It's said that we gather the best and worst traits for our fictional characters from what we see and hear in the world around us. If so, a little girl I know and love has recently given me cause to celebrate toughness and optimism.
Adelaide isn't quite two yet. In fact, she was more than three months from her second birthday when the incident I'm about to describe occurred. She was climbing out of a portable crib, not more than two-and-a-half feet off the floor, and her mom was encouraging her discovery: "You can do it, Adelaide."
Then came the freakish accident: a toe caught in netting, a drop to the floor, a one-point landing on her left arm with the arm pinned between her body and the base of the port-a-crib.
Adelaide came up shrieking. Mommy, immediately repentant, ran to her and cuddled, assuring her she would be all right, but it was clear from the sag in her left arm that the bones weren't doing their assigned job. A trip to the hospital E-R and a set of x-rays proved the truth: Adelaide had broken both bones in her left forearm, both snapped and separated.
The first evidence that our little girl is made of tough stuff came minutes after the accident when the screaming ended. Adelaide lifted her one good arm into the air and announced, "I did it!" Broken or not, she had climbed out of the port-a-crib all by herself, and she wanted to celebrate her victory.
Since then she's been impossible to slow down. Although the arm has been wrapped first in a fiberglass splint and then in a hard cast, both too heavy to lift without help, she still insists on climbing, jumping, playing and doing everything she always did. Now she just does it one-handed. Nothing is stopping her. And she's doing it all with very little pain medication, which doesn't really agree well with her tiny tummy.
I couldn't be much prouder of my little granddaughter, and I'm going to remember her indomitable spirit. Future heroines may have just a little more of Adelaide in them than they might have had otherwise.
Is there a real-life hero or heroine in your life?