Posted in Family

My Daughter the Ball-Buster

our half-leprechaun preemie ball-buster… She doesn’t LOOK dangerous, does she?

It’s March of Dimes time…  People with preemies are gearing up around the nation for the annual fund-raising walk.  At this time of year eight years ago, my mother managed to get me away from the hospital (where my two-pound daughter was incarcerated in Neonatal Intensive Care) for a few hours to do some shopping and to remind me that the rest of the world was still turning. I chose a new pair of sandals at Payless Shoes, and the sales clerk asked me the obviously rote question of whether I wanted to donate to March of Dimes to help prevent premature birth. I responded to the poor man’s innocent question by bursting into tears.

Elena Grace arrived, three months early, on Saint Patrick’s Day–and although you wouldn’t guess it to look at her (she has her Filipino father’s coloring) she’s got some Irish from her mom. And she’s quite attached to the Irish bit; when Keoni was explaining the Hawai’ian menehune (a small mischievous being)  last weekend, he asked, as a comparative reference, if she knows what a leprechaun is.  “Of course I do!” she answered, indignantly folding her arms. “I’M half leprechaun!”

This little leprechaun, once so delicate in the NICU, has apparently become a notorious ball-buster in her karate class. Her big brother Christian mentioned off-handedly last week that she had made a boy cry during class. Or maybe two.  Somewhat surprised, I probed for the story, which Christian happily told. (He won’t admit it, but there’s some big-brother pride going on here.)

“Well, they were sparring, and he wasn’t wearing his cup, and she kicked him in the…” [expressive eye-rolling and gesturing] “..down there, so hard that he PEED HIMSELF.”

“That was em-BAR-rassing!” Elena Grace added, with an expressive eye-roll of her own. Boy-pee, ewww.

“And then it happened again,” Christian supplied helpfully.  (What did? Surely not…) “Well, after they cleaned up the mat, they paired her with somebody else, and he’s more like my size than hers, and she kicked him and HE peed himself too!”

steer clear, boys!

I admit to being torn between compassion for these poor boys, and suppressing a grin at the mental picture of my little spitfire taking them down one by one. It’s such a far cry from her fragile form eight years ago.

For a few years after her arrival, I volunteered with March of Dimes and at the NICU, and founded the March of Dimes Idaho NICU Photography Project. But my most poignant March of Dimes memory comes from Christian’s kindergarten year, when he came home with a donation box for MoD, shaped something like a small milk carton. He solemnly explained to me what it was for, then disappeared into his bedroom for an unusual length of time, finally emerging to hand me the carton.

He had emptied his entire piggy-bank of coins into it, so heavy he needed both paws to hand it to me. On the side, in his painstaking kindergarten-printing, he had written, “Thank you for saving my sister.”

He spoke for all of us. Except, perhaps, for a couple boys in her karate class.


I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

27 thoughts on “My Daughter the Ball-Buster

  1. THAT is a boy living in a family of values. And to your daughter the ball buster, good job warrior!!!!


  2. It’s great when our preemies grow up and live the lives they were meant to live! My daughter was born at 27 weeks almost 25 years ago and my son at about 30 weeks almost 21 years ago. Both are healthy and that’s more than I could ever ask for! Proud of your family!


  3. Oh Kana~”incarcerated in the Neonatal ICU” completely cracked me up. I had a daughter incarcerated there myself!! Love this post. Love that your daughter the fey-leprauchaun is STRONG and that your dear son with the amazing heart is so giving…you are an awesome mom and example.


  4. As the mother of two preemies (boys–this story makes me ache ‘down there’ for them ;) ), I am loving this story!


  5. As like some of the other commenters my oldest son was also born a premie but not by much. He had good birth weight and the only thing wrong was the pneumonia he got traveling to birth. In fact they took so much blood for samples trying to diagnose him, he needed a blood transfusion to replace it. That in the “good ole bad days” of not so good medical care.

    so glad you have a ball buster of a daughter and a son with a heart of gold. My boys aren’t so bad either. I’m really a very proud mom.


  6. What a wonderful outcome — thank the Lord for the March of Dimes. I can tell from the kick in the photo how much those boys must have been hurting — Wow!


  7. I burst out bawling over this.
    In case I haven’t told you, you are the inspiration for my heroine after her preemie is born in my novel. I hope I got it right.


  8. Wow! Very moving and touching! It’s amazing, isn’t it how we worry when there are issues in the beginning, and years later we look back to find that it’s OK? Great post and story! Love it!


  9. Kana, this is one my very favorite posts of yours that I have read to date, since finding your blog. The combination of joy over Elena Grace’s development into such a strong, feisty, and adorable girl and the very sincere support for March of Dimes expressed by you and Christian here makes this post a double-header of a winner!


  10. This post is now CLOSED TO COMMENTARY—due to the anonymous poster who has been attacking my readers with accusations and name-calling. Sorry, this is a No-Bullying zone!


Comments are closed.