It was the strangest request she had ever heard in her life.
Every part of her wanted to stay. But she wasn’t the one wearing the white coat and holding her daughter’s future in her hands. Still, as she fidgeted in the waiting room, she couldn’t help but wonder what the big secret was.
Life had been hard for Jennifer Harris.
A nasty divorce had upended her life and moving across the country to California ended up far more stressful than she had imagined. However, this was nothing compared to what her daughter, Angela was going through. Her little trooper was fighting the biggest battle of her life – and she was only 5 years old.
Leukemia was a word that would make anyone flinch in sympathetic pain.
But unless they had gone through it themselves or known someone who had been dealt such a difficult hand, they would never know just how truly devastating this illness could be. So, it was a huge shock to her family when she told them she was going to whisk Angela out of her current hospital.
Jennifer had a job offer she couldn’t pass up.
There would be no more scrimping and scrounging for pennies and dimes. But the best part was the health insurance. The medical bills wouldn’t continue to drown them into bankruptcy and the stellar reputation of the children’s hospital gave her renewed hope … at least for now.
By the time they arrived at their first appointment, the ball of worry in her stomach made her feel like she would be sick.
It wasn’t until the doctor arrived did the mood change. The tall, handsome oncologist came in with a bright, sparking smile. The rest of the appointment unfolded as expected – that was until the very end when he asked Jennifer to leave the room.
No doctor had ever asked her this before.
Why was she supposed to leave? This was crazy. Jennifer had been at her daughter’s side every single step of the way. There was no way she was going to walk out of the room. The doctor however was adamant. Jennifer begrudgingly agreed. She waited in the lobby; her mind drowned in confusion. It only got worse when Angela finally appeared.
Normally, her little girl would come out looking drained and with the persistent hint of sadness.
But now there was a strange look plastered across her face. She looked at her little feet with intense concentration – her eyes darting back and forth and her tiny hands twitching like she was hooked up to a battery.
Jennifer demanded to know what was going on.
But the doctor just smiled and said, “She’s a strong young lady. You don’t have to worry, mom.” Everyone in the room seemed to be okay with this. But what had he said? What was going on? Her momma bear instincts kicked in and she hatched a plan.
It was simple. She hid a camera near her daughter and then left the room as the doctor asked her to leave at the end of the appointment again.
By the time she got her hands on the footage, she felt like she was breathing fire. But what she saw next made her jaw drop.
The handsome doctor talked with Angela a few minutes.
His persistent, bright smile never waivered. Then, he reached for his phone and tapped the screen. There, right in the middle of the room, scrubs and all, he started dancing. Jennifer shook her head in surprise. The biggest shock of all was her girl’s reaction.
The movements were small, but clear.
Jennifer was trying to move like the doctor. She flicked her hands as he did and slid her feet back and forth as he did a perfect moon walk. The smile that grew across her face made Jennifer want to break down and cry. Suddenly, a nurse came up and patted her on the shoulder.
Jennifer wanted nothing more than her daughter to be happy and healthy.
She did everything she could to raise their spirits, but in truth, she was just as burnt out as Angela. The nurse smiled as she watched the video. “Oh, I love that one,” she said, pointing as he did an impressive spin. It turns out, the doctor had secret weapon.
He knew firsthand how parents couldn’t always muster the strength to be bubbly and cheerful every single moment of every day.
He knew appointments were tough. So, he would, without fail, block out a little time at the end of each visit to have a moment of levity – just him and the patient. Jennifer burst in to tears as he appeared in the waiting room.
It might not seem like much to outside eyes. But his actions meant the world.
It was no secret that a positive attitude, including laughter, was vital to recovery. Jennifer felt a swell of gratitude as she saw a tiny smile on Angel’s face. She thanked him over and over again. But once again, he actions surprised her.
“No worries, mom,” he said with such humility.
They talked for a while, about his attitudes toward recovery and the fight against cancer. All the while, Angela slowly tried to mimic that day’s dance. The life seemed to pour out of her like never before. There was no doubt they would win this battle!