It was Friday and Tyler was sad. You have to know him well to see the sad. He doesn’t speak it (unless you pry of course). He wears it. Usually on his shoulders and heavy on his arms.
I watched him fold his laundry, he moved slowly — taking deep breaths.
We were in the living room, waiting for the intake worker from regional center to arrive at the house.
He was running late.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
He paused, “I’m just sad.”
I sat up. Tyler is so internally driven that it can take a conversational wrestling match to arrive at underlying emotions.
But there it was, in the open air. He was sad.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“No.” he replied.
I slouched back into the couch. “I had a sad day yesterday — I’m sorry you feel sad.”
He continued to fold his laundry. I wished I could lighten his load.
The doorbell rang.
I got up, “do you want to get the door and I’ll settle the baby?”
I heard Tyler welcome our guest, I heard the intake worker’s booming voice as he made his way through the entryway.
He was wearing a tie and smiling.
As he sat with us, he explained his role with regional center, how they serve the community and the opportunities available to Nora. He answered our questions, cooed with Nora, laughed with Tyler and teased me about the leftover craft glitter clinging to our dining room table.
He talked about the brain and about babies like Nora.
“We see a lot of kids with brain abnormalities. Think of it like MapQuest, you type in an address and there are a few different routes to take, some might take longer than others, but they all get to the same place, her brain is still developing, it can find another route.”
He didn’t know it, but he was feeding our souls, serving us hearty portions of hope served with a side of perspective.
“Don’t you let anyone tell you what her future is going to be like, because they don’t know. Unless they can predict the future, but they can’t. Nobody can. If somebody does tell you, you find a new somebody.”
His words were reminiscent of Monty’s words in the Pediatric ICU waiting room. Let me take you back there for just a moment:
Tyler and I walked into the PICU waiting room where our families were waiting. We had just finished talking to our neurologist about Nora’s MRI. We had been crushed with information. We were openly weeping, our families held us. Their hands tightly wrapped themselves around our shoulders and heads. We clung to them as we crumbled.
I don’t know how long we sat, intertwined with our families, but eventually my body filled with breath and my swollen eyes opened. I stared at the speckled white hospital floor. As the dust settled, I heard Monty’s voice- it was strong, clear and at the most precise and perfect decibel.
“Jesse, doctors know things. But God knows all things.”
Oh how comforting his words were, and are. How they remind me of how limited humans are in our ability to know, to predict, to see the future.
Monty knew it, the guy with the tie knew it, and I was just beginning to see it.
The guy with a tie got up to leave, we shook hands and he cooed at Nora.
She smiled through her pacifier.
We saw him to the door and wished him well.
Tyler closed the door and looked at me, eyes twinkling.
“I really needed that.”
“Me too.” I said.
I watched Tyler float down the hallway…
Oh Lord, I prayed, thank you for lightening his load. Thank you for the guy with the tie. Thank you for Monty. Thank you for the great unknown.
Photo credit (top): Jessica Rice Photography