I was hoping to at least in some way maybe get Noah back to the track one more time, for any race. It didn't much matter the event. Just to touch our feet again at the track was an itch we just couldn't stop scratching. We tried, oh how we tried. But we'd keep coming back to "I wish." Bandimere put us in touch with a handful of suite owners to inquire with. I hesitated for weeks reaching out to any of them. It isn't as easy as might think to try to open a conversation with... "Hi, I have a severely disabled son, can you help me?" You have to prepare yourself to lock your pride behind a heavy door, squeeze all your emotions inside, and just try...
I tried to draft this simple email. But it's never really simple or easy when you're trying to explain our challenges or our special needs family dynamic to strangers. It isn't so much a fear or rejection as it is a worry on how you'll be received or perceived. Can someone possibly understand through a few sentences that my fingers can write? Can they feel my words? Can they know what my heart aches for? Can they sense my pain and will that scare them away?
I hit the send button and had that feeling like you wanted to bury your head under a pillow and just peak out occasionally to see if there was a response waiting in your inbox. I prepared myself for the crush of zero responses from anyone. When you are a special need parent you tend to always prepare yourself in some way for the bad news in some way, it really becomes a self-preservation tactic. A gentleman by the name of Mike responded quickly. But he wanted me to call him. In my mind I weighed that out thinking he didn't have the heart to let me down gently in an email, and preferred to tell me he sympathized with our unique circumstances but had no season availability to assist gently over the phone. You can be okay with that I coached myself and dialed his number.
Mike answered with the warmest and friendliest voice. A voice that offered comfort and kindness from the moment he picked up the phone. We had a lovely chat about Noah, he shared with me his own life's storm with his dear wife Amy fighting a battle with cancer and invited us to the Jet Car Nationals and wanted to warn me that she'd be wearing a mask not because she was ill but because she was medically fragile herself right now with chemo treatments. He shared with me a bible verse, words I needed to hear. He reminded me that God collected my tears and for the first time in months I didn't feel so alone. I was so excited. I happen to like jet cars just as much as I do nitro fueled. And I was thrilled to have found an opportunity to get Noah back to Bandimere.
The weekend prior to the Jet Nationals we took Noah and Luke to the movie theater to see Cars 3. And Luke caught a germ and by Monday morning he was so sick. Two days later Noah also was sick. I knew there was no way I could take either child near Mike's wife, although it's always been my policy never to expose my children to others when they are sick, as I wish people would offer us that same courtesy. A simple cold can be life threatening for Noah or those who have a medically fragile condition. I sent Mike an email declining his beautiful offer to attend Jet Car Nationals with him. And I thought it was over. I had lost our one and only chance to get back to Bandimere.
Mike's reply was incredible and left me stunned. Not only was he tremendously understanding but he asked us to keep in touch that he might have availability for the Mile High Nationals. I never ever thought that would ever be an option for us. I got the boys well, and I rather confined them to the house for two weeks just to give everyone a fighting chance should Mike still have availability. I hesitated until kind of the last moment. It's so hard, I don't even know how to describe it other than the most humbling experience you could ever imagine when you reach out to someone you don't know and ask for their help.
Mike as warm and tender as he was the first time said he had been waiting to hear from me and offered us tickets so that we all could go and I could bring Noah's grandma and grandpa for an extra helping hand. However, Mike explained he would be missing the Mile High Nationals for the first time in twenty years due to his wife's illness. It broke my heart as I know what that feeling is like. I know what it is like to put your dream and love on hold because the storm of your life has rolled in. It's not an easy pill to swallow, it crushes your spirit and almost feels like someone is stealing the breath out of your lungs. During his family's own medical hardship, Mike still offered so much love and understanding.
In the middle of Mike's incredible offer of access to his suite for the event, HopeKids extended an opportunity to Noah to attend the races by way of invitation from Racer's For Christ - Win Light Kids. It was kind of a pinch me moment. They said we'd get to take a tour and meet the racers. We were super excited. It was like God said okay this a dream you have? Well let me just put the icing on the cake for you. We now had the ability to shelter Noah since he can't regulate body temperature and assist him with his sensory challenges and bonus he'd get to meet some of the driver's and hang out with them. Everything lined up just as if it were meant to be.
Walking through the track gates with Noah was a surreal moment. Chris and I looked at each other in disbelief that we are at the Mile High Nationals... with Noah. I was 18 weeks pregnant with Noah the last time he technically was there. Everyone at Bandimere was certain I was having a boy even though I was convinced I'd was having a girl. They predicted it correctly - just as they predicted he'd be our little racing buddy. Noah received such an honor when our story about taking him to the Chevy races was published in Bandimere's 2017 Fan Guide. We hadn't been walking more than a few feet when people started stopping us asking if this was the Noah they read about in the fan guide. Noah beamed with proudly, he needed no verbal words to display how happy he was that people recognized him and wanted to talk to him and meet him. He soaked up all the attention in the most adorable way.
Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.