from an early age. She’s twelve now and can verbalize the heat that flares behind her gray eyes, eyes like her Dad, but the fire, the mighty power is still there and will drive her forward through life, demanding her share, on her terms.

    I bet Amelia will rock the path she trods.

    (Hell yeah, I lost 8 pounds. Sweated the fat right off my ass.)

  33. We call our Amelia “Mimi” as well. I like to think there is some kind of power in that name. We have been very fortunate not to have to fight the kind of battles that you two warrior women have and will have to fight, but it sure seems to me that you’ve got more than what you need to get where you need to go.

    Fight on Mimi.

    With love from me and my Mimi.

  34. You can do this. You WILL do this. Mimi’s words will come fast and furious; they just need to find the right path. She’s an amazing little girl, with a mother whose drive and determination will be the backbone of her success. Fight hard – we’re with you every step of the way.

  35. She’s just saving her words…I’m certain that Mimi has got important things to say to the world. She may not choose to “say” them like you and I do…but trust me, she’s got a story in her that WILL get out!

  36. There’s magic in your little warrior girl. Magic. She has been through so much and is an amazing little being who has fight and spunk. She will conquer therapy, just as she’s conquered every other obstacle in her life. I have no doubt about that! (She is her mother’s daughter, you know!)

    Much love to both of you…

  37. I’m about to start Hannah with speech. We can compare notes and moan to each other. My heart is with you honey. You do look lovely together, by the way. I see ass kickin’ in your future.

  38. Mimi will be rocking words out in no time. Mark my words. She’ll be kicking their asses and taking names, just like her Mama.

  39. You forgot to specify ‘pink rhinestone handled’ when talking about the sword. Fight on warrior princesses, fight on.

  40. You kick righteous ass in *all* things that matter. Your kiddo can only do likewise. (And PS: I swear by Coke Zero and all things holy that I totally wanted to bleach *just* my bangs but my friends banded together and told me NO. Bastards. Because you did it and it’s everything I thought it could be!)

  41. I am not 100% sure you guys *need* swords–you look like you could take someone with your bare hands. But go ahead, it’s nice to accessorize.

  42. I’m behind in my reading so I just saw this. I am thinking of you and your little girl. As we’ve begun to help my son with his struggles, I find myself crying and fighting and sometimes fighting him or my husband instead.

    So although our children struggle with different issues, I wish you all the fight you need to take on the world and all the ease you can hold in your home.

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