My Birthday Wish For Her….

With our Arthritis Walk only five weeks away, it’s time to pump up our personal and team fundraising. Caitlin is the National Youth Honoree this year… which is extra motivation. We’re also very excited that when she takes that walk, her new titanium hip will mean less pain at the end of the day (she always insists on walking the whole thing….)

My family is very passionate about walk – and I’ll be posting a few entries about it over the next month. But today, is Caitlin’s twelfth birthday. In honor of the occasion, I sent out a message to some friends and family, inviting them to support our cause.

I’m sharing the text here not as an additional outreach for support – but because I know that so many moms and dads have the same story to tell. I hope that if you have not been a part of walk, you’ll consider it.

Twelve years ago today, I began the most fulfilling and rewarding, yet difficult, all-encompassing and gripping job of my life when my beautiful daughter Caitlin Ruth entered this world. At the time, I considered myself intellectually prepared for being a parent. But nothing can prepare you for the way another living person can take over your heart – consuming your original personal desires and replacing them with new hopes and dreams. I knew nothing of the feeling of chubby arms wrapped around my soul… Nor did I know the frustration engendered by a two year old with her heart set on wearing red, sequined slippers everywhere, no matter what. I had not a clue what it would be like to truly wish a plague down on myself, if it would heal the pain of that trusting little child. I could never have imagined all of the joys to come, nor all of the challenges.

Twelve years later, despite the new lessons I still learn from a young tween, I am grateful every day for this job. It was one of the best choices I have ever personally made.

I have often bemoaned the fact that Caitlin is losing parts of her childhood because of arthritis. Well….. She is officially out of those childhood years today and moving into the murky waters of adolescence. A difficult time as it is… without having to deal with having hip replacement surgery. We’re still fighting – to give her every chance at whatever qualifies as normal…. And I am still enjoying this fantastic journey of motherhood.

Looking to the future (many years in the future), I hope that my daughter will be able to make the choice to be a mother, if she desires. And I REFUSE to accept a future where she cannot make that choice because of arthritis. I will not accept that she might have to choose between taking medications that allow her to live a relatively normal, mobile life… and being able to have a child. I absolutely DENY a future where she is unable to pick up her own child, or take them to the park – because she is in so much PAIN. And I will gladly spend my last breath to ensure that she NEVER has to watch her own child struggle the way she has.

So this is my Birthday Wish for Caitlin…. That this journey will come to a fruitful end resulting in safe effective treatments and ultimately a cure for this disease. I believe we will get there… and we will not stop walking and working until we do.

If you would like to be a part of our mission to help the 46 million Americans and 300,000 children to lead a life free of arthritis, Please consider Joining the Princess Parade as a virtual member, or walk with us on May 16 at UCI…. or make a donation . I have to ask. I am the mom and it’s my job.

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