In our appointment room at Texas Scottish Rite. To read part 1, go here. And just so you know I got permission from Jessie's mom to write a post about our meeting.
A couple weeks ago Lamp and I made a visit to the amazing Texas Scottish Rite hospital in Dallas. Part of what made this experience so great was just how smoothly this place runs. It was seamless. As we were led from the main waiting room to a more specific waiting room that's when I saw them... other beautiful limb-different children. After signing in, Lamp and I went to sit down. We just happened to sit across from a pretty mom and her beautiful daughter, Jessie. Of course I sat by them on purpose, let's just get that out on the table. As we sat down, Jessie's mom and I exchanged smiles. Let me tell you, never does a smile communicate so much as when it's between two moms who have walked a similar road. Jessie was born without any arms, except a small nub on her right arm similar to Lamp's left arm. One of her legs is also significantly shorter than the other and she wears a prosthetic to assist in walking. Lamp also has a leg length discrepancy. A conversation was quickly struck up, but within just a couple of minutes we were called back to our room and said goodbye almost as quickly as we said hello.
Lamp and I had our appointment. I talked with the good Dr. and his team. Important, pertinent and good things were discussed. Luckily I had my questions written down--a practice I highly recommend to any newbies out there. That and more paper for taking notes--and we went through my concerns, the up-and-coming events, etc. However I started to feel a little rushed, the Dr. kept saying he had to move along to the next patient. Initially this sounds not so cool--I mean we drove 5 hours and stayed in a hotel overnight--but keep reading, I like this guy remember? The good Dr. said he needed to see the next patient but in the meantime Isn't Jessie here? Let's get Jessie and her mom in here and you guys can talk. I think that's a good idea. I perked up and told them I had already met Jessie and her mom and that I'd love to talk to them some more. A couple minutes later Jessie and her mom came walking through the door.
I didn't know it yet, but this would be the highlight of the entire visit. This is where my thoughts and perspective would completely shift and where a newfound hope would be born. I kid you not, an angel straight from heaven could not have been a more welcome gift than Jessie and her mom.
Fortunately we live in the day and age of the internet. It's a gift to be connected to other people across the map who have children with similar issues. The need to know we're not alone in any human experience is one of the most sought after assurances on the planet. For that, the internet is invaluable. But to meet someone in person, face to face, ask them questions, laugh, and talk, talk, talk. You can't replace that with the fanciest computer in the world.
We talked and talked and laughed and talked. Jessie was the perfect big-girl friend to Lamp. She got right on the floor with Lamp, colored, talked and played with her. She demonstrated how she colored and wrote with her feet. It did not take long for Lamp's shyness to melt away and let me tell you, she was star-struck! Many, many times during that visit Lamp would look up at me and say My friend Jessie! My friend Jessie! As we chatted I pulled out my phone to snap some pictures of the girls doing their thing. At one point I started to take some video because there was just so much happening at once I knew I would want some video of this time spent together.
I can't possibly sum it all up, but here's what I learned from Jessie. She's a happy, well adjusted, social, sweet, pretty and lovely girl. She is bright, self-sufficient and navigates the world around her beautifully. She has a wonderful mom and I can only assume, a wonderful family. As we wrapped up our visit, the good Dr. came back in to check on us a few times. In the end he sat down and made sure all my questions were answered. I like that guy. Jessie's mom and I exchanged information and we said our goodbyes.
As I said in an earlier post, as we left our appointment my eyes got misty with happy tears. The world looked new for my little Lamp. And really, I find that quite amazing since I've always thought she had a good future ahead of her to begin with. It wasn't until later when I watched the video that I saw this little exchange between Jessie and Lamp.
I went from thinking she likes to do some cool things with her feet, to understanding that this could be an integral part of who she is. Because both of her legs are shorter, and different lengths, I had sorta always counted them out as serious tools. Now I know different. Jessie and her mom helped me see so much more than just the fact that Lamp using her feet could be a new way of life. Too much to write here. But in that moment of coloring and passing a marker from one foot to another I feel like there was a connection made for Lamp unlike any she had had before. She saw someone who was like her and it has meant so much to her. Every day since our appointment she has talked about my friend Jessie, my friend Jessie!
Jessie's mom told me that they weren't even supposed to be there that day, it wasn't Jessie's usual appointment time. Well, of course they were supposed to be there that day. The loving yet economical God I know would never send a heavenly angel when there is a more perfect earth angel available for the job.