Dear Jo: Absence Seizures

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June 9, 3 years A.B. (after-baby)

Dear Jo,

You shouldn’t have Googled it. You know better than to do that, but after what Emily said, you knew you couldn’t ignore it anymore. Not that you were necessarily ignoring it at all. You were just wishing and praying it away.

Dear Jo: Absence Seizures

It had all started as an innocent enough day. Actually it started as an unexpectedly beautiful day, full of sun and warmth. You saw Emily from the backyard as Emerson was swinging. After you got the small talk about the weather out of the way, she said the most beautiful words:

“Why doesn’t Emerson come over to play?”

Lyla was sleeping at the time, so that would actually give you a few minutes to yourself. You tried not to get too excited and overestimate exactly how much time you could possibly, maybe have to yourself. You also tried not to throw Emerson over the fence and then dart into the house with too much glee. You nearly teared up as you thanked her for a moment’s reprieve.

You didn’t skip into the house even though you wanted to. Arnold greeted you at the door, weaving through your legs as you attempted to walk into the kitchen. You gave him a few quick pets, but then quickly moved on to more important business: a shower. Lyla was still sleeping after you were dressed, so you did something you hadn’t done in ages, well, other than on Sunday mornings: you dried your hair. You wondered if the sound of the hair dryer would reach her and wake her. You risked it anyway. After that, you grabbed a book, sat down on the couch and began to read. No, it wasn’t a picture book. It was an actual novel. Sure, it’s the one you’ve been working on since before Lyla was born, but today you made progress. A couple of pages before dozing off is progress, right?

You had a few moments alone with Lyla before Emily brought Emerson home for lunch. Lyla had just finished up nursing (again) when you heard the tap on the door.

“Sorry, I didn’t want to ring the doorbell in case Lyla was sleeping.”

Emily gets it. You wish the UPS driver also got it.

“How did it go?” you asked.

“The boys had a good time playing together. I gave them some masking tape and they created a track on the floor then raced Hotwheels along it.”

That sounds about like Emerson.

“I hope you don’t mind,” she continued, “But I did give the boys a little snack. You know, the usual: goldfish.”

“Oh, that’s fine. Thanks.”

You thought the recap was over, but then she went on.

“Listen, something kind of strange happened.” Your heart stopped. “The boys were doing great. They were sitting at the table eating a snack and we were talking. Emerson was telling about his Thomas the Trains and then he just stopped.”

Your heart sank a little deeper.

She continued, “It was just kind of…I don’t know…strange. He looked off at nothing for a while. Then he shook his head and started eating his fish again like nothing happened. Maybe it was nothing….”

That’s the statement you’ve told yourself too many times.

“Yeah, maybe.”

“Have you seen him do it before?”

“A few times.”

“Oh. Well. Hopefully it’s nothing, but I just wanted to mention it. Hey, Joel! It’s time to thank Emerson for coming over to play. We need to get home for lunch.”

The conversation repeated in the background as you went through the motions of the rest of the day. But as you rocked Lyla to sleep that night, you pulled out your phone, you opened Google and you found it.

The thing is, he’s such a smart kid. Yes, he’s your kid (and what parent doesn’t say that?), but really he is. You don’t want to have expectations on him. You want him to be him, to develop into his own little person without you and Paul projecting onto him or living vicariously through him. But you see the way his little brain works. You can already see the budding scientist or maybe it’s an engineer or a doctor. You see those seeds.

But now there’s this. And you wonder if it will choke out those seeds.

You thought you had an idea of what was going on, but it was the video of a little kid doing exactly what you’ve seen Emerson do that confirmed it all. You couldn’t just wish it away anymore. It had a name: absence seizures.

As you turned off your phone and continued to rock Lyla, the room darkened. You couldn’t sing her favorite song to her. The tears, the reality and the questions of “what now” and “what if” just wouldn’t permit a lullaby tonight.

Dear Jo: A {fictional} Diary of a Modern Mom

“Dear Jo: A Diary of a Modern Mom” is a serial fiction story written by Meagan Church. Stay tuned for the next diary entry of one mom’s attempt to chronicle what she has been told are the days she shouldn’t forget…spit-up, tantrums, milestones and all. Visit the Dear Jo page to catch up on the already-published entries. And, be sure to subscribe today, so you don’t miss a single installment:


Have you download my free eBook “Motherhood Doesn’t Come with Sick Days…and other lessons from parenting”? Also, be sure to join the Unexpectant Facebook community today.

Motherhood Doesn't Come with Sick Days

{Photo credit: ©Meagan Church}

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