A real-life story about a very brave girl.

I Want To See You Be Brave

In Motherhood, Parenting by Jen20 Comments

Let me tell you the real-life story of a girl. A very brave girl.

A real-life story about a very brave girl.

This girl got really sick at age 9 with something no one really understood, but because of the illness she was left with some permanent damage. At 9 she took what had happened to her and never asked for any allowances. In fact, most people would never even guess that because of this illness she could have easily taken a disabled label, but she never did. She moved on. With both grace and courage. If she wanted something she worked hard until she accomplished it. 

A real-life story about a very brave girl.

Until she was 15 when she got sick again, and then again at 16. It was kind of a dark and scary time.

A real-life story about a very brave girl.

This same brave girl now 17, sat this last week on Halloween in the Dr’s office with her parents and was given a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. The silent tears streaming down her face were the only evidence of how very difficult this all was for her. As the Dr. continued speaking, her Mom and Dad wanted to sink into the floor and disappear. Or to at least be given the opportunity to take this diagnosis personally so that their daughter did not need to suffer any more. Because if you aren’t familiar with MS, although not life threatening, it is a real peach….

But in a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit, and especially to the tenacity of this girl, she pulled it together enough on that very same day to put on her Kaylee from Firefly costume and take her little brother and sisters trick-or-treating.

A real-life story about a very brave girl.

So why am I sharing all of this? First, so that ignorant people like the teacher who told my daughter she would not be allowed to make-up a test she had missed, because “she didn’t look sick” after she had just gone through a devastating flare will understand there are different kinds of “sick”. Sick doesn’t have a look and neither does bravery. I am not suggesting she is the bravest person in the world, but she is one of them. As are so many other silent warriors who struggle bravely through their days.

And I am sharing mostly because of this. We just finished another demoralizing election cycle and live in a land where trolling and being hurtful online, and in-person- as long as you have the “right” opinion are justified.

It isn’t. It never is.  And it needs to stop.

A few weeks ago my daughter was talking to me about some of her peers. Many of whom don’t know how sick she is. My daughter told me that as she listens to the complaints many of them voice about “how hard their lives are” and ” how much their parents don’t understand” she just wants to shake them and tell them to wake up and see the good they have, and to be grateful for it. She doesn’t do that though. Instead she listens, encourages and remains silent when her tongue could instead lash out. So talk to me about heroes.

She doesn’t know this yet, but I have some big plans in the works for next year to help her see the world. So to all of my friends, if you’re game, she and I might be coming to a couch near you!

Before I close, could you today show your own act of bravery? Kindly stand up for someone or something even when it seems hard. Or try to do something that you might not regularly do. Maybe a kindness and brave brigade in honor of this very brave girl I have written about today would do more to heal the soul than any Dr. or medication ever could. We want to see you be brave and would love to hear your stories.

A real-life story about a very brave girl.



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  1. Omg, Jen, your daughter is truly a brave and amazing young woman. thank you for sharing her here with us and her story, too. As a mom, I read this wanting reach into the computer and just hug your girl. Also, love that you are planning this most awesome trip for her, as well. So much love and hugs to you and your girl right now, my friend <3 xoxo

  2. Your daughter is amazing! That’s crazy that she’s been diagnosed with MS so young. My brother was given the same diagnosis about a year ago now, and a co-worker for mine have it too. It be be one of those “invisible illnesses” but that doesn’t mean it’s not difficult. Your daughter is definitely a brave young girl. And wow, that’s awful about her teacher. Did you complain? I had very bad anxiety back in high school and often missed a lot of school and one of my teachers looked at me one day and rudely said, “you should probably see a doctor.” It’s like, I know what’s wrong, thanks, and I appreciate the concern *sarcasm* I just don’t understand people sometimes!

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    1. Author

      It is kind of scary since she has had it since she was 9. That puts her in a class all by herself almost.

      I did, and the teacher grudgingly allowed her to take the test, but was never super helpful. That is public high school sometimes though. You have the good and the bad teachers all mixed in. Sounds like you had a gem too.

      Thanks for sharing your love over here friend. It is appreciated :)
      Jen recently posted…Easy Spruce-Up Idea: Bring Style & Comfort To Your BathroomMy Profile

  3. Oh, Jen. I read this a few times. She amazes me. My own spirit seems so fragile in comparison. I’m a bit familiar with MS in that two of my good friends have moms with it. That hasn’t stopped their motherhood and spirit either, just FYI. Oh, and one of my mama friends has it.
    Sending big hearts to you all.
    As for your daughter’s teacher.. how did you control yourself from screaming at her or him?

    1. Author

      It was hard, but just navigating and helping my daughter stay sane and as healthy as she could took all of my attention. We got what we wanted, and my daughter moved on from that class with the help of student tutors and not the teacher. It was kind of sad to me, the teacher had a real chance to lead out, but blew it. I guess that is a lesson in life.

      Thanks for the love friend!
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  4. She sounds so resilient. People are just awful when they don’t believe you are sick, but I hope that changes as people learn there are many different ways to be sick. Cheering her on as she continues to keep up the good fight!

  5. Oh Jen, I just got goosebumps reading this. I am so sorry to read about the MS diagnosis, I can only imagine how it must have floored you… Your daughter is a very brave girl and you know? It takes something real like this to puts things into perspective and help us to appreciate what is really important in life. Not the little quibbles that really don’t matter, but things like a decent doughnut filling and having the strength of character to get up in the morning and embrace the day, whatever it may bring… Your daughters’ teacher sounds like a proper pleasure to deal with, but the world has to have people like that in it just to remind us how not to be… We’ve had similar with Gregs, just because someone looks like everyone else doesn’t mean they are… If you venture over this way I would love to share a doughnut with you and your daughter.

    Sending huge hugs and take care, all of you.

    Thank you for sharing your story with #keepingitreal.

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  6. One of my college roommates was diagnosed with MS a couple of years ago. That’s scary enough, and she’s an adult. I can’t imagine having to go through that as a child. Your daughter is brave indeed, and I am proud of her too. I had a come-apart a few years ago, and they never figured out what it was, but I didn’t “look sick” either. that’s so obnoxious. I tell you what though, ever since my on/off illness, I have so much more awareness and empathy for the suffering of others. That’s true of your daughter too, I’m sure of it, and also for you.

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