Thursday November 7, 2013

I had an experience this week that really threw me for a loop.  I've been debating for two days whether or not to share it.  I asked Erin whether she thought I should blog about it and she said, "Mom, there's no downside."  So, here goes...

Tuesday was a gloomy day around here, so I spent it cleaning out some closets.  I found my old letter jacket and Dan's old Twins bat boy stuff.  Those things made the cut.  The bowling trophy of mine from 1978... well, I was finally able to part with that one.

I'm a bit of a saver and I have always kept things for the girls that they might want to one day show to their own kids.  Damn.  Anyway, one pile of things was a stack of schoolwork - some of Erin's and some of Shannon's - that I had set aside, intending to pick out a few items to keep for each girl.

As I picked the pile up, a binder of Shannon's fell to the ground and the three rings snapped open.  Out popped one sheet of paper.  It was an alphabet project where they had to come up with a vocabulary word for each letter of the alphabet.

The page that fell out was the letter D.

There, in her handwriting, in her favorite color, was the word that Shannon chose:  Determined.

Mind you, this was done in 5th or 6th grade, long before her diagnosis.  Why did she chose that word?   Why did that page fall our for me to see?  Why was that page done in that color?

I was in the process of just throwing that whole binder away and I would never have seen that page if I hadn't dropped it.

I hesitated to share this story because I don't want any of you to think that I'm going off the deep end or looking for meaning in scraps of paper.  That's not how I view the world.  For better or for worse, I usually need it to make sense to believe it.  I'm still the same old concrete-sequential Jen that you know and love :)

But, I have no choice but to believe that Shannon wanted me to see that.  She wanted to remind me that when I struggle, I need to persevere.  Stay determined.  Something bigger than myself is telling me to keep going.  Keep sharing, keep working, keep trying to make a difference.  Some days it's so hard, but it's what I have to do.

When we were working on the book, we spent a long time coming up with the title.  If we ever doubted whether we chose the right one, there's no question now.  Shannon had picked it out herself.