Family Medical Motherhood

The Lady at Nordstrom Rack

July 29, 2014

I was picking through a carousel of t-shirts at Nordstrom Rack. They were perfect, soft, moderately funky (like the trendy funky) and inexpensive. Why were they so cheap? Why wasn’t I having to fight the other Saturday shoppers for dibs on my size? I held a shirt up to my shoulders.

The shirts were ridiculously long, too long for just about everyone and anyone, unless you happen to be 5’ 10” or above.

Which I happen to be.

Total score.

I snagged a dressing room and started trying on tees. It felt odd, being out by myself. I hadn’t left the house alone in weeks. It was time.

How did I know it was time?

Let me tell you. That morning Tyler was on his way out the door to play soccer and it creeped out. Resentment.

As I had watched Tyler get ready to leave I totally guilted him.

“I guess I’ll just stay at home. Again. Oh no really, I’m fine. I can manage. Who needs a shower? Not this girl. No totally, go have fun. Enjoy your freedom and your friends. Please just Live. It. Up.”

Oh wow it was ugly.

The sad thing was, I celebrate Tyler playing soccer. As much as he can, whenever he can. His soul breaths better after 40 minutes on the field. It so wasn’t about soccer, it was about me and my yucky heart.

Clearly I needed a respite. And a shower.

When Tyler returned from soccer, we agreed it was time for me to get out of the house.

“Where are you going to go?” he asked

“The Rack” I replied.

I’m not sure what drove me to the Rack, after all, going to the Rack on a Saturday at noon was like going to Target 3 days before Christmas. You avoid it at all costs.

I think it was a need for a long stretch of freeway and a fast lane. To feel like I was moving. Going somewhere.

As I left the dressing room I casually browsed the baby section. Moms and their strollers parked round every carousel. A baby was perched on her mom’s hip.

My mind wandered, “ I wonder if Nora will be able to sit up like that…”

I stopped myself. I knew where this was going.

My mind slowed, but I could still feel it. It hurt. It just did.

I made my way to the check out.

Huge line. Of course.

As I approached the front, I scanned items that surrounded the checkout. Just as the next register opened, a digital watch caught my eye.

I snagged it and carried it to the front.

I asked the attendant, “Do you mind if I open this? I just want to see if it has a stopwatch. The instructions are inside and will tell me.”

“Oh sure,” she replied, “you go right ahead.”

I’m not sure why I kept talking… “Sorry to hold up the line, my daughter is having seizures, and I want something on my wrist to time them. I bought a stop watch at Target, but this one is way cuter and almost the same price.”

The attendant looked at me.

I focused on reading the watch instructions.

Why was I spewing words? I didn’t need to tell her my whole life story. She just needed to know if I was buying the watch or not.

The attendant started ringing up my t-shirts.

Long pause. Great, I thought, she thinks I’m nuts.

“Gosh I’m so sorry about your daughter, do they have medicine for her? ”

“They do …” I replied, “She’s still having 2- 3 seizures a day…even with the medicine. There are also other things wrong…her brain didn’t develop properly… we aren’t quite sure what her future will look like…”

Oh my gosh Jesse. Stop. Talking.

Now I was really holding up the line.

Long pause again.

“I understand.” she said, “I have a child with special needs. You’ve got to keep the faith. Your daughter is going to be just fine. You seem like you are an amazing Mom.”

She finished ringing me up and handed me my bag.

“Keep the faith. I’ll be praying for you and your daughter.”

I thanked her.

As I drove home her words echoed…

“Keep the faith”

Of course her words were scripture based, and the full verse from 2 Timothy came to mind. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

I breathed it in.

I got home and kissed Tyler.

I smiled.

“Thank you.” I said, “I’m so glad I got out of the house.”

He smiled, “Me too.”

 


Photo credit (top): Jessica Rice Photography

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6 Comments

  • Reply ellerymay July 29, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    thanks for writing. With such vulnerability. It’s refreshing, encouraging, and life lifting. Thanks again for sharing.

  • Reply Eva July 29, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    You had a divine appointment with a cashier. Isn’t god cool?

  • Reply Mike July 29, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    My God bless baby Nora and your whole family. Yes, keep the faith. I pray that the meds work and start slowing the seizures down.
    A friend of Evan Ng.

  • Reply Lisa July 29, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Oh Jess. I am so proud of you. To recognize where you were at so quickly, and come back to your Lord’s loving correction of your heart – it takes many of us moms/wives/women decades to attune to Him calling us back to His position of love: not our rights, but others’ needs. You make my heart smile. (His assurance of love to you through a stranger’s prayers ? – His name is Mercy)

  • Reply Jo Ann July 29, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Jesse, you most certainly have your Aunt’s talent for turning a word so that it goes straight to the heart! As one of your Grandmother’s best friends (like sisters) I have been following your blog. Nancy had proudly distributed emails of Nora, you and Tyler, shortly after her birth. Prayers are a “given”. It’s not possible to look at this adorable little face, all smiles and sparkling eyes…and not keep the faith! For one so little to have experienced something so big and reflect such joy in her interaction with those she trusts and love…I would say she is well on her way to developing and will probably leave her peers in the dust! Jesse, Tyler…I know every story is unique and while I would like to now share a bit of ours, please know, it is not meant to undermine your story; not at all; just the opposite. But sometimes, it helps to hear a story that you can relate to. When our son was five, he had a Grand Mal seizure. He went into a coma and we went through a 24 hour period, not knowing if he would make it. It’s funny the things you remember; I recall looking out the window down at ongoing traffic and saying “How can the world keep moving…when ours just stopped?” I also tried negotiating with God, as in, “Take me; not him”, until a voice inside said, “No; you have two other children who need you” Once I stopped bargaining, a peace and sense of faith settled in. However, we spent six agonizing weeks, taking turns living at Stanford with our little boy. They diagnosed his illness: He had developed Encephalitis/Meningitis. But they couldn’t determine the strain. It was trial and error and all the tests that you already know about. This is the part I want you to hear, please: At first, they were concerned for our son’s mental development and cognitive thought processes. Looking like a poor little waif, the first time they let him walk, an IV, his cane, he wound up his little arm as we walked by the nurses station and one, two three…gave his doctors standing there…a WHACK on the butt! We all smiled with relief, knowing his brain was working just fine! When he was finally released, he was blind in one eye. When he went back for his check up a month later, the doctor said “No way to explain it; it’s a miracle”. He did have one consequence. His hearing had been affected in his left ear…but of course, playing drums most of his life, probably doesn’t help! Steve is 52 now. Recently, he brought a scrap book over to show us. It was one I had compiled of cards, well wishers, prayers…and even a scribbled note from another boy in the hospital who said he had heard about Steve and he was sick too and he hoped they could meet in the game room one day. To us, that book was every bit as important as everything the doctors did. To us, the doctors have the knowledge and the ability to heal….but the prayers of loved ones are the hands that guide them. I’m sorry for the length of this, but I hope it will give you some comfort. It’s not meant to take away from what you are having to experience. It’s meant to reinforce what you already know. There is always hope…if we don’t give up faith! BTW, as your grandmother knows, I was diagnosed with Epilepsy 35 years ago (probably had it before that, but they didn’t diagnose it) I religiously take my seizure medication and I have not had a seizure since 1995. At those rare times when I have this sense of anxiety and wonder if I’m going to have a seizure, I have learned to give my fear to God and trust in my inner strength. I play Bridge and am considered a pretty good player; Play password with our family and cream them every time! Seizures are scary; there’s no denying that! It took me a while, but I eventually learned the only way I could live with them..was to understand, “I don’t live WITH them; I live in SPITE of them! Much love to you and tender pinches on sweet Nora’s face! Your cousin, Jo Ann

  • Reply Christin Willis July 30, 2014 at 10:03 am

    I was able to (barely) hold the tears back as I read this… That is, until that photo of Nora came on the screen. She is so perfect. :’) Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart. Jacob and I have been praying for you guys.

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