March 7 is International Women’s Day and I want to tell you about one of the women I admire most in all the world, who also happens to turn 30 years old this week. She spent the first 18 of those years in our home.
Mindy entered Kindergarten with the same enthusiasm she held for all of life’s adventures. She was eager to learn, make friends, and enjoy each day. We could not have predicted what her first few days held in store.
After only two days of school, Mindy’s right eye began to water, turn purple, and swell, until it had swollen completely shut. When we arrived at the hospital, medical staff recognized a severe infection and were concerned for her vision. What caused it remains a mystery, but they immediately hooked Mindy up to intravenous antibiotics. That meant staying in the hospital, a first for our girl.
My own tears refused to stay put as her one good eye pled with me to stop the invasion. She could not comprehend the connection between the pain in her eye and the needle going into her arm, nor why I allowed the nurse to hurt her like this.
With the I.V. finally in place, however, Mindy began to settle down and see the hospital stay as simply another adventure. She gladly put on the blue and white striped flannel pajamas supplied and enjoyed the toys and books in the playroom. By the end of the day, she was getting into trouble for scooting too fast down the hallway on her I.V. pole.
That night as I tucked her into her hospital bed and said prayers, I asked if she wanted me to stay with her overnight.
“I think you should go home and help Daddy take care of the boys,” she said. “I’ll be okay.”
I thought she was a terribly brave little girl, but I didn’t realize just how brave until I returned the following morning. I found Mindy in her room, having breakfast.
“Mommy,” she said, incredulous. “I think the nurses stayed here all night!”
She had thought the staff would all go home to their own beds, leaving her all alone. And that, in Mindy’s mind, was quite acceptable.
I should have realized then what a courageous daughter God had given us. In the years to come, she proved it many times. This young lady went on to spend a summer of high school in Army Boot Camp, thriving while some male colleagues quit. After high school graduation she went off to Switzerland to begin work there as a nanny, though she knew no one, did not speak the language, and had little experience caring for young children. She made out just fine, and subsequently travelled to more countries than I can hope to visit.
Today, Mindy is a bright and beautiful married woman (with healthy eyesight) who brings joy and energy to everything she tackles. Between studying for her Master’s degree in Counselling, she spends her free time volunteering for a crisis prevention center and a home for pregnant, homeless women. She is passionate about the fight to end human trafficking and works tirelessly to defend the dignity of all women, offering hope and healing to the brokenhearted and abused. Mindy learned early that life can throw harsh and unexpected things at you, but a positive attitude, a determined spirit, and solid faith will take you far.
I really hope I am more like her when I grow up.