The Key to Stardom

 

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I apologize for the lack of recent updates, but typically no news means good news. The Taylor Family is immensely enjoying every minute of their summer so far. Camp time, grandparent time, and vacation time are all in order which means we basically get to experience a NORMAL summer. God bless.

Unfortunately, Rebecca’s body did not respond to the last transfusion she had in April. We are headed back to the hospital today for another transfusion with higher amounts of iron (more than 3 times the previous amount), in the hopes that her serious anemic issues will finally resolve. Rebecca’s adrenal levels have been off as well which complicates our treatment plan, but hopefully by fixing one issue, the other will automatically resolve itself.

Prayers are appreciated for Rebecca’s adrenal levels to stabilize during the transfusion and for her body to accept the treatment well. Thank you for your steadfastness.

Rebecca just finished her first year of middle school (otherwise known as junior high for you old-timers like me). Her weeks consisted not only of the challenge involved with attending a highly academic school, but fitting in as best as possible with her particular limitations. Limitations which include balancing a considerable amount of absence due to a lack of endurance and unpredictable hospital stays, plummeting sugar and energy levels, medication maintenance, and the inability to participate in any form of sport or after-school social activity. Living off of narcotics that promote attention deficiency issues is sub-optimal as well.

None of this, of course, addresses the emotional ramifications of entering some of the hardest sociable years with less-than-perfect (more like massive) scars spread across her body that distinguish Rebecca from the throngs of unblemished teenagers.

It would seem this combination of negatives would be a difficult, if not impossible, transition for a seventh grader who skipped the ENTIRE grade previous.

But not for Rebecca.

At NO point did this child cry foul or complain at the unfairness of her situation.

In fact, Rebecca thrived. She soaked up every moment of school – it was a gift not to be taken without an extraordinary amount of gratitude.

We received an email from Rebecca’s Dean of Education stating that when he asked Rebecca how she was doing her response was always, “Awesome!” But what especially struck him was the look of reverence and gratitude that accompanied her response. He wished to “inoculate” the other students with that same level of enthusiasm.

By contrast, I reflected on my own junior high experience – a far cry from my daughter’s blessed perspective:

The most unfair circumstance my life had encountered at that particular time was when my mother REFUSED to buy me a pair of Guess jeans. I begged, I pleaded, I explained how she was killing my up-and-coming social status – but she did not care.

She insisted it was ludicrous to spend so much money on a regular pair of jeans simply for the triangle logo on the butt. I insisted she was ruining my life.

Again – she did not care.

In seventh grade, God sent me a sure sign that He loved me in the form of hand-me-downs. It was a genuine, although slightly worn, pair of Guess jeans from my older and super-cool neighbor who was more than happy to replace her worn pair with a not-so-worn pair. And being charitable to an underprivileged girl who happened to live next door was the surest form of her receiving that coveted new pair.

Regardless of my neighbor’s self-benefitting reasoning, I now realized my dream. And since my mother had not paid for this pricey triangular key to popularity – she could not thwart my plans for junior high stardom.

I wore my magic-making jeans EVERY DAY. That’s right, I wore those slightly-worn jeans that stayed perpetually dirty even if I was so unfortunate as to spill something on them on Monday because I knew I would not stop wearing them until the weekend when that said spill could be removed -EVERY DAY.
I continued to wear them when they no longer could be considered jeans and were really a version of ‘cropped’ pants far before anyone knew what ‘cropped’ pants were. I continued to wear them when my belly grew too large and in my struggle to tuck it back under my button, my zipper ripped open. And any red-blooded girl who has gained a few pounds in their life knows that is a real thing. Bless.

But I knew if I told the mother who was determined to kill my social status – she would make me hand those jeans down to my sister and to be honest, my sister needed no help with her social status, so me owning the jeans was really leveling the playing field.

And I was all about fair.

So in order to stay in the game, I devised a unique twofold system. The first involved untucking the front portion of my shirt so it would hang over my ripped-open zipper in order to avoid the masses catching a glimpse of my brightly colored floral underwear which might be equal on the scale to my mother in damaging my highly esteemed reputation.

The second involved tucking-in the back portion of my shirt so that everyone was still able to clearly view my backside – or more importantly – the geometric shape upon that backside. This system worked quite well until the triangle itself hung by a thread and then – horror beyond horror – fell off. And in that fleeting moment of time, my mystical pants became nothing other than a now damaged, now too-small, now very-worn pair of regular croppy-like jeans.

Translation: sub-optimal in the world of fashion.

My popularity and status now rested firmly in the hands of my own awkward junior-high personality.

I was doomed.

As I walked timidly into school the next day in a plain pocketed pair of jeans, something short of magic happened.

People still liked me.

They liked me in my super-hip jeans. They liked me in my super ridiculous Christyn Russell fashion statement jeans. And they liked me in my plain old JC Penney jeans I wore as a follow-up.

My friends, my TRUE friends, liked me regardless of what I wore. They liked me for simply being me.

I asked my mother years later why she never caved – my parents certainly had the money, and surely it would have been easier to buy me ten pair of expensive jeans rather than listen to my excessive whining – but my mother responded with a knowing smile. She told me she never wanted my self-concept to rest on a label.

SHE WANTED IT TO REST IN MY SOUL.

Regardless of what I wore, it was imperative I realize, deep down, that I was good enough – JUST THE WAY I WAS.

Even if I wasn’t wearing a triangle on my butt.

Rebecca has grasped the concept of being good enough JUST THE WAY SHE IS, without the embarrassing display of vanity I went through. She teaches me the importance of accepting who God made us to be without the trappings this world has to offer. I am grateful to have had a mother and now a daughter to reinforce that very important message deep in my soul.

The unexpected miracle of my hand-me-down pair of Guess Jeans.

Thank you Lord.

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7.

Love to each and every one of you,

Christyn

 

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