There Is Hope

Thursday, November 15, 2007 13 Comments A+ a-

She tightened her grip on his tiny hand, trying desperately to calm her nerves. She glanced nervously up and down the street, willing the bus to move faster. After all, the sooner the bus got there, the sooner they’d get to their destination, and the sooner they’d have their answer. The little boy pointed into the air and grunted, trying to get his mother’s attention. “Yes,” she whispered, “that’s a bird.” She curled their fingers together and tapped them against the side of her skirt; she was doing to her best to mask the apprehension she was feeling about this appointment. Just as she was about to ask Jimmy to settle down once more, the bus rounded the corner. She breathed a sigh of relief; never had she been so thankful to see the city bus.

They settled themselves into the seats; her five year old son gazed in wonderment around the big bus. She patted his hand, which was tucked securely under her arm. They were soon on their way across town; heading to an appointment that would answer all of her fears and questions. Along the way, the bus pulled to a stop in front of a red light; across the street was a school yard where children were laughing and running during their morning break. She felt her heart break a little, watching the children play without a care in the world. She looked down at Jimmy, wondering if he understood that he should be one of those kids. “Would he ever be like the other kids?” she wondered. “Has God really given me a handicapped child?” Fear tightened its grip on her heart, she felt as though she was unable to swallow the lump in her throat.

She looked at her son, absolutely perfect on the outside; dark, wavy hair, chocolate brown eyes, and such a happy smile. He was the easiest of her six children; the most laid-back; he was her heart and soul. It wasn’t until he was three years old had the rest of the world started noticing that something wasn’t quite right. Of course, in her mother’s heart, she refused to believe it. But when Jimmy still hadn’t started talking by the time he was four years old, she was forced to admit that something was desperately wrong. She began to notice that in addition to not talking, he stayed mostly to himself; he never interacted with his siblings, only interacting with her. It was as though they had become one person, she was able to anticipate his needs before he was able to point out what he wanted. He was her constant shadow. When fall came around, the fall that he should have been starting kindergarten, she had resigned herself to the fact that Jimmy was special and would never be climbing onto that school bus with his brothers and sisters.

And then one day, a relative suggested that they get Jimmy tested. “It won’t take long,” they offered. “It couldn’t hurt, could it?” She mulled over that question time and time again, did she really want to know? Would the answers hurt more than the unknown? And then as she and Jimmy were both huddled on the kitchen floor, both in tears from the frustration of not understanding each other, her heart breaking that she would never be able to communicate her love for this son, she realized that she needed those answers. Not only for herself but because she owed Jimmy a life, a life outside of the two of them. And so, here they were, on a trek to the Children’s Hospital across town, where doctors were waiting for them.

Upon their arrival nurses whisked her five-year-old away and doctor led her into another room to answer questions. Hours later and numerous visits to the hospital’s chapel while she waited for news, a doctor approached her. She stood on shaky knees, her rosary in hand, determined to face the prognosis head-on. The doctor grasped her gently by the shoulders and looked kindly into her eyes, “There’s hope for your son, Mrs. Sanchez. There is hope.” And with those words, tears trailed down her cheek.

It took three years of speech therapy but Jimmy eventually started talking, carrying conversations, and was soon joining those children on the playground. Decades later, when his third daughter was admitted to the same hospital where he was diagnosed, he walked to that floor. He and his mother did a small tour, he pointed out the rooms he remembered, and shared his memories of that time. They stopped and spoke with the nurses in the Speech department. “Thank you,” he said to them. “Thank you for giving me a life.” She stood there next to him, tears swimming in her eyes. She was once afraid that he would never talk, and now here he was, her Jimmy, a father of four girls, thanking the very nurses and doctors who taught him to speak. All because of a little hope…

I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.

13 comments

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Amy
AUTHOR
3:31 PM delete

Gave me chills, Jenn. Hope is beautiful!

love, Amy

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Liz
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3:55 PM delete

What a beautiful story! I too had chills reading this. Hope can go a long way...praise God!

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Amazing Racer
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5:18 PM delete

Thanks for sharing hope.

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5:39 PM delete

WOw, that was beautifully written! Thank you for sharing this, Jenn!

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Sarah
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10:08 PM delete

Beautiful Jenn, just beautiful! I had no idea your dad went through all that. God can do big things and I'll be praying that hope will always carry you as you mother your uniquely beautiful children through their gifts and struggles. Big hugs to you my friend.
Always,
Sarah

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CPT Mom
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7:11 AM delete

Beautifully written!

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Lange Mom :o)
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5:06 AM delete

I understand!! Jason hardly said a word when he was two. I took him to Colorado State University bi- weekly for his lack of speech to see specialists. His first word was barely audible. But I heard it. I heard him say bi bir. I went out and bought him big bird!!!!! Two words put together. But I understood!! Jenn...sometimes gentics plays a big part in our childrens lives. But don't forget, JP and Jared took speech till 8th grade too.
Wonderfully written about grandma. You are amazing!!!
Auntie Bernie~

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Anonymous
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7:49 AM delete

That was really beautiful Jenn. I don't remember ever hearing that story! One more reason to love your dad... Kamma

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pedro
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8:26 AM delete

Awesome story - I'm still waiting for you to publish your writing!

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Wendy
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12:27 PM delete

Beautiful!

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Anonymous
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5:07 PM delete

Girl, you need to use your talent!!
Beautifully written.
Love
Colleen

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Joy
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7:27 PM delete

Wow what a story! (amazing writing too - you had me on the edge of my seat!)

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Christine
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9:46 PM delete

Ok, so I have to admit that I was skeptical when I heard that you wrote this story from Grandma's point of view. By the time I got to the end I had tears streaming down my face. I'm so glad you had that conversation with Grandma and I'm so glad you wrote this. I never knew that Dad and Grandma went to thank the doctors and nurses. Thanks again for writing this Jenn.

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