picking up from where I left off on “Take Chances” …….
It wasn’t until we reached the orientation that I realized the extent of her limitations. Her IV was in her right arm and she struggled to do even the simplest things, like signing herself in. The drugs from her infusion were still in her system and if you new her, you could tell by the way she talked. Overall, things seemed to be going well until the room of girls were told that the personal interviews to determine who would compete would be happening right then and there. Mariah was panicked. When it was her turn, she quietly left but smiled at us as she walked away.
She held her composure until everything was over and we were in the safety of the car. By the time we reached home, she was in tears.
“I blew it. I blew my chances. I couldn’t speak right. I felt funny and kept stumbling over my own words. My mouth got really dry and my voice kept cutting out. It was embarrassing. I sounded horrible and there’s no way in the world that I’m going to make it.”
It was at this moment that I started to question my own judgement. Maybe this wasn’t the right thing. Maybe this is just too much for her.
I tried my best to calm her down. It just wasn’t working. I watched her eyes get all red and puffy and even though it was probably best to just let it go, I couldn’t help but wonder what it was they asked her. I had to know.
“They asked me a few things. They said that if I were chosen I would have to chose a charity or foundation to represent. They wanted to know what I would choose and why. I told them I would chose the Cure 4 the Kids Foundation because I’m a Celiac Disease patient at the Children’s specialty center. They have done so much to help me and I would do anything to bring awareness and repay the favor. Kids shouldn’t have to go through the things I’ve been through…..Then they asked me to explain why I want to be the next Miss Nevada Junior Teen. I told them that I’ve had to overcome many obstacles because of my medical issues and I wanted to show other kids that they don’t need to give up on their dreams because sometimes, life just happens.”
It was at that exact moment that I learned some valuable lessons. First, I learned that they actual listen. Something I said actually impacted my child and the way that she viewed a situation. Something I said made her think about herself and the type of person she wanted to be.
Second, I love the person that my daughter has become. We all love our children, there is no denying that. To love your child and to genuinely like the person they became, are two completely different things. She has never complained or tried to use her medical issues as an excuse. Instead, she has used them as a tool to educate people.
Third, my daughter is braver than I am and ten times braver than I ever gave her credit for. She didn’t say “I” shouldn’t have to go through things like this, but said “KIDS” shouldn’t have to go through the things she’s been through. She thinks about others at times when most adults would be selfish.
And so, all I could do at that moment was hug her, tell her I love her and that I was proud of her. Things happen for a reason.
It was a few days later when I got a phone call. Mariah was chosen as a Miss Nevada Junior Teen State Finalist and had made the news!
Mariah was so proud of herself and I didn’t blame her. She swore she would wear her sash everywhere she went!
She received a call from the Cure 4 The Kids Foundation who wanted to set up an interview so they could share her story. She was really excited until the cameras showed up. She panicked, froze and began to cry. The cameras made her nervous, which we still haven’t been able to figure out, but she regained her composure and completed all parts of her interview as agreed. She did a wonderful job, don’t you think?
Things have started moving pretty fast since then. She picked her younger brother to be her escort on stage during the pageant. Considering how close they are, this didn’t surprise us in the least. We are taking her to find her gown and his suit this coming weekend.
She created a page dedicated to her journey in this pageant. Please take a moment to check it out – Mariah’s Pageant Journey
But somehow in the midst of all the excitement comes reality. The reality of a Celiac Disease specialist that moved out of state without giving us notice and leaving her without a doctor. The reality of a new gastroenterologist (thanks to a referral from the Children’s Specialty Center where she gets her infusions) that believes she may have either been misdiagnosed or has developed yet another digestive auto-immune disorder. The reality of her having to deal with finishing school and having to go in for testing all at the same time. The reality of an upcoming colonoscopy, endoscopy, and intestinal biopsy, all before we even make it to pageant weekend. The reality of a failing thyroid and an increase in medication that is triple the dose she was taking. And finally, the reality of possible adrenal gland and pituitary issues that we are still waiting on more testing for.
Is Mariah going to let any of this take away from what she has accomplished? I think not!
I hope you enjoyed meeting Mariah.