Born with congenital double kidneys, Debbie McNaughton faced frequent high fevers and infections growing up—she was a constant concern for her parents, who moved her to their room to fully attend to her at night. When her fever would spike, her mother would wipe her forehead with a cool cloth as her father held her in his arms until sleep overcame her. Through years of worry and hospital visits, her parents never left her side.
At age eight, a pediatric surgeon invented a new surgical procedure to correct Debbie’s kidneys. Despite the hardship of hospital visits and surgery, Debbie describes how “Feeling their concern and strength gave me the courage to face adversity then and throughout my life. My parents’ devotion became a pattern for me to follow in my own unexpected challenges of motherhood.”
Debbie’s daughter Meg was born two months premature and diagnosed eighteen months later with cerebral palsy. She is non-verbal and uses a communication device for speech and a power wheelchair for mobility. Though the challenges of cerebral palsy caused natural mourning for the dreams Debbie had envisioned for her daughter, she has let go of those imaginings. Her love for Meg, instilled at her birth, continually deepens as they face a life of daily struggles and joys in their successes together. Debbie draws on the devotion and courage of her father and mother, and Meg, because of Debbie’s dedication to her, has survived to become a beautiful woman, with amazing strength and determination. They have changed one another and left enduring impressions on all who know them. Debbie reflects, “Each day when I look at Meg’s smile, I become a strengthened woman, a fighter, a focused advocate, persistent, devoted; more and more akin to those personal attributes I dearly felt from my own parents.”
Today’s post and image are contributed by Seeing the Everyday magazine. Read more about Debbie and Meg in Debbie’s article, “My Daughter Meg,” in Seeing the Everyday no. 20, pp. 24-27.
For more information, go to seeingtheeveryday.com.