Pigtails by Danica Moore

Everyday I wake up and fight a battle that I can not see but can feel from my head to each and every toe. It is a battle that has changed my life and has altered what my future will look like. Some look at me in pitty and others embrace me with love and understanding. Today, just like yesterday and tomorrow I will wake up fighting Lupus.

The sun comes up and every morning and I lay so still waiting to see what my body is going to tell my brain. Did I sleep well enough to get out of bed? Will the pain and stiffness be minor this morning? Will it be a day full of creaks and cracks as my joints settle into my daily activities? No matter what the answers are to those questions the sun rising brings one consistent moment, complete and utter love and happiness.

You see, for me and everyone with a chronic condition the support system that surrounds you is just as vital as the medication the doctors prescribe you. Knowing you are loved unconditionally and supported no matter what comes that day leaves a peacefulness that fills my heart every moment I am here. Please, do not get me wrong, there are moments of fear that I can not put into words and days where the tears flow so much more that the movements of my own body but I also know complete joy and love. In the many faces of my support system there is one that lights my face up and one that can make any day a wonderful day without sickness. This little face is dusted with baby deer spots (her little freckles), red hair and a smile that lights up my world. It just so happens she wears her hair in pigtails.

My little Lou Lou (Lauren) was delivered to us four years ago and is the daughter of my beautiful sister. She is my very first niece and has made my heart and life grow more than I ever thought one person could. She is full of energy and never stops! She swims, eats popsicles in the heat of the day and dances her way around her life. When Lauren looks at me she sees her fun Aunt Danica who loves to read her stories, tuck her into bed and sneaks bites of her pizza. To Lauren I am not sick, I am just wonderful as I am. It is the simplicity of how she sees me and the love that she continues to give that has changed my life and keeps me moving even on the days when it hurts. I want to stay healthy because I want to see her grow up to be the beautiful women she will one day be. I want to see her off to college and be there when she gets married. I want to sit next to my sister as she has grandchildren and rock the day away like all grandmas do. She makes me want to live.

I never new that something so small would change my life so much but the tiny little package Lou Lou comes in is an enormous gift to the world. I am so thankful for her every moment of everyday! When I am sad or hurting I just close my eyes. I see the bubbly little four year old running to me yelling my name! She is in a yellow sundress and her smile is from ear to ear. I see the love that she emanates and if I close my eyes long enough I will also feel the joy fill my heart as I watch those little red pigtails run my way.

By: Danica Moore, winner of the Chronic Resilience essay contest.

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