Monday, August 6, 2012

It's okay to ask

It's been happening more often.  That question.  It's asked by very innocent, well-meaning strangers.  I appreciate the fact they are just making conversation or even worried about the baby they see in front of them.  I really do.  I just don't know how to answer them without causing some amount of heartache for the questioner.

If you're kind enough to still be reading, you're probably wondering what in the world I'm talking about.  The question.  Or maybe I should say those questions.  The point is that I don't always know how to answer properly.

The questions are "Has your baby been eating a popsicle?" "Is your son okay?  His lips are blue."  "Do you need any help?"  We've expressed before that we are so grateful for the concern and support all of you show us in many ways.  We're also grateful for the concern of strangers, but I just don't know how to handle their concern.

For example, the other night the four of us took my mom to Red Lobster as an early birthday dinner.  Eli is unable to sit through any meal (home or restaurant).  You'd think he was a busy toddler or something.  He & I left the table to go for a walk.  It was very crowded that night and hot outside so I took him to the ladies room.  There was room to walk and girls to flirt with....let's face it, that's all he thinks he needs in life.  One lady was talking to him (yes, he was answering some of her questions) and she asked him if his belly was full.  He nodded yes.  Then she asked him if he ate something blue because his lips were so blue.  I would've just "ignored" the question, but she was looking directly at me and asked again, "did he eat something blue?"  I simply said, "No, he has heart problems and his lips are often blue."

Immediately her face fell and she started apologizing.  I assured her I wasn't upset and thanked her for her concern.  I know why strangers apologize in this situation, I probably would too, but it's still kind of funny to me.  It's not like she caused Eli's defects or has blocked us from receiving wonderful medical care or anything.  It's just a lack of knowing what to say when told the beautiful baby you've been conversing with in a Red Lobster ladies room has such hardships.  It's an apology that, through no one's fault, the same beautiful baby and his (equally beautiful) family have to endure such a tough situation.

Sometimes people will ask more detailed questions and I'm happy to answer them.  Sometimes people leave it at that and the conversation ends.  Sometimes (most often) they ask one more question, "Is he going to be okay?"  Another fully loaded question that really can't be answered honestly without some explanation they're probably not ready to hear.  Usually if we're asked "is he going to be okay?" I'll simply say, "He's doing well for now and we've got a lot of people praying for us."

Again, I love the questions.  Knowledge is power.  It doesn't upset me to talk about it.  I just don't know how much a stranger wants to hear, even though they're asking the questions.  You can see on their faces how much they're encouraging me to say that, yes, it's been tough, but he's healed and will live a very active life until he passes at a ripe old age.  But I can't do that.  I hate to disappoint them, but the truth is the truth.  In my mind the most positive thing that comes from the occasional question from a stranger is that more prayers might be offered up for Eli and other kids like him.


  1. Hi Jessica! I wanted to first thank you so much for sharing your story at Queen of Hearts. Second, I wanted to say that I think you handle these questions and concerned looks the best way possible. Because the concerned looks and questions will keep coming..some months you get hardly any bites with the questions and concerned looks.. but then sometimes you get them a lot more. It's weird how that happens. I know exactly how you feel. You can't make the answer any more positive but you also feel like you're being a Debbie Downer. Truth is, I think most strangers feel genuine concern and immediate care about Eli. Which thankfully, is awesome. The other day, I was in line at the store behind a couple and their newborn baby girl. She was hooked up to a feeding tube and oxygen and I wanted badly to ask them if she was ok.. or "why"? but I am a wimp. Being the "stranger" you don't how the parent is going to answer. lol But anyway..I've rambled.. but again thank you for sharing. I'll be sure to keep my prayers and good healthy vibes headed your way! Also, I'll add your blog to my blog list if that's ok? Heart hugs..

    1. Yes, please feel free to share our blog on your list. I'm so glad I came across your blog (in one of my late night internet prowling sessions!). Thanks for the comment and prayers! Good luck with the Queen starting school :)

  2. Oh If I had a dollar for every time people make the "popsicle" comment! You're answering them perfectly, and you should never worry about being a downer... most people do genuinely care and it's a small opportunity to share Eli's story! I sat by a man on a plane a couple months ago and somehow ended up telling him all about Caleb. He genuinely wanted to know, and told me he was going to be praying. When I got up to exit the plane, the people in the row in front of me stopped me and said they weren't trying to eavesdrop, but they had listened to my story and were committed to praying for Caleb. Never feel bad about telling the truth, it could be a way to add another prayer to the pile! You're an amazing mom and someday Eli and Zachary will know how blessed they are.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! You're a pretty amazing momma yourself!!!! Don't forget to give yourself the credit you deserve :) I LOVE sharing Eli's story, but of course I wish we didn't have such a story. I completely agree about it adding to the prayer pile. We'll always take more prayers. Hope Caleb & Jonah are doing well. Your family definitely continues to be in our prayers! I am so glad we met each other.