My first daughter was born 16 years ago, on June 27.  She was born 3 months early at 28 weeks.  She weighed less than three pounds and fit in the palms of my hands. She then spent a week on the ventilatory, and 53 days in the hospital. After she was born, she faced a number of complications from prematurity, including anemia, bradycardia, apnea, ROP, a pneumothorax, and the list goes on.  I knew that she would have a lot of challenges to overcome in order to catch up with her peers.  I guess, she’s been a continuous lesson in overcoming adversity.

By the age of 3, she was nonverbal.  As in, she didn’t talk at all.  We put her in preschool, and things started to change, quickly.

By the time she started kindergarten, she was being pulled from the classroom 40-60% of the time to get additional help. By the end of first grade, she was reading at grade level, and performing at grade level in all classes.  She was also diagnosed as autistic.

An autistic girl.  There aren’t very many of those.  That’s tough, but it explains why she sees the world differently, and why the noise from the AC unit in the classroom upset her.  It’s why clothing textures were a problem, and still are, and explained so many things.  It also explains her quirky sense of humor, and why she doesn’t get sarcasm, and being facetious.

Still, she kept making forward progress.  By the end of elementary school, and into middle school, she started taking honors classes.  She completed her Girl Scout Bronze award in fifth grade, then her Girl Scout Silver award in seventh Grade.  She also rode horses religiously.  And sold Girl Scout Cookies.

Every class has been a battle of wills.  She is very determined, this daughter of mine.  It takes her longer to process information from a class, so she has to study longer and harder.  This year, she was recognized on her varsity horseback riding team as the most dedicated and hardworking.  Because she works hard.  Very hard.

It’s a lesson in overcoming adversity, and sticking with it.  She has overcome so many hurdles, and continues to work diligently on her school work.  Now, she’s in mostly honors class, and is on the Varsity horseback riding team for both English and Western.  One day, she’d like to be a doctor, or a business woman.  I don’t doubt that she’ll achieve it, because she is hardheaded and stubborn- just like her mother.  And she will be awesome.

What about you?  Have you overcome adversity?