You Don’t get it Until you GET It


“Mom, I don’t think you get it.”  Jenna reminds me of that when I try to push her towards her limits.  She’s right.  While I can sympathize, nurture, and commiserate, I don’t think I’ll ever truly understand the depth to which she has suffered with Lyme.  Lyme started stealing her life before it was even diagnosed, costing her precious time away from school, friends, and fun during her high school years. 

I didn’t realize how hard all of that has been for Jenna until yesterday.  First, one of her former teachers came by her private classroom to check on her.  As we chatted the teacher almost teared up as he told us that he had pegged Jenna as the class valedictorian or at least salutorian way back in her freshman year.  These days, at least until the Lyme is under control, she must have someone read, interpret, and write for her.  The intelligence is still there; we see little peeks now and then when the brain fog lifts.  As a parent it’s hard to watch your child slowly regress (even if you know it’s temporary), but I can’t even begin to imagine how a bubbly motivated 17 year old girl with hopes of being class president must feel when she knows that she can no longer do what used to be so easy for her.  How does anyone soften the blow when your child’s goals of graduating at the top of her class get shattered beyond her control?  It’s easy for me to stand back and tell her that it will be fine, that high school isn’t really that important and that she really isn’t missing anything, but then I had my high school experience (even if it was almost 30 years ago) so what do I really know.  Good and bad, high school influenced my life.

Jenna has missed out on her academic experience but she’s missed the social aspects even more.  The old saying, “Out of sight, Out of mind” really is true.  It really hurts to see her friends moving on and living life to the fullest, without them ever thinking, “Hey, we should invite Jenna to come along.”  As close as we’ve become through this ordeal, I know that hanging out with your mom everyday isn’t exactly a teenager’s dream.  It was so heartbreaking to listen to her talk yesterday about how kids in the hall won’t make eye contact with her, how her friends now treat her like a toddler and talk to her as if she is mentally challenged, and worst of all, how an underclassman decided to use her to get a laugh from his friends. 

I know that God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle, and I truly believe he must have something really great planned for Jenna.  I also know that Jenna is right.  We can all say we understand what she’s going through,  with her Lyme treatment, her school life, her personal life, but without lyme-colored glasses we’ll have to admit…until you get it, you just don’t GET it.

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3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Lyne said,

    High school is such an impressionable time. And kids can be soooo cruel. I know because I was laughed at quite a bit. And to have such high goals and feel that they’re out of reach……well need I say more. Hopefully she can continue her dreams and desires into college.

  2. 3

    Janice said,

    Families of Lyme sufferers endure their own hell…it’s sometimes forgotten or ignored, as sometimes it must be.

    I believe, from the bottom of my soul, that sickness is given to us (even those close to the sufferer) as an opportunity to grow and deepen our faith. With Jenna, she is so sick — I also believe God must have major plans for her because he’s building her faith to an unshakable level, and those around her must also do the hard work of faith-building, so we can stand beside and behind her when it’s time to fulfilli her purpose. She is special.

    Also remember…mothers hold a special place in God’s heart. Especially mothers of sick children.


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