Why Target?


I don’t know what it is about Target.

Every time I go to Target alone, I get super emotional. There are moments my body seems to freeze up and time feels as though it is standing still. I walk by the sweet mamas talking to their sweet babies while their cute little legs are dangling out of the cart. My heart is happy for them and hurts at the same time. I think about how grateful I am I was able to take my first three sweet babies to Target. Sam has never been to Target or in any store for that matter. Or I go to the baby food section and the only thing I buy is green beans. I don’t buy anything else because the only thing, besides formula, we pump into Sam’s gj-tube (feeding tube) is green beans. For a moment, I envy the other mamas who are buying other baby food flavors. Stupid, I know. Then I tell myself to buck up and feel grateful for nurses and feeding tubes and life.

Suddenly, it hits me.

I figured it out.

PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder.

Yep, kind of weird, I know, but it’s a thing and it can happen to anyone who’s been through a trauma.

When Sam was “living” in the hospital, I basically lived there too. On the rare occasion I did leave, it was to be with my family or quickly pick-up some toiletries. We lived in twelve different rooms in the seven months Sam was there so I learned to live very sparingly. Guess what store I went to on my rare trips out of the hospital? Yep…you guessed it…Target.

I vividly remember standing in the checkout line at the Target closest to the hospital during an extremely grim time for Sam. I felt like I was the scene in a movie. I looked at the person in front of me, behind me, and everywhere around me wondering what their story was. An overarching question constantly on my mind still to this day…“What’s their story?” I remember failing to fight back tears as I stood in line. I quickly wiped away the small tears as I came closer to the checkout. It didn’t help there was a proud daddy with his little boy who couldn’t have been more than a year old in front of me.

It’s crazy how sounds, smells, and/or certain places can bring back vivid moments in your life. Whether they were moments of peace or fear, they were real to you. It’s those moments of fear that seem to hit us the hardest. Fear can wrap around you so tightly, it can almost feel hard to breath. It can happen even if you haven’t experienced a trauma. I’m guessing we have all had moments like this. When you can stand in faith and know fear is a liar, your happiness can’t be taken. That grip of fear slowly releases and a peace that passes all understanding sets in.

Still almost three years later, I have to fight with myself anytime I step foot in a Target alone. Some days there is more fighting than others, but every time I walk out those sliding glass doors, I choose to smile, remind myself, it could be so much worse, and ponder the MANY things I am grateful for.

7 thoughts on “Why Target?

  1. Hi friend, right there with you. Mine hits when I hear certain songs that I had on repeat during Calvin’s hospitalization. Or driving down certain roads.
    Hang in there. I know you are trusting the Lord, He is enough for both of us for each and every PTSD moment.

  2. This was beautiful. Such an encouragement. I love how you don’t deny these feelings but look for their source and stand up to it, with the Word and the love of God to assist you. It wouldn’t surprise me that someday, as Sam gets stronger and his medical needs become less complicated that the two of you will have the strength and energy to team up and reach multitudes with your encouragement. Continue to stand up for the best life possible. Praying for peaceful nights and precious moments as you continue to navigate toward restoration.

  3. You are a gifted writer, and a fighter for your precious Sam. We thank you for the reminder to keep you all in our prayers, for Sam and your whole family. You are a strong mama and God is Good all the time.

  4. I remember having a similar thought when my daughter was in the NICU. One of the nurses, who were all amazing, said I needed to take a walk outside and breathe some fresh air. As I walked around and saw people laughing and smiling and heard them complaining about traffic or the weather, there was just this cognitive dissonance. What difference did it make if the traffic was bad when your child was teetering in the NICU? Laughter sounded so out of place when we were trying to figure out why she was having trouble breathing. 24 years later and I can still return to that place in my mind and my heart. It leaves a mark.

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