A few months ago, one of the moms at Ada’s preschool asked if we wanted to drop in on her daughter’s “bring-a-friend” night at dance class.
So I packed the kids up and Ada and her new friend skipped into class while we waited out in the parking lot. This particular dance studio didn’t allow parents in, so I waited outside in the car with Mya and Jacob. The mom and I chatted as the late summer sun waned around us. She’s an older mother than me-in her late forties and she and her husband had adopted their daughter.
Somehow, we started discussing her daughter’s adoption and I asked how she had come to the decision to adopt.
She stared blankly at me for a minute.
“Oh, well, it was because of Casey. I told you about Casey, didn’t I?” she said, suddenly blinking rapidly.
I kicked the gravel at my feet, a sinking feeling starting in my stomach.
“No, I don’t think so…” I replied.
“Oh,” she said. “Well, we had a daughter who died.”
I looked up at her, shocked but somehow knowing what had been coming at the same time.
“She had an extremely rare disease,” she continued. “The doctors didn’t believe me when I said something was wrong,” she said, shaking her head ruefully. “But I just knew something wasn’t right. She was two when she passed. We were able to bring her home right for the end.”
We watched Mya, my two-year-old, scamper at our feet, running back and forth in the grass for a minute, both of our eyes filling up with tears.
From the outside, you would never know. This mom looked like any typical small-town soccer mom. The mom jeans, and sweatshirts, the fluffy mom hair cut, the bright-red minivan.
And yet, she has been to hell and back. A misdiagnosis, dismissed by doctors, watching her child suffer without knowing why.
I think about them now. The mom looking polished and put together at the store. The family in church. The neighbor down the road. It amazes me what we think we know about people.
And how much we really don’t.