We had a checkup with Dr. Li at the University Of Michigan O&P on Friday, which was incidentally my son’s 16th birthday. As she predicted the last time, he was given the great news that he is DONE with bracing! He’s been bracing on and off for about 10 years and our family has been bracing two kids on-and-off for about a dozen years or more. So, he is very happy and we are, too!!
Take note, parents of long-time bracing: I can’t actually remember how long we’ve been bracing, which is a GOOD THING. Someday you will stop counting the days until they are “done” and life just takes over and the new normal kicks in and “all of a sudden”, your kids are grown and you are done bracing. I wouldn’t recommend rushing the first part, even if you can’t wait for the second part.
So, happy 16th birthday to my son. We are grateful for the best gift every – an end to bracing AND a spine that has stabilized in the upper 20s/lower 30s. And, one where both his curves match, so he is “symmetrically crooked”. We will TAKE IT!
It is amazing to think what can happen in our lives in a decade. Just over 10 years ago, I was dealing with a Scoliosis treatment plan for my 7-year-old daughter and trying to figure out how to make life work in the confines of bracing. I was where many of my readers are now, or at least where they have been at some point. I was “just a Mom” (as a pompous Doc in the Scoliosis industry pointed out), with an idea to make my daughter more comfortable through some contraption that I threw together on my old home sewing machines. I never knew what God had in store. Yes, I feel that only through the working of God could my youngest “baby”, EmBraced In Comfort, have become what it is today…
Today we, at EmBraced In Comfort, are flourishing – helping people all over the world. We have a large line of undergarments that we offer for all shapes and sizes and for both the female and male bodies. (That can be attributed to my son going into a brace when he was 6, too). We started out in my home, and, once we grew and took over my personal space, we moved to one other building and quickly outgrew that before we moved into our current location several years ago. We have had ups and downs, team members come and go (some happily and some not so much), and we’ve even had heartbreak when patented ideas and designs were “closely mimicked” in the industry. I’ve had to learn everything, including how to patent an idea, how to design a website, how to understand issues around textiles and design, and how to be an industrial sewing machine mechanic (yes, I’m certified in most classes of machines). I’ve gone back to college to take textiles and design courses, read textbooks on subjects I needed to learn, and reached out to experts who knew more than me to help guide me (a practice I will always continue). But, what I’ve had to learn the most is how to rely on God more and more, as I navigated (and continue to navigate) challenge after challenge. It has not been easy, but it’s been rewarding, and mostly because of the people I’ve met along the way.
Suffering people were the entire reason I started this adventure. And, comforting suffering people is what keeps me going. It’s not about the money, although I’ve slowly bootstrapped to where I am now and been able to come out ahead most years. It’s about the people – the people who, every time I’m just too frustrated and ready to quit, call me or text me or send me an email to say Thank-You. People who tell me that their child was crying one day, with sores and bleeding from the rubbing of the brace on her skin, and that after putting on one of our shirts, her daughter was fine. What a miracle that we are blessed to be a part of! These words of encouragement always come at just the right time and it has – truly – been what has kept this business (and me) going all this time.
The next 10 years are a promising mystery, but I am currently pursuing a new call – to become an ordained Pastor in the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). I’m attending Wartburg Seminary at a distance, while I continue to service my customers. God called me 10 years ago to comfort a hurting people in the best way I knew how, and God knew that nothing motivates a Mom like seeing her child(ren) suffer. This business is, and has been, a genuine calling. And, we are not done. But, now God has called me to more – and, this journey of learning through seminary is just the beginning. I look forward to seeing where we continue to go in the future. As always, I and my fantastic team (more about them later) are here for you! Just reach out.