"Stories we Tell" -- Chapters 50-52 up - STORY FINISHED

Disclaimer: this is a fictional piece. Any apparent similarity to a person living or dead is coincidence. This work is the property of the author “StoryWriter” and has been posted here for your enjoyment. Do not re-post, copy, download, or steal this work without the express written consent of the author.


Chapter 1 – [August 2001]

As the sun rose on 22nd Avenue, dew clung to the uncut grass behind the weather-beaten picket fence. The morning fog from Puget Sound had just about burned off in anticipation of the warm August day although a chill remained in the moist air. The small 3-bedroom house nestled in the overgrown yard would have been quite modest in almost any other part of the country. But in Ballard, a quiet north-Seattle neighborhood, it was a significant real estate investment.

On Sunday mornings in this part of the country, the streets and sidewalks bustle with activity. Rather than attending church services as they might in other regions, most people are out and about: shopping, walking pets, enjoying the great Northwest outdoors, and expansive art scene. On a gorgeous August day like this would be – there was no reason to be cooped up inside.

Yet that’s where she was. In the small front bedroom of their 1650sqft ranch style home, she sat at a small desk behind a Compaq branded computer monitor. Her fingers danced rhythmically on the keyboard – unswervingly dedicated to their task. The room was quiet. Dark. Cool but not cold. Glancing up outside, she could see the long shadows still cast by the house onto the street in front of her as the sun rose behind. Pillows and a couple stuffed animals lined her single bed in the corner, clothes littered her floor, a pile of rather heavy looking library books (seemingly too thick for a girl her age) laid next to the bed, and a lone poster of a young Harry Potter hung on her beige wall.

A door slammed elsewhere in the house.

Jordan heard the family’s maroon Chrysler minivan parked in the alley start up and drive away quickly. “Nice,” she whispered barely audibly, “No church then?”

A twinge of sadness emanated from her gut as she thought about his promise to spend time with her that afternoon after lunch. Shopping for clothes wasn’t her favorite activity in general and particularly over the past few months, but time alone with Dad was always welcome – especially given his recent work schedule.

I guess that’s off too, she thought.

Returning to her writing, she waited for her mother’s knock.


Ted Reynolds was pissed. His '92 Town and Country wasn’t made for the driving he was putting it through – but this rage had to get out.

Why can’t she respect what I’m trying to do!?!? It’s not like I WANT to go in to work today – but if we’re going to keep this thing going in the right direction this is what has to happen!!! This is the cost!! What does she wanna see? …Me fail? …Me crash and burn again? FUCK!!!

He careened south through traffic toward the Ballard Bridge and downtown Seattle. Cutting off a Volvo, he heard the sound of tires screeching and horn blaring; this jarred him into slightly more thoughtful inner dialogue.

The truth was that he loved his career at the shelter. It was not only his life’s work but his dream: to do something for those who were on their last leg, to restore lives, to give hope, to systematically address the underlying causes of homelessness and poverty. It’s not that kids and a family were unimportant to him – he wanted to be a good dad and husband. And he truly wanted his family to learn to be a part of his work, a part of his mission, a part of his world.

Thinking about his daughter Jordan he felt guilty – I DID promise her I’d go shopping today…and I canceled on her last Sunday too for that golf meeting. I’ve gotta be a good leader at the shelter though; I’ve gotta do the right thing; I’ve gotta lead by example. This might be my only shot.

As lead executive of Hope Seattle, Ted typically didn’t go into work on Sundays but the project coordinator Melissa had called him early that morning upset and complaining that she had been left high and dry. A group of out-of-town volunteers were supposed to have set up the facility for the non-profit’s biannual fundraising Auction Gala that evening; they cancelled last minute. Alone to do the grunt work herself, Melissa was not only frustrated but also doubtful of her ability to get it done in time.

When the S.O.S. call came shortly after 7:30am, Mrs. Reynolds begged Ted not to go in. She reasoned that some of the other staff members could go in to help. She reminded him of his commitment to their daughter. She pointed out that he had already put in 70 hours that week. She even reluctantly brought up the fact that if he went in, this would be the second Sunday in a row he’d miss church.

“What kind of example are you setting for our girls Ted? Even as the CEO of Hope?”, she had said.

That had done it. He had stormed out, slammed the door and was off to the races.

As Ted picked his way through Belltown, he thought about the kind of boss he longed to be – a servant leader, dedicated, sold out to the cause, and willing to do anything it takes. Sally, his wife, preferred him to be mediocre – to be lukewarm for his calling so he could be a little warmer for his family. She just didn’t value the kind of dedication and leadership he offered the company and the world – she didn’t see the difference he was making.

Melissa did however.


Jen was crying. Startled from her sleep when the door slammed, she became wide-awake, wide eyed, and agitated immediately. The toddler had climbed out of her crib in the south end of the house and come running to Sally’s room looking for consolation with mixed results. Mom felt almost as anxious as the baby. Crawling into bed Jen snuggled up with her mom who was trying to wipe her red puffy eyes and cheeks.

“Good morning sweetie. Did you sleep good?”

“Maaaw….aaaaaaah…mmmmm….”, in whimpers was about all she got out.

“I know baby, I’m upset too.”

Moments later the five-year-old Mindi ambled around the corner of Sally’s bedroom door as well. The two youngest girls shared the room at the end of the hall and although Mindi hadn’t been startled by the early morning marital conversation, her sister’s crying did the job. “Mom, I’m hungry!” she moaned as she crawled up into bed.

“Ok honey just give me a few minutes.”

“But moooom! I’m Huuungry!”

The baby continued whining and squawking as well.

“Listen Mindi, you need to wait.”

She began to pout with audible ‘phrumphs’ and exaggerated movements flopping here and there on the bed. It was during this writhing stage that Sally realized she hadn’t changed out of her nighttime pull-up. Like many kids her age, Mindi still had bedwetting problems. The doctor had said it was normal but mom, who had studied Psychology as well as Business in college, did some of her own research on the subject and suspected the stress in their home was contributing. The Reynolds’ managed it matter-of-factly like thousands of families around the country do: disposable underpants.

Over the past few months, the home policy had been that Mindi was to change out of her sleepwear first thing in the morning instead of waiting until after breakfast or ‘whenever’. “No one wants to smell your pee”, Mom had said. It was about all Sally could do to manage one kid in diapers and Mindi caring for her own bedwetting needs was one less thing on her plate – God knew that Mr. Reynolds wasn’t changing many diapers.

“Mindi, why are you still in your pull-up?”

“Mooom! I forgoooot! And I’m sooooo hungry!!”

“You’ve been doing so well at this honey – remember? First thing in the morning. Pull-up off. Panties on.”

She started to a fake moaning cry with no movement toward to bathroom. Jen was starting to squawk and talk, trying to shift attention to her. This can’t be my life, Sally thought.

“Go. Now.” Sally said sternly.

Still no movement was noticeable (except the toddler who shifted strategies to bouncing on Sally’s shoulder begging and face). Why does everything have to be a test of willpower?

“Jordaaaaaan!!”, This is gonna be a long day, she thought, “Please get up and come help me!!”


Jordan’s story was about a pair of astronauts exploring Mars in the flesh for the first time in the history of humanity. The two were father and son. Of course the setting was many decades beyond 2001 and the story was full of descriptions of high tech devices, complications, emergency procedures, and dialogue between father and son about back home. Most interestingly, a complex alien civilization lived just under the surface of the red planet, which proved to be both friendly and curious in the strange visitors from above. This wasn’t Jordan’s first attempt at writing but it was the first time she had really taken it seriously and put some energy into the task.

At only twelve years old, she had little idea if writing was something she wanted to do as an adult – like, for money – but it certainly was something she found relaxing. Her home life was stressful. Mom and Dad fought – a lot. Sometimes it was about his work. Other times it was about her work (or lack thereof lately). Still others it was about her siblings, the private school bill, the lawn, the dishes, the weather, it didn’t matter. But the more Jordan wrote, the more she felt as though she could break away from the world she was given and enter into a different life. It calmed her and that was the most important thing pretty often.

That morning Dad had stormed out of the house and yet again she had to help her Mom with her sisters. Jordan hated dealing with diapers and pee and smells and body parts but it seemed like whenever her mom asked her for help, that’s what came her way.
“You’re becoming a young woman Jordan. You need to learn how to do these things,” her Mom had said.

She didn’t want to be reminded of the changes beginning to happen to her body but that was pretty much impossible. Over the course of the previous spring and summer Jordan had “shot up like a weed” (as her grandmother from the Eastern part of Washington State liked to say), growing 6 inches in height to an extremely lofty (for a 7th grader) 5’8". In addition, she alone had begun to notice what she knew to be other signs of womanhood on her body. And as much as she liked the respect and responsibility of being the oldest child in the family, the young girl was terrified of the thought of becoming a full-blown adult woman.


The small family (sans-Dad) was bus bound whenever he took off with the family’s only car. Typically when he went to work, he rode the bus into the city leaving the minivan for Sally on kid patrol. But on days like today, things were different. She and Jordan juggled the younger two children as they managed to get to church only 30 minutes late after which they grabbed a quick bite to eat across town at the Northgate Mall.

Shortly after that, Jordan found herself in a small department store changing room with several simple outfits in incrementally increasing sizes lined up in preparation for her testing.

Ballard Christian School was a private Kindergarten through 12th grade school with just under 500 students – uniforms were going to be required for the first time this coming school year (although they would still be somewhat flexible in their application). Skirts for girls in plaid or khaki with button up blouses or polo shirts; boys were required to wear the same except khaki pants instead of skirts and button up shirts instead of blouses; everyone could wear neckties and polos.

Woo-freaking-Hoo, she had thought when the school announced the change last spring at the end of her 6th grade year. Now she was forced to try on these clothes for sizing alone, simply to highlight the body that, as mom had mercilessly continued to point out, was irrevocably changing. She didn’t even want to think about the pre-teen undergarment hanging in the corner.

Ugh! Mom did you really have to insist – OUT LOUD – that I’m trying on bras too?!?! As if this day wasn’t bad enough!

Sally wasn’t sure how much Jordan’s growth spurt that summer had changed her sizing (of course from across the room, anyone could see how it obviously was time for a bra). So she had left her daughter alone in the dressing room to figure it out. The two younger ones were driving her bananas anyways; running in and out of clothing racks, screaming, yelling, or disappearing. There was no way she could stick by Jordan for a long term consult and besides, it’s good for her to start figuring these things out for herself. She’s smart, she’s curious, and she’s resourceful. It might not be the perfect shopping trip but it beats what the girls down at Ted’s shelter are faced with, Sally had thought to herself.

Even though the prospects of buying uniforms for school wasn’t what Jordan had been looking forward to per se, Dad always made things more interesting. She enjoyed his outgoing nature, his sense of humor, and the way he could strike up conversations with perfect strangers. He was charismatic, smart, and witty. She knew he would have made this awkward activity during this dreadfully awkward phase in life a little more bearable – even fun. Mom, on the other hand, was far more serious and stressed most of the time.

As Dad’s organization had grown in size, he had spent more time away from home. The more Jordan thought about her parents’ relationship and the ways in which they connected with her (or not), the more confused, hurt, and alone she felt. In that dressing room that Sunday afternoon, she couldn’t help but feel the pangs of abandonment, although she may not have been able to name it quite like that.

Jordan’s mind turned in her head as she tangled with the uncomfortable and unfamiliar clothing.

[i]I know mom isn’t going anywhere but I feel so lonely in here…

Am I a woman now? Am I in charge of taking care of myself now?

I don’t feel ready for all this.

I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do with half this stuff!

I’m scared.[/i]

Re: “Stories we Tell”

Well damn! This is an absolutely incredible piece of writing right here! I’m very eager to see what this story has in store for the future. Great job on everything; from the style, to the character introductions, to the storytelling, to the pacing. Well done and thanks for sharing!

Re: “Stories we Tell”

Good for you. Keep going.

Re: “Stories we Tell”

Chapter 2 – [August 2001 – One week before School]

Ted Reynolds’ Auction Gala couldn’t have gone better. Hope Seattle raised over $750,000; nearly 20% of its yearly budget. It had been the single most successful fundraising venture Ted had dreamed up yet. Of course it had cost him a Sunday afternoon with his family (but that wasn’t the original intent of course).

A group of volunteers headed up by his talented and productive project manager Michelle was supposed to have done all the legwork and he would’ve merely shown up at night for the Gala itself. All the back fill prep had been done weeks ahead of time: sponsors were in place, products donated, invitations to the dinner sent, RSVPs received, and the caterer arranged. The final domino (setup and decoration) simply had to be set into place that Sunday. When the volunteer group had called and cancelled Sunday morning, Ted felt absolutely duty bound to demonstrate his service-oriented style of leadership by helping out with the emergency. This was just part of working in the world of non-profits and volunteers.

Board meeting was Monday night following the Gala and they praised both Ted and Michelle with great accolades; the two stood side by side glowing in joy. It was true. They loved their jobs. They loved what they were accomplishing together and they worked incredibly well as a team. Weekly staff meeting came Tuesday night. Then Ted got hung up with an unruly client and a police call on Wednesday evening. So by the time the end of the week came around he had been away from his family the bulk of it and the mood was even more tense at home. To make matters worse, whenever he sensed that kind of stress at home, he almost always felt drawn to stay at work even longer hours because it then became a sanctuary for him from the nag of Sally. Things were perfect and peaceful at Hope Seattle. His dreams were being realized. Although he loved his girls with all his heart; the stress and tension was thick in the house.

Everyone could feel it too – presumably even the baby Jen who seemed to be regressing in her ability to obey her Mom by the second. Sally was frustrated and on edge; particularly given that the underlying source of the drama wasn’t something that had been solved (or conceivably even could be). Small inconveniences overwhelmed her and she was starting to feel increasingly afraid.

Is this workload ever going to ramp down? When is Ted gonna be home like we had talked about before we had Jen – before we had Mindi really? He always talks about how great leaders create systems so they don’t have to do everything but it seems like he’s always the one who has to show up and be the hero and we get caught in the gears. What’s gonna happen in 5 more years when Jordan’s 17 and in High School and the others are in grade school themselves? They need their dad! We need our family! I need my husband! She thought to herself.


It made Jordan mad when her Mom yelled at her and asked her to change the baby’s diaper or fix breakfast or clean up a mess.

Jeez mom, She thought in a weak moment, that’s your job around here! You don’t work – what else are you doing?

She knew somewhere down inside that everyone had to play their parts in any household but her selfish adolescence just wanted some peace and quiet. The young teenager could feel the tension too although she didn’t really understand it. Mostly she just wanted to be left alone for a few hours a day to work on her story or read or lay in bed and listen to music and not have her siblings barging in to demand attention or her Mom make her feel like she was wasting time doing nothing.

And with only a week and two days left before school was to begin, she felt like she was running out of time on the story. By this time in her tale, father and son had successfully (as far as they could tell) deciphered a crude system of hand sign language to communicate with the alien race who were themselves humanoid (but had only one arm instead of two). The pair had come to believe that they were a peaceful and advanced civilization that had been marooned there as punishment from the rest of their ‘people’. They were all alone – with no one to take care of them.

She heard a knock on the door – “Jordan, Mindi needs some help with her toy.”

“uuugh…” Jordan uttered a little more audibly than she intended.

“Listen young lady, everyone has to take an active part in this household. No one gets to just bow out. I don’t want to hear any more lip.”

The tall thin pre-teen got up and pouted out the door. “Dad too?” slipped quietly past her lips as she walked by Sally. Almost immediately Jordan regretted it but it was too late.

At first rage came to Sally’s eyes – then tears – then her hands. She turned, quickly walked, and then locked herself in her room.

“What happened to mom?!” Mindi asked walking around the corner from the living room after hearing running on the hardwood floors.

Jordan was frozen. Feeling foolish and once again alone.

The baby started wailing.

The rest of the morning and early afternoon, Jordan had gone out of her way to be helpful around the house; avoiding her own bedroom and the computer area for fear of setting her Mom off.

After her mom had been in the bedroom a half hour or so, she had come out and Jordan apologized for mouthing off. Sally had acknowledged the tension in the house and said that it was probably stressing everyone out. She had suggested that Jordan spend some time with her friend Alexis Miller that afternoon while she and the two other kids go to the grocery story. It had been a white flag of surrender.

Jordan took it and ran. In fact a bit of her feelings of sadness and loneliness seemed to drop in the suggestion of hanging out with her dear friend as well.


Alex (she hated being called by her full name) had been Jordan’s closest friend ‘since they were in diapers’ (as their parents always said). Sally and Alex’s mom Jo had been pregnant at the same time together and were friends from church. Alex was much more outgoing that Jordan – a risk-taker with a good heart. For Jordan it seemed like every time they got together, they would always end up in some crazy adventure followed by being crumpled on floor in heaves of laughter.

It had been a couple weeks since they had hung out and the plan was for the two to meet over at a semi-run down mini mart around the corner from their house. Because the neighborhood was such a sleepy little suburb, the girls’ parents had grown to feel comfortable allowing them walk there over the past spring and summer. The joint had a greasy deli in it with some tables to sit at – perfect for Jr. High aged kids to spend some quality time catching up. Jordan was waiting at a table with a large can of iced tea when Alex came in dressed in shorts, t-shirt, and a baseball cap. As she sat down, she glanced motioned over her shoulder, “did you see that nun out there?!”

Confused, Jordan looked at her - grateful for her quirky friend. Well it’s nice to see you too, she thought.

“She’s – well – he’s? – I mean… I don’t know. Anyways, she’s got a full beard, red moulin rouge gloves, a Nazi tattoo on her cheek, and she’s riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle – with no helmet… Talk about random.”

Jordan just stared at her in wonder – then finally smiled.

“I missed you,” And then they both cracked up into a cackle of laughter, giggles, and smiles.

“So did you go get your uniforms yet for school?” Jordan asked.

“Don’t remind me,” Alex said rolling her eyes, “why can’t we just wear normal clothes again? I hate that they’re changing the rules and making us wear skirts of all things!! Ugh!”

“Well at least you aren’t 10 feet tall. They all feel like I’m walking around wearing around a washcloth. I just wish I could pick out my own brands so they aren’t so short.”

“I think you’ve grown since the last time I saw you actually…too bad you hate sports so much – I bet Mr. Parker won’t leave you alone about basketball this year.”

“Don’t remind me.” Then in a whisper Jordan said, “I think those might be growing too,” she glanced down at her chest, “my mom even made me get…,” looking around to make sure no one was listening in, “a bra.” She frowned and crossed her arms.

“REALLY? That’s awesome!” Realizing Jordan’s genuine dismay at her condition, Alex tried to match the mood. “I – I mean. That was probably embarrassing.”

“Yeah, and I had to like try everything on all by myself and I had no idea what I was doing.”

“Really? I thought your dad was going with you?”

“Well he was but – you don’t wanna hear about all this…”

Swirling around what was left of her tea Jordan began to think again about all the stress and drama at home. It really had been tough and even though Alex meant well and admired her for her intelligence and wit – she wasn’t always the most empathetic to be around.

I wonder if I’ll be able to make some more friends this year in Jr. High? How will everyone treat me after I’ve changed so much over the summer? Will any new kids come to school?

As Jordan moved inward, Alex took the moment of silence to begin a (verbal) monologue about her expectations of volleyball season, followed by basketball, track, then softball. As a middle-schooler now, the sports scene would be completely different and she was SOOO excited for the challenge. The soliloquy droned on until Jordan heard something about the Michael’s, a family who had kids at their school.

“What?” Jordan asked, “Say that again.”

“Wanna go throw water balloons at Chrissy Michael? I saw her sun-tanning in their back yard when I walked down the alley on my way here. She’s so up tight. It’d be fun!” Alex had the glint of mischief in her eye that Jordan loved so much. Chrissy would be a Senior in the upcoming year and she was the older sister of Joey, a (wonderful and cute) boy in Alex & Jordan’s class. They lived within in between Jordan’s house and the mini-mart.

She’s kind of tightly wound, Jordan thought. Funny too, because this is like the one day of the year when anyone could possibly lay out in the sun in this city.

Alex motioned to the small package of water balloons on the rack behind them in the mini-mart.

“Let’s do it.” Jordan smiled.

They paid and were off to the races after having filled their share of balloons and stashed arsenals in grocery sacks. The girls would’ve startled a rock band with their approach down the alley way – laughing and giggling and shrieking. But unsuspecting Chrissy was facing away from the alleyway fence and was also wearing headphones.

Once they got close, Alex took on the role of the platoon leader complete with goofy hand signals and overwrought war maneuvers behind cover. Jordan could hardly keep herself out of hysterics. The two started lobbing balloons over the fence before finally flinging the gate open for the grand finale: unloading what was left on, around, nearby, far away from, and everywhere in between they and Chrissy. She shrieked in horror, falling off her chair and cowering under a towel. So afraid that the end of the world had come, she didn’t even get a look at who her assailants might be. They shrieked in delight and ran away scot free, howling in laughter all the way back to Jordan’s house.


That evening, the mood had immediately shifted for Jordan. From careless joy and mirth with her best friend to heaviness and loneliness. She had hardly known what to do with herself.

Ted had come home early and Sally had started in with comments about his absence during the week. Fighting and bickering ensued. Hostility rose. Words from each had grown sharper and less understanding.

Jordan had retreated to her room, locked the door and flipped on her computer; somehow Mars in the pages of her digital book had felt like a sanctuary for her. And despite the stress about clothes and friends and teachers on the forefront of her mind, Jordan had thought, it can’t come soon enough, anything is better than this Lion’s den.

Re: “Stories we Tell”

Chapter 3 – [August 27, 2001 - First Day of School]

Ballard Christian School sat nestled on a hillside overlooking Puget Sound near Golden Gardens park on the West side of Ballard. It was an urban school but absolutely gorgeous. Truly. It was a wonder a kid like Jordan had the chance to be a student at such a fancy place. Even though her dad was the leader of a company, it was a non-profit that served homeless people for Chrissakes, he often said. Not exactly a well-to-do segment of the population and typically not a lucrative career. However, as Ted had learned, in the non-profit world it was possible to bring home a modest salary while at the same time enjoy certain perks afforded by powerful people who’s influence and salaries were larger than life. Ballard Christian School was heavily subsidized and endowed by a number of Christian philanthropists who grew wealthy through the previous decade’s .com boom. Many of these individuals were also on the board of Ted’s organization and they were more than happy to help he and his family live a more comfortable life as a reward for his self-sacrifice and thoughtful service.

The building itself had been newly remodeled and looked high tech: lots of exposed steel beams, braided cabling, exposed raw wood, stamped concrete floors, and expanses of glass characterized the space. Leather furniture littered the hallways and lobbies and students bustled about carrying fancy electronic devices. In addition to incorporating uniforms over the summer, the High School (grades 9-12) implemented a laptop program where each student enrolled received their own computer for the year. It wasn’t an accident that 98% of Ballard students graduated 12th grade and 92% were accepted into college.

Even though BCS was less than a mile from their home, Jordan rode the bus most of the time. She felt very self-conscious wearing her new uniform – she and her mom had exchanged some words about it that morning. But all in all it felt like a relief to get out of the house. Over the past week, the tension had continued to feel like a wet blanket on her head and shoulders – suffocating and isolating. It felt like dad hardly talked with her anymore and when he did, it felt like he was just trying to butter her up or something. Weird. Mom, on the other hand, continued to put more and more responsibilities on her that she either didn’t want to do (Jen’s diapers and Mindi’s playtime) or didn’t feel capable of doing (last Wednesday night she had asked Jordan to take care of dinner – doesn’t she remember that I’m still only 12?!). In each case, it served to make Jordan feel all the more alone.

Who’s looking out for me? She wondered more than once over the past week.

The bus ride was pretty much the same as year’s prior. BCS might have been a fancy private parochial school with uniforms and a view, but they still had yellow school busses with brown seats and not enough supervision. They had the same bullies as other schools too – perhaps just a little more entitled. She recognized a lot of familiar faces but for some reason, she didn’t get a lot of smiles back as she walked the long aisle to the back third of the bus. Jordan sat down and her knees touched the seat back in front of her.

That’s new, she thought.

“OW!!! Watch what you’re doing with those things, Lanky!” Laughter sprinkled throughout the surrounding seats. The girl in front of Jordan poked her head over the top of the vinyl seat glaring and rubbing her back. Although with uniforms it was a little more difficult to identify social standing and ‘coolness’, telltale indicators of status were always available: the tiffany bracelet around her wrist, the stylish layered bob haircut with highlights reminiscent of Jennifer Anniston. She had the perfect teeth, skin, nails…everything.

“Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to,” said Jordan.

More than a few kids were watching to see what would happen between the lowly seventh-grade giant and Amber, one of the most popular 8th graders in school.

“Well keep ‘em under control would ya’ trees?” Kids laughed at the name.

“Sure.” Jordan slumped into her seat angling her legs sideways.

Please don’t let this be this kind of year. Please. God please. I’ll do anything. I just need a break. One small break. Why did you have to make me so tall – and why THIS YEAR? Why now? A tear started forming in the corner of her left eye.

Glancing over the seat Amber took the bait, “Oh look, the giraffe’s crying now!! Boo hoo hoo hoo!!! Little baby giraffe needs to go home and be with her mommy.” Everyone was watching. Jordan just tried to melt into the brown textured vinyl. “How’d you get so tall anyways giraffe? Eat lots of twigs and sticks and branches? You got some stuck in those chompers?” Amber reached over and flipped her finger on Jordan’s lips playfully yet deviously. “You like leaves? Yum, yum, yum, giraffe.” The gorgeous green trees outside couldn’t fly by fast enough for Jordan – but no one was coming to her rescue. Alex was on a different bus and yet again she was all alone. “I bet she’s got a black tongue everything too.” Kids younger and older, many rows to the front and back were eating up Ambers theatrics; she was in the zone. With Jordan’s eyes closed, the first thing she felt was the end of a pencil eraser pushing into her mouth.

What the hell? Is she trying to pry my mouth open or something?

“Open up!!!” Amber said like she was a friendly dental hygienist, “Let us see that stinky black tongue of yours!”

“STOP IT!!! Leave me ALONE!!!” Jordan stood up. “I’m not a giraffe. I’m not smelly. I don’t have a black tongue.”

The kids got quiet. “I don’t eat leaves. STOP IT you…you…”

Just then the bus hit a bump and Jordan lost her balance and clumsily tripped over those long legs and ended up in a heap partially on her seat and partially on the floor. The entire bus erupted in laughter. Of course she was beyond mortified – in tears – and terrified about what the rest of the day (let alone the year) had in store for her.


Sally wasn’t sure if their morning bout had been heard by everyone in the family or not – this time it took place in the single car garage in the back of the house. As usual it was on the topic of Ted’s dedication to his career, absence from his family, and Sally’s feeling of being a single mom (more or less). Ted – with his own dreams of success and excitement about pursuing his mission in life felt frustrated about his wife not appreciating and joining him in his work. He wished she could (a) understand why he had to be away and (b) make an effort to come with him to the facility a few times a week.

She’s a CPA for God’s sake! It’s not like she doesn’t have professional training, or the ability to contribute at a high level He thought.

Sally liked work but she wanted to be home with her kids during this part of their lives; something she had thought Ted wanted as well – they had discussed it adnauseum before even Jordan came along. Then, once Hope Seattle began to experience great success, many of the things they had negotiated seemed to go up in smoke from Sally’s viewpoint.

It had all started when Sally asked Ted if he could help her with the baby instead of watching TV that morning. He made a sharp comment about gender roles. She made one back about his career. And the fireworks began. The argument went around and around and the more it did – the less empathy each seemed to feel for one another. Neither really wanted to compromise. Sally even began to wonder if Ted had her and the kids’ best interests in mind. Ted had wondered that for some time. It was not a good path. As he had done a week and a half before, Ted left in a huff, taking the van with him in his pajamas leaving Sally to figure out the days shopping and kids activities via public transportation or leaning on friends.

This can’t go on. They both had thought as they parted ways that Monday morning.

To add to the stress, Sally felt worried for Jordan. She knew that she hadn’t been giving her the kind of time and guidance she desired – and she also sensed that some of the added expectations were pushing her beyond her comfort level.

I need help though. I don’t know where else to turn! She is growing up; she is becoming a woman. But maybe I’m forcing it too quickly? Sally didn’t want her daughter to feel like she had to navigate this complex time in life feeling like she didn’t have her mom on her side – but she also had her own plate more than full. It was a catch 22.

She sat in the front room of their 1960’s home and looked at the grains in the wood floor. It really was a nice house – would’ve cost a third of what we paid if it was built back home in Kansas City, she thought. But as the sun filtered through the window and steam swirled from her coffee cup, she took a deep breath, she was happy to have it. The baby was finally asleep and Mindi was playing in the living room; these moments were golden for a mom of three and Sally hadn’t been the best at taking advantage of them.

I’ve got to find a way to create some stability around this place…


Jordan’s first day at school improved only marginally. The nickname “Giraffe” was going to stick it would seem.

Ugh. What horrific luck, she thought.

But she and Alex had almost the exact same schedule (save Jordan’s choice of advanced math while Alex was in Volleyball). Furthermore, Jordan really had a good feeling about her new English teacher Mr. Johns. He was new to the school – not just to Jordan and he hadn’t taught but one year before this foray at BCS. He and his wife were from Oregon and she was a teacher in the younger grades.

They are SOOOO cute together, Jordan had thought as Mr. Johns introduced himself to the class and showed pictures of his family. As he had talked about what class would be like, Jordan perked up with curiosity. Apparently, Mr. Johns wanted his students to find ways to apply their writing in the real world and not just write for the sake of getting a grade in class. Assignments over the course of the year would be to write letters to loved ones or bosses or friends, submit poetry to magazines, enter state competitions, write for speeches at school, and create advertising lingo. Jordan had immediately wondered if she should show him the story about Mars she had been working on – could there possibly be anything in the real world that could be done with a story like mine?

But then she began to to immediately tell herself, It’s not even very good anyways. And really, I’m just writing it for myself.

Right there in class, Jordan had begun to talk herself out of ever sharing the work into which she had put so much time and energy – the work into which she had poured her heart – the work which had helped her stay sane as her parents went to war leaving her to pick up the pieces and figure out life as a 7th grader by her self.

No, she thought, my writing is for me and for me alone. It’s just so I can feel better. It’s so I can cope. It’s not for other people to read. And that’s that.

Re: “Stories we Tell”

Wow. This is an amazing story. I was thinking recently that there seemed to be a dearth of new long stories recently, so I’m very glad to have been proven wrong.

I will also admit to binge-reading everything you’ve written so far at dailydiapers. I’ll post more detailed comments there so as not to reveal spoilers.

Re: “Stories we Tell”

Thanks much for the kind words – I’m going to try to post quickly on here and get it caught up with the other…It’s difficult having it posted in more than one place and especially posted at different points in the story at more than once place. :slight_smile:


Chapter 4 – [September 10, 2001]

It was a typical Monday morning. The dew clung to the grass in their picket-fenced yard like they did each day. The fog had lifted as usual later in the morning. Small droplets of rain came and went as the yellow bus bumped down the road. And the comments and slams aimed at the beautiful, brown-haired, long-legged, seventh grader continued full force.

“So tell me something, I was watching TV last night and there was this show about freakishly tall people – you know, like you.” This was said nonchalantly by Amber’s friend Nicole who had teamed up with her that day. “And every single one of those behemoths died like when they were 45 because their hearts and lungs couldn’t handle their girth….”

Sitting alone, Jordan was doing her best to ignore the two 8th grade bullies who had made her life at school miserable over first couple weeks. This truly had become normal behavior and all the other kids had learned to lay low, keep their heads down, or they risked becoming targets themselves!

“So what my dear friend’s trying to ask,” Amber chimed in, “is how do you feel about dying young? I mean – It’s inevitable you know – and we’re just curious about how you feel about it.”

Jordan was silent.

“Really Stems,” (that was her latest nickname) Nicole said, “we really care about you and we just want to know how much more time you have left with us.”

Jordan crossed her arms and twisted her body toward the window; wearing a skirt, this only highlighted the length of her legs unbeknownst to her. Willing the bus to arrive at school, she thought, Please, please, please! Please drive faster. Please let this be over.

Naturally progressing, her mind wandered further, Why can’t I go back in time to when kids were normal? Why do things have to be so complicated? Why did I have to grow up? AND SO MUCH?!?.

“Look on the bright side Noodles, at least if the bus gets in a wreck your legs will save you; they’ve got you wedged so tightly in that seat, you might as well be wearing a seatbelt!” There was a smattering of laughter in general seating area.

Still nothing in response from the girl now smushed in the corner.

“Noodles, noodles noodles!!” Come out and play with us!!! We’re bored. C’mon Stems!" The girls coaxed in stereo, now trying to tickle Jordan’s exposed leg with hair ties like she was some kind of caged animal.

Today Jordan didn’t explode in flustered rage as she had in previous incidents – nor did anyone come to her rescue (which never had happened). Amber, Nicole, and the other bullies simply got bored. After she hadn’t given them anything with which to respond, they weren’t brash enough to do something outright painful that would cause long-term physical pain. Eventually they became distracted by a side conversation.

Please God, somehow, someway – take the focus away from ME. PLEASE!!!, Jordan thought.


About 23 hours later, Jordan’s prayer had been realized in a horrific manner. She didn’t make it to school that day nor would she for the duration of the week. On Tuesday morning, she and her Mom sat in front of their living room 32" Panasonic tube television with eyes opened wide in stunned silence. Mindi and Jen were still asleep when Sally had run to wake Jordan up moments after the second plane hit at about 6am. The only noises that could be heard were the hum of the fridgerator, the frantic and confused news reporters on the screen, and the muffled chokes and whimpers of Jordan and Sally’s hushed crying. As was the case for most of the world that day, the Reynolds were in shock.

After absorbing the raw emotion of shock and sadness for a few minutes and trying to grasp the meaning of an intentional attack of some kind her country, Jordan’s mind shifted to fear: will there be more? Is dad ok? He left for work at 5:30 like he normally does so he might not even know about this. Are there going to be more attacks in Seattle? Is this just the beginning?

She knew that his non-profit, Hope Seattle, was right downtown near many high buildings and could be in danger.

Even though it was in the early days of cell phones, Ted still had one and Sally had been ringing it all morning to no avail. It was either off, Ted was ignoring it, or something bad had happened. Over and over again, Sally called his number and attempted to appear calm – her hands shook slightly. She was as terrified as Jordan although she was trying not to wear it on her sleeve quite as obviously. Still in her 2-piece cotton pajamas, Jordan had developed large red blotches on her neck and face in response to her stress, she was sweating profusely down her back, neck, and on her forehead, and she seemed to be shaking as she cried.

Sally put her arm around Jordan as she continued to dial. The two cried and snotted and watched the TV in silence. It was then that Mindi entered the room.

“What’s wrong? Why are you guys crying?”

Sally quickly turned around; Jordan didn’t.

“Oh honey,” she wiped the snot from her nose and years with one swipe, “It’s ok. There was just….there was just….” She started to cry some more. “There was an accident in New York and I’m very sad about it.”

Mindi frowned and looked toward the TV. “Oh. Looks like a big accident.”

“It’s ok Mindi. It’s sad and a little scary, but it’s going to be ok.” Sally began to realize that her intensity of emotion may have seemed a little off given what was on the screen: just two burning buildings at that point. The truth was that she was crying out of fear, terrified that her husband was next or perhaps already had been killed, and that their entire way of life, entire country was going down the tube as they stood there together in the living room.

“Let’s go get you out of your night clothes and get some breakfast in your stomach.” Sally said with a little more empathy in her voice than was usual at that time in the morning.

Jordan remained in the room to watch.

When the phone rang, both Sally and Jordan’s hearts felt like they were going to beat out of their chests. It was a terrifying and exhilarating and nerve wracking wait to hear the voice on the other end – but when Sally heard Jordan’s friend Alex, her face fell and Jordan’s heart only beat faster. When she held out the phone to Jordan, the teenager felt confused, who could be calling other than dad?

“JJJJJJjjjordanIdon’tknowwhatI’mgggggoingtodooooSNIFFFJJJJordan?!?JJJOrdand?!didjewseetheTeeveeandtheplanesandthesmokeandHONKthefireandIdon’tknowwhatI’mgoing…”

It’ was a tidal wave of sounds and snorts consonants and vowels. Jordan could hardly make it out. “Alex? Is that you?”

“Jjjjjordani’msoscaredIcan’tstoptappingmyfeetandchewingmynailsandi’mnotusrewhattodowandikeeppacingalloverthehouseandidontknowwhattodoandI—momisallfreakedoutandshetookoffandnowi’mhereallaloneandidon’tknowwhattodo…”

“Take a breath Alex. Breathe.”

Alex had had some serious issues over the last couple years before her dad moved out and went to drug and alcohol treatment the previous summer. He used to beat her mom up all the time and Jordan was pretty sure he did stuff to Alex as well but she didn’t ever hear what. Whenever something bad happened – and sometimes when it didn’t, Alex got like this. She would just go hysterical and couldn’t cope at all. She wouldn’t be crying – or screaming – just vibrating with activity and words.

It often approached a nervous breakdown or panic attack or something of the sort from Jordan’s 12-year-old point of view. In a few years, Jordan would learn that Alex had developed PTSD from the years of chaos and abuse in her home. The goofy risk-taking personality that Alex exhibited, Jordan would learn, was also a coping mechanism for her PTSD – it gave her a certain amount of control over her own life and an upper hand on other people. Acute trauma experienced herself or vicariously through others could throw her into episodes like this. Jordan didn’t know at the time that Alex had even been hospitalized in the psychiatric ward more than once for these kinds of adverse reactions to trauma.

“Breathe Alex, you’re going to be ok. It’s going to be fine. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.” She started saying rhythmically.

As Jordan said the words, she wasn’t even sure if she believed them to be true for herself, let alone anyone else. Were they going to be ok? Was dad ok? Why did he have to take off so early every day? Why couldn’t he stay home 20 extra minutes with our family? Why couldn’t help mom in the morning or eat breakfast with me or ask me how my day was? Why does he have to make his job the most important thing – and now – and now – is he dead because of his job?

Jordan started to cry as she held the phone. This whole time despite her pleads, Alex hadn’t stopped her incoherent ramble. When she heard Jordan crying, the monologue shifted to match and she began to sob as well. The two cried without solving anything or trading information or making a plan until “call waiting” beep started beeping on Jordan’s end of the line. Her heart started pounding intensely once again.

“Alex?”, she lurched out of her crying, “Alex? I need to go. I need to answer the other line. Come over to our house. Walk here. We’re all home. Don’t stay home alone. Leave a note for your mom. Come here now. I have to hang up. Come here now.”

Alex went back into her rambling but Jordan knew she had to answer the line waiting.

“Hello?”

“Jordan it’s me. I’m fine. Let me talk to mom.”

“DAAAD?!?!”

At the sound of Jordan’s exclamation, Sally nearly knocked her daughter over as she tore around the kitchen corner to take the phone away at which point she scurried off into the bedroom where yelling and scolding commenced. Jordan heard verbalized some of the lines of thought that had just gone through her own head.

“You should’ve been here!! …. I don’t care….we are terrified, come home right now….You don’t know; there might be more Ted!!!..… JUST COME HOME….I’ll come get you then………FINE………FINE!!!...IF THAT’S HOW YOU WANT IT TO BE!!!..…FINE…!!!”

Jordan heard a large smashing sound and then more crying, this time Jen’s added to the symphony. Now wasn’t the time to try to get out of helping mom out. Still crying herself and slightly trembling, she walked to the baby’s room to care of business. And it was from Jen & Mindi’s room as she changed the baby’s diaper that Jordan heard her mom shriek in terror…

The south tower had fallen.


The day was full of anxiety and stress; the family of 4 stayed at home all day glued to the television and the events unfolding in the East. Sally, completely terrified, eventually succumbed to carrying it around externally. She insisted on keeping the windows closed, shades pulled, and lights off all day. She let out screams and shrieks at the slightest sounds like cars going by or dogs barking. She yelled angrily at her younger daughters when either became noisy or needy or irritable or unpredictable or…anything.

Each of the girls fed off Sally’s fear and reflected it in their cooped-up household all day long making an already tense situation even tenser. Being small children, the two younger girls processed their fear by acting out, teasing one another, pining for attention, fighting, and clinging to security objects.

Jordan, for her part, felt even more pressure from her mom to help with care of her sisters. At the same time, she felt even more need to be cared for herself.

I’m Scared TOO Mom! She kept thinking during the day. You’re not the only one who is upset with dad, you’re not the only one who is confused and worried. I’m just a little girl though. But by her appearance and age, she was growing up and Sally leaned on her all the more that day.

Alex never had come over to the Reynold’s house that day. Soon after her Ted’s phone call that morning, Alex called back a little calmer to say that her aunt had come to their home and that she didn’t to head over to the Reynolds. Jordan was happy Alex was ok and a little relieved to not have to worry about one more person in the house to look after.

Although Jordan had learned to cope (to some degree) with the stress in her home by writing, in truth it was a drop in the bucket. She wasn’t aware of how much her home life was affecting her at the time, and she certainly didn’t know how to process the high level of fear and drama in her house that morning – especially alone. Because writing was the only thing she had ever done to self-care, her mind was naturally drawn to it all day but because her mom leaned on her so hard for help, there was never a moment to get away. Little did Jordan know, this lack of ability to process what was going on in her life would come back to haunt her.


Ted had treated it like a normal workday; apparently many people in the city had as well. A few staff from the shelter had gone home to their families after the towers fell but “the homeless people we serve don’t have anyone to go to, Sally”, he had said at one point during their debate once the younger two kids were in bed. At another point, it came out in the conversation that Melissa had also stayed behind in the shelter all day.

It was at that point that Jordan joined their conversation as a third party listener from the living room.

“What’du’you mean she was there today too?!? I thought you said you sent everyone else home!?!?”

“Melissa’s the project manager Sally, she plays an extremely important role at Hope, and besides, she’s dedicated to the cause and she wanted to stay.”

“Yeah I bet she did.” Sally said with a bit of snarkiness.

“What’s that supposed to mean Sally?”

“What do you think Ted?”

He looked at her with honest wonder. Does she think something’s going on between Melissa and I? Really? I mean, for God’s sake Sally.

“I’ve noticed how much time you’ve spent around her. I’ve noticed how you talk about her. I’ve noticed how you glow about your star leader. I bet she’s glowing for you too.” Sally was seething with fear and anger – she felt disgust for Ted and it was leaking through the way she only partially faced him as she spoke, the way her words slid off her tongue with little care or concern, and the scowl on her face.

“Sally…I…I don’t know what to say….” A long silence hung.

“SO you’re saying it’s TRUE then?”

“SALLY! NO!! What’s gotten into you?!” Ted then went on the attack. “I know I’ve been spending a lot of time with the company lately but this kind of accusation is beyond cruel – it’s beyond ridiculous. I WOULD NEVER…”, he began to choke up, “I would never do something like that to you and the kids. NEVER.”

Sally had turned her back to him and Jordan had moved to peer through the crack in the door from the shadows of the hallway.

“Sally, I realize this has been a hard season on you and the kids – it’s been hard on me too honestly. But that’s all it is…a season…a period in time. This isn’t the rest of our lives. Once I get some systems set up, I’ll be able to let Hope—”

She cut him off, “I’m so sick of hearing about Hope and your empty promises. If I hear you give me that line again I’m gonna puke,” the condescension and contempt seething from between her teeth, “You’ve told me for years about your ‘systems’ – you’ve promised us for years that you’ll be at gymnastics shows and orchestra concerts and spelling-bees – and you’ve missed the majority of them. Even when you’ve shown up, you’ve been late and missed your own kids’ parts. We’ve had to lie to them and trick them into thinking you were there.”

Her words stung.

Her words were true though.

He had promised the same things before. And he had meant them. It just didn’t work out that way. Not wanting to concede though, he pushed forward, “Listen, even if you’re right, it doesn’t mean you have the right to accuse me of cheating. That hurts Sally….that’s a low blow.”

“You’ve been cheating for years. Melissa or no Melissa. You’ve been cheating for years.” She shook her head.

At that, Ted grabbed his jacket, keys and wallet, and silently walked out of the room. He didn’t notice Jordan in the shadows who had scooted quietly in her socks toward the opposite end of the hall as she had heard the conversation drawing to a close. It wasn’t the first time he had failed to notice her.

Ted calmly (all things considered) walked out of the back of the house and shut the door. The Chrysler minivan started and drove away.


She had already been standing next to her bedroom door and she didn’t want her mom to know what she had overheard, so she just slipped in her room, silently closed it and crawled in bed still fully clothed.

No writing tonight, Jordan thought, as she began to realize the degree of her emotional and physical exhaustion from the day.

Are Mom and Dad gonna be ok? Is Dad really having some kind of affair with Melissa? Are they gonna get divorced? What’s gonna happen in our country? Who would do this to us – who would attack us?

She began to think about all the kids who’s moms and dads weren’t coming home that night because they went to work in the towers that morning. She thought about what it would be like to come home and not have her Mom or Dad.

She felt afraid. She felt sad. But most of all, she felt alone, more alone than she had felt in years.

I’m not ready for this; I’m not ready to take care of myself.

She quietly started to weep.

Re: “Stories we Tell”

Chapter 5 – [September 12, 2001]

The previous night she had cried for a long time – perhaps over an hour. The events over the past day or two had been emotionally taxing on a level she had yet to experience in her short life.

Jordan’s parents were in what seemed to be a full scale war, her country was under attack from God knew whom (and from where and against whom only He knew the next one was to occur), her classmates at her so-called Christian school were unbelievably cruel and rude, her mom was dumping more and more weight and responsibility on her while at the same time removing care and nurture, her dad cared more about his career and organization than any member of his family, and her body was rapidly betraying her to womanhood. While any of these stressors might’ve been normal for an average 12-year-old girl, Jordan didn’t know how to cope and it was more than she could take. The previous night she had gone to bed simply overwhelmed and beyond exhausted.

After she had cried, the mental lights had gone out and there was simply nothing… No dreams, no pain, no movement, no tossing or turning…nothing. Out cold.

At about 5am, her eyes opened. The sun hadn’t come up but she could see looking west over the front lawn out her bedroom window that dawn wasn’t far away. A solitary bird was chirping, apparently unaware of how dreadful her day was yesterday.

But of course that was yesterday and today was a brand new day. She rolled over into a new position and grabbed her favorite bear to snuggle on her side and that’s the dampness hit her – Wait…What’s that?…What the…?


The conversation with Ted had left Sally deeply rattled. He walked out at about 8:30pm and she had stayed up most the night fretting, crying, praying, reading, and talking to her mother on the phone. It had been horrible but also cathartic.

She began to see how her life had been shaped by fear – and how her fears had taken hold of her the day before. Fears for her daughters’ well being; fears for her husband’s fidelity; fears for her own health and relationships; fears for her salvation, fears for their finances; fears for her professional life; fears for her physical safety; the list went on and on and on. She thought about the way that she reacted to people and situations out of those fears and tore them down and damaged them. It concerned her greatly and she felt convicted to change.

I want to react out of compassion and love, not fear. I want to be confident and strong and kind – not terrified. My kids and husband need that from me…

In addition, her commitment to be the best mother her kids deserved – the best mother she could be – was steeled. It doesn’t matter what Ted does or doesn’t do, what Ted can or can’t do, how Ted does or doesn’t pull through, I AM GOING TO BE THERE for them. I WILL be what I can be, she had sworn to herself.

One of the things that stuck out to her was Jordan’s puberty process and how much stress she seemed to be carrying around about it. Maybe I’m pushing her to be independent a little too quickly; she is only twelve years old. Maybe I need to listen to her a little more and let her have a say; maybe that’s even a way for her to demonstrate some independence, she had thought.

Sally had stayed up late reading articles online and perusing a book she had been meaning to read on raising teenage girls and several pointed out how many feel quite alone during this period despite the way they sometimes push the adults in their lives away. Sally wondered if Jordan had been feeling alone – particularly with her dad’s hectic job schedule lately and the way she and her daughter hadn’t had time to really connect. The warmth and fondest for her eldest daughter grew in her heart; she began to feel a bit more compassion for the confusing and anxiety-filled stage of life she was entering. I don’t want to be the kind of mom that drifts away from her girls – that doesn’t understand them – that only knows her own world. God please help me to get better at this; help me improve; help me grow…

As the night moved into early morning, Sally felt strangely prompted to peek into her oldest daughter’s room and check on her like she had done when the girl was just a baby. Nothing had happened (as far as she knew) to cause such an act of concern; but after the sleepless night and newfound commitment, she couldn’t wait to lay eyes particularly on Jordan.

Barefoot and wearing her white full length nightgown, Sally quietly opened her door and snuck down the hall. It couldn’t have been 2 minutes past 5am and she didn’t want to wake the other girls so she walked terribly slowly, careful to sneak past the squeaks in the floor she knew all too well. Creeping past the girls’ room on the left she finally came to Jordan’s at the end of the dark hall on the right, she reached for the handle and slowly opened it. Resting her left hand on the neatly painted door jam and her face near the face of the matching door, Sally cracked it open.

A surprising but not unusual odor greeted her – the pungent smell of ammonia.

Urine? Jordan?! Since when…? Oh, poor baby…

Sally’s heart broke for her daughter as what had happened couldn’t have been more obvious. The whole room reeked of the smell of stale pee. Jordan was no doubt soaked and she appeared still fast asleep. Immediately, Sally felt guilty for the ways in which she had piled on responsibilities and pulled back on attention and parenting.

Poor girl…she must have been absorbing all of this…she probably hasn’t known what to do with it…maybe she even thought it was her fault…oh poor thing! As Sally processed the scene a single tear streamed down her cheek and her daughter rolled over clutching a teddy bear.


Jordan didn’t see her mom peering in the door at first with her focus entirely on the wetness she felt all over her chest and stomach, crotch, legs, and rear end. As she woke a little more, she could smell it too.

Pee? She thought.

It couldn’t have been more obvious, urine has a distinct odor especially after it’s been exposed to the open air for any length of time – and from what she could feel with her free left hand, there was a LOT of it.

Just as she was pulling back the covers to survey the damage, Jordan noticed the door move. Quickly (but reluctantly because they were so wet and – gross) she pulled the covers back over her. It was Mom.

“Mom! What are you doing? Don’t you know how to knock!?” Jordan whispered in harsh tones.

“I’m really sorry sweetie, I was just checking on you this morning – I knew yesterday and last night were really hard and I just wanted to see you.” Sally decided to just tell the truth.

Touched, but feeling skeptical, Jordan whispered, “Mom you need to knock before you come in here. And isn’t it like 5 in the morning?”

Opening the door a little further and getting her shoulders into the room, Sally could clearly smell the unmistakable odor of urine. “It’s early honey – but can’t a mom check on her girls?…”

Jordan almost cried. Her chin quivered. Her mom spoken with this kind of tender-loving-care to her in what seemed like an eternity.

Sally noticed this response. Stepping into the room slowly and inching toward Jordan, Sally began, “Look sweetheart, I want to say I’m sorry for putting so much weight on you lately to help around the house. It has been too much I know. I want you to grow up at your own pace – I want us to talk – I want to help you through this stage of life – I want to be there for you – I don’t want you to feel alone.”

Tears streaked down Jordan’s cheeks.

Sitting on the bed now, Sally felt her own rear end get saturated as she wrapped her right arm around her little girl’s back and wiped the tears from her eyes with her left hand.

“Now Jordie,” (Sally had called her by that name when she was just a little girl), “when I poked my head in the room I didn’t expect you to be up at this hour – and now I think I know why you are…”

“Yeah…” Jordan didn’t know what else to say.

“Has this been happening a lot lately?” Sally asked with honest curiosity.

“No.” Jordan responded meekly. The way she said it broke Sally’s heart all the more.

“Well can I help you get cleaned up?”

At first Jordan wanted to say ‘No’, but then she thought about how nice it was to have her Mom’s thoughtful touch again and so meekly once again she replied, “Yeah…”.

“Alright little one, let’s get these covers off.”

Standing up, Sally pulled the covers back to expose a great deluge of bodily fluid. Still wearing her clothes from the day (pants and t-shirt because she never made it school), Jordan was saturated from her upper ankles all the way to her armpits on the front and nearly as much on her back. Jordan sat up on the edge of her overstuffed bed and nearly came to equal her Mom’s diminutive 5’1".

“Ok let’s get those wet clothes off.”

Sally helped Jordan stand and delicately with fingertips peeled off the wet material. Because she was so much taller, Jordan had to bend at the waist and so she felt the shirt stick to her hair as it came off (which was especially gross) and although she felt slightly embarrassed to be topless in front of her mom, she felt a greater sense of guilt that she hadn’t been wearing the new bra her mom had made her pick out weeks earlier. Sally noticed but made no comment as she quickly grabbed Jordan a scuzzy looking towel that had been on the floor for Jordan to wrap around herself. This helped to make the removal of her pants, panties, and socks to be slightly less humiliating than it might otherwise be.

“Ok Jordie let’s go get cleaned up.” Sally grabbed her daughter by the hand and quietly led her out of the bedroom and just to the right into the small bathroom.

If the lights had been on, it would have been an odd sight, the young girl towering over her mom being shyly led to the bathroom for the necessities. Leaving the light off, she turned on the water warm, put in the plug and helped Jordan into the tub. Taking Jordan’s covering, she said, “Ok, there you go, take your time. I’ll handle the rest.”

Naked as the day she was born in front of her mom, Jordan at first felt the urge to quickly cover herself but she withheld. The compassionate touch from her Mom was strangely calming; she didn’t want to do something to dissuade her mom’s sweetness. She quietly sat down in the tub in the dark and waited as the water filled.

I can’t believe this is happening. Is this real? How can this be? I feel like I’m in a dream.


About fifteen minutes later, Sally returned to the bathroom to find her daughter still lounging in the dark. She had pulled the shower curtain around the tub and added bubble bath – she probably has used up most of the hot water too, Sally thought, I guess she’s still a teenager!

“Ok honey, all taken care of. Sheets washed, Clothes washed, smell gone. Everything’s like new.” Sally sat on the floor of the bathroom, the door still open.

“Thanks…mom.” Jordan choked out; beginning to cry.

“Jordie, I want you to know that I think you’re a remarkable young woman and I will be here for you as long as you need me. I don’t want you to feel alone during this – or any time of your life.”

Jordan liked how her Mom had switched to calling her ‘Jordie.’ She continued to quietly cry. “What about Daddy?” she eventually quietly whimpered.

“Jordie, your Dad and I have been having some pretty difficult conversations lately that’s true. I’m sorry you’ve had to hear them and honestly I regret some of the things I’ve said – but I don’t want you to worry about that right now. Your Daddy loves you very very much and he’s trying to do his very best—”

Jordan cut her off, “No…I mean…,” looking down, she couldn’t even say it and started to cry some more, “…I mean…what about telling Daddy about the reason I’m in this tub this morning…?”

She was as sweet as pie – Sally’s heart melted for her daughter. She was clearly growing up and up but she was also just a little girl inside.

“Oh honey, you don’t have to tell anyone at all about this. It just happened one time and it’s all taken care of. It has been crazy stressful for you lately and you’re just overwhelmed. We’re going to find some ways for you to de-stress and relax and be a kid – grow up at your own pace… How about you stay home today?”

She nodded. Relieved, the girl behind the shower curtain continued soak and look straight ahead, tears streaming down her face.

I hope this never happens again.


Ted had spent the night at Hope among the single male clients. Despite what had happened between he and his wife the night before, he felt energized about the key importance of his work. He knew he had expertise that could be of assistance in New York City. His experience in organizing, housing, feeding, and clothing people without homes would be extremely helpful he was certain. With his connections to capital, he knew he could have a team on the ground with real supplies and support within days.

Ted knew he had to go.

On the morning of the twelfth, he was up early calling his directors, asking them to come in early. The team procured a large 18-wheeler for hauling supplies and had set a side-committee to work on stocking it. The team also quickly created a task force to travel across the country to offer their expertise in the search and recovery efforts and a skeleton team was elected to remain on standby in Seattle. Among the members who would travel was Ted himself and his key project manager Melissa.

The thought to call home didn’t cross his mind until after lunch – Sally didn’t answer.

She’s probably still mad at me and honestly I can’t blame her. But really, she said some pretty terrible things to me as well. I’d say it’s pretty big of me to be the first to break the ice and then she won’t even pick up the phone? Niiiice! Ted thought.

Thinking about the trip, Ted was super excited. These were the kinds of experiences he lived for: live, in-the-trenches service opportunities where he got to be eye-to-eye with people who were really suffering. He didn’t know how long he would be gone or what exactly would happen, but he knew that they would make a difference.

Although the truck ended up being ready by the end of the day, he knew he couldn’t leave his family without saying goodbye so he prepared himself for another violent exit as he went home to break the news.


Despite what her Mom had said about Dad, Jordan was terribly distressed and disappointed with the news that he was going to New York. Besides being afraid that there might be another attack, she also simply missed her dad! The fact that her mom had been increasingly present in her life over the past few days since 9/11 had brought that out all the more.

Ted had come home on Wednesday evening all smiles and puppy-dogs acting like nothing ever happened (Of course the younger two girls were none-the-wiser). Jordan overheard him from her bedroom playing with her sisters before their bedtime and then telling stories in the living room. Part of that process was to tell them about his coming ‘work trip’ to begin the following morning. They took it in stride.

She knew she was next. He knocked and then came in her room. “Jordan?”

“Yeah Daddy?” She turned around from her computer chair, her story on the screen behind her.

“What are you working on there?”

“Oh nothing, just a story.”

“Oh! A story?! Like for a class?”

He doesn’t even know me, she thought. “No, I just like to write in my free time.”

“Oh…well, what’s it about?” He asked genuinely curious – and kicking himself for not paying enough attention to her to know that she had a hobby like this.

“Oh you probably wouldn’t be that interested – what’s up?”

Just get this over with dad! She thought.

He didn’t know what to do with that answer but decided to take the ‘out’. “Well honey, you saw what happened in New York yesterday.”

“Yeah, why weren’t you here?”

“…um…well Daddy had to take care of some things at work – there were lots of people who needed me there—”

“We needed you here Daddy!”

This girl is too smart for her own good I swear. “Jordan, look, I’m sorry I wasn’t here and someday when you’re older I’ll explain it better to you – but the truth is that I had many many people depending on me yesterday and I couldn’t show up for all of them…”

A silence ensued.

Crap! This isn’t going well, he thought, “Listen, what I need to tell you is that I’ve been put on a team that’s going to New York–”

“Is Melissa going?” Jordan interrupted.

“…What?” How does she even know that name? Has Sally been badmouthing me to her? What the fuck?

“Is – Melissa – going?”

“…Jordan, I don’t know where you heard that name, or what you’re trying to ask me by asking that question but—”

“Is – Melissa—”

“Yes. Melissa is going. She is the project manager at Hope Seattle and she is going. Is that what you want to hear?”

“Kay; have a good trip. Goodnight.” Jordan spun around in her chair and pretended to continue typing. Tears started falling immediately.

Please don’t hug me. Please don’t hug me Please don’t hug me, she thought to herself.

Please come hug me; please come hug me; please say you’re not going. Please don’t go. Please stay. Please Daddy.

Shocked, humiliated, and cut to the heart, Ted turned and quietly shut his daughter’s door.


Jordan’s alarm woke her on Friday morning at 7:15 and she jolted awake from a deep deep sleep. She immediately felt for her panties and as they had been the previous two nights, she felt soaking wet cotton fabric. Her sheets, pajamas, bedspread, and mattress were saturated as well. Because of her wet bed (and presumably underlying stress) on Wednesday, her mom let her stay home from school yet agin. The same was true on Thursday. Both days, they had told the other girls that Jordan wasn’t feeling well and the three had laid low – this in hopes that the nighttime accident(s) might stay between Jordan and her Mom.

On this Friday morning however, she wasn’t so lucky. When she got up to go to the bathroom to get cleaned up at the relatively late hour of 7:15am, her sister Mindi was on her way to the bathroom as well and they both converged in front of the door at the same moment culminating in a collision. Mindi, although only 5, was old enough to feel and smell the urine on her older sister’s clothing.

“JORDAN? Why are you all wet? Did you have an accident? MOOOOOM! JORDAN PEEEED HER BED!” She turned and ran back down the hall toward her mom’s room to tattle.

Jordan was frozen in embarrassment.

“Mindi! STOP IT YOU LITTLE SNOT!!” Jordan hissed.

“JORDAN PEED HER BED – JORDAN PEED HER BED!” Mindi began chanting as she realized her older sister was embarrassed and becoming defensive.

The older girl was quickly losing it and quickly turned to scramble into the bathroom just as Sally popped her head into the hallway. Shushing the middle girl and ordering her into her bedroom to get changed, she made her way down the wood-clad hallway toward the bathroom carrying Jen the toddler.

“You ok Jordan?” she asked, knocking on the door. Glancing into Jordan’s bedroom, she could both see and smell the damage.

Third night in a row. That mattress is going to be ruined pretty soon, she thought to herself.

No answer.

“Jordan are you ok honey? I’m coming in.” she knocked again and turned the handle. The door began to open. Peering in she saw her daughter sitting on the white tile floor in a white night shirt tinged yellow, face blotched red, and sobbing.

“Oh Jordie…” Sally was in an awkward spot because the baby Jen had been on edge all week and she knew if she set her down, there would be screaming and drama. She decided to take the risk and just took the baby in with her. Silently moving to the far wall of the bathroom, she sat down on the floor next to her beautiful and slender girl, with the two year old on her opposite hip, none-the-wiser of the smells.

“Jordie I’m sorry this happened again. It’s just temporary I’m sure. And we will not tolerate any kind of teasing or that behavior in this house. I promise.”

She continued to cry. “…I feel like such a failure though…I feel like such a baby…I felt like I was growing up too fast and getting too big and like I wasn’t ready for everything but I didn’t want this!”

“Jordan you’re not a baby! This happens to people all the time…”

“Oh yeah like who?”

Should I tell her? Maybe she already knows. No. There’s no way she would’ve asked like that if she already knew….hmmm….yes? no? Crap! No. I can’t do that to her without permission. Sally processed as she thought about people Jordan knew.

“Well…your sister for one. She’s been wetting the bed for five years straight now; every single night without letup. It’s kind of ironic that she’s the one to give you a hard time about one little accident—”

“THREE! And she’s FIVE! I’m almost THIRTEEN!”

“Listen honey, I’m positive it’s just temporary. It’s normal for teenagers as they go through stressful times and have releases of hormones and changes in their bodies. I guarantee. You’re not alone; and this is gonna stop just as quickly as it started.”

“Well what if it doesn’t? What if my room starts stinking like Mindi’s? What if Alex finds out? What if this is still happening when I go on my 7th grade trip? What if this is still happening when I go to camp? Who’s gonna want to be my friend if they find out about this? As it is, no one wants to be my friend already!”

“Jordie. Jordie. Jordie. Calm down. Take a breath. You’re gonna be fine. It isn’t gonna smell. We’re washing everything every day. No one is going to know. And besides, it’s gonna stop (probably tonight) anyways. Just relax. You’re fine sweetie. Now let’s get you out of those wet clothes and off to school before you miss the whole week.” Sally Said smiling.

School, Jordan thought, How am I ever going to explain why I was gone all this time to Alex? She’ll see right through me. She frowned.

Re: “Stories we Tell”

Chapter 6 – [September 23, 2001]
{Trigger Warning – mild descriptions of past tense childhood abuse}

Over the weeks following 9/11, Jordan got back into the normal flow of life at school (although to her relief, it didn’t entirely return to normal). For the time being, the prayer she had prayed on the bus several weeks earlier (for the focus of everyone’s attention to shift away from her) had been answered in the most diabolical of ways.

By that point in her life however, Jordan was actually beginning to questioning the whole concept of prayer: how could God give me this and at such cost?!?! But then also cause me to wet my bed like this too?!? (also technically an answer to prayer: that she wouldn’t have to grow up and take care of herself quite yet). He can be such a sick bastard sometimes, she thought to herself guiltily.

The Reynold’s family had been to church the previous day and on the following rainy Monday morning, Jordan’s day had started off wet but incrementally improved. Mom had really turned a page in how she was treating her and Dad’s absence actually brought a different level of peace to the household. When Amber called her “Giraffe” in history class first thing in the morning, Mr. Charles overheard and went on the attack right in front of everyone. By the time he finished his lecture, Amber was the one in tears and the rest of the class was wide eyed with shock. He had gone on and on about how he and the other teachers weren’t going to tolerate that kind of nonsense anymore and that life was too short for kids at BCS not to behave like Christians to one another.

While Jordan felt vindicated, she also felt a sense of foreboding for what might come behind closed doors – outside the vantage point and protection of the faculty. But all and all, it really seemed like most of her fellow classmates had turned a new leaf and generally were treating she as well as each other with newfound respect.

In English class, Mr. Johns introduced one of the competitions he (at the beginning of the year) had told the students might come along. It was a pretty big deal according to the teacher: a short-story competition for students’ aged 12-16 and sponsored by NPR. The top 3 chosen would have theirs recorded for playback on a live national radio show! Although Jordan had sworn to herself at the beginning of the year never to share her work, the thought of winning this prize and getting the associated recognition excited her.

I wonder if my story could possibly be good enough? I am only twelve years old and that’s the bottom of the age limit. Maybe I should let Mr. Johns read my story and he can tell me if it would be worth submitting…I’ve got to finish it first!! She had committed to herself.

On her way out of class, she decided to take a flyer off Mr. Johns’ desk. He noticed and said, “Thinking about entering something Jordan?”

“Oh…well…yeah…I guess so…yeah…”

“Jordan I’m happy to hear that, I’ve appreciated reading your work so far this year. I know we’ve only just got started but I think you really have some natural talent.” He smiled.

She was flabbergasted. It was a small enough school that it was no surprise that a teacher like Mr. Johns would know his student’s names by a month into the year, but that he was aware of her work was shocking.

“R…r…really?” Jordan said.

“Of course girl! Give it a try!!!” he replied.

The truth was that he hadn’t particularly noticed her skill but that is what teachers do to encourage uber-conscious and self-critical pre-teens. He figured she would enter something and it would be a good exercise for confidence, which obviously was lacking in the social-department.

“Well…ok…I actually have been working on a story this summer…maybe I’ll let you read it…” Her heart was beating almost as hard as it had been a couple weeks ago during the terrorist attacks.

Genuinely surprised, but not wanting to let on Mr. Johns replied, “Oh for sure! That’s great! Yeah, bring it by and I can help edit it and prepare it for submission. The deadline is November 15. All entries have to be postmarked no later than that date. Bring me what you’ve got as soon as possible and we can edit it together.” He smiled and then steeled his face to a stern glare, “NOW – get to class young lady!!” Smiling again he waved.

She smiled and headed off to PE with just a touch of hope in her heart.


Ted had been in New York for about a week and a half and phone contact had been spotty to say the least. With all the emergency workers and military personnel near ground zero, cell phone lines and landlines were tied up and power itself was in and out. As far as he was concerned however, it went with the territory and he ate it up. He led his team with confidence, joy, and energy – they ended up providing ramshackle housing for hundreds of volunteers in the area there to help clean out rubble. His team fed thousands a day and encouraged tens of thousands more. Their expertise in relief work proved invaluable in supporting the workers who were on the scene first to begin clearing debris.

The longer he was there, the more disconnected he felt from his family back home in Seattle. The more he worked in tents on streets in the smoke and mud, the more at home he felt among his people, his employees, and Melissa. In a sense, Ted began questioning if Seattle was where he and his company even belonged. He seemed to be making such an amazing impact here – and clearly the amount of work and cleanup would continue into the months or even years – how could he consider going home before it was done?


Back home, Jordan could sense the urgency in her Dad’s voice for the important work he was doing in New York and she felt proud of him. At the same time, he seemed to just not be “there” with her on the phone – and this wasn’t a new feeling. It had just been exacerbated since he had been on this particular trip.

Sally felt similarly although it was more developed. In her mind, Ted seemed absent because he was connecting so fully with Melissa. He was no doubt questioning his life back here in Seattle – he was so obviously and forcefully in need on the ground in the streets of New York City that he was considering how long he could stay and what he would have to say to his wife in order to extend the trip. She was preparing herself for the conversation that would undoubtedly come. But she also was preparing to have a different sort of response.

That Monday night, after a relatively long phone conversation with the whole family, Sally told the kids she needed to talk to Ted privately. At this point, she moved to her own room on the other side of the living room from the girls’ rooms and shut the door. Although it was late, she squelched the urge to ask Jordan to get Jen ready for bed but instead whispered to her to flip on the Disney channel.

In the bedroom, she said to her husband, “We need to talk about something that’s been happening since you’ve been gone Ted.”

Nervously he answered, “Oh? What’s that?”

“Ever since the night of the attack, Jordan’s been wetting the bed…She’s been doing it every night.”

“Oh. That’s it? I thought you were going to tell—”

“Shut up Ted, this is a big deal. It’s a big deal to her; and it’s indicative of the stress level in our home. She doesn’t know how to process all the conflict she can sense between us; I think she’s having trouble with friends at school; I had been putting a lot of pressure on her to help me around the house because you’re gone with work so much; and finally with the attacks, I think she just snapped – and now we have Noah’s flood every morning.”

“…hmmm…well can’t you just give her some of Mindi’s things until it passes?”

“TED! I don’t want to mortify the poor girl! She’s stressed out and traumatized enough! When I took her shopping – (the shopping you were supposed to do with her remember?), she nearly had a coronary when I suggested she try on a bra! That’s something every girl her age starts wearing at about this point in life. Now imagine I suggest she starts wearing her 5 year old sister’s pull-ups! That’s going to go over well…”

“Ok, Ok, Ok…So if you don’t want my solution, why are you telling me this then?” He barked defensively.

“Ted, we need to work on our marriage…we need to fix this. Jordan’s bedwetting is just a symptom of what’s happening between us. It’s telling us something. We’re in trouble.”

The line was very quiet.

“Ted?”

Sally could hear him breathing.

“I’ve got to go Sally.” The phone clicked. And that was it.

Dumbfounded and outraged, Sally redialed his number. Voicemail.

What the fuck? BASTARD!! She was probably getting him off right then and there as I was talking to him on the phone. Fucking bitch! She couldn’t help but process vivid scenes and judgments through her mind.


While her mom put the girls to bed, Jordan spent some time working on her story, it had been more than a few days since she had dedicated any time at all to the tale and now that she had committed to entering it into the NPR competition, she wanted to think through the plot line before putting anymore paragraphs together.

SO – father and son travel to Mars – meet alien race who have been marooned, scratch that, abandoned there by their own people – how should the story end? Hmmm. Maybe son and dad are having problems of their own? Maybe the son feels like I do – forced to grow up a little too quick and so he’s all alone – so he relates really well with the aliens. Maybe he’s the one who sides with them and convinces his dad that they should try to intervene. As he does, and as they work together to fix their broken ship and facilitate a miraculous alien exit, he realizes that his dad hasn’t abandoned him, but that he has been with him all along. Yes! This is going to be amazing!!!

Just then, Jordan heard a knock on her door. Nearly an hour had passed although it felt like only five minutes.

“Come in Mom.” She left her computer monitor on and turned around.

The door opened and her mom poked her head in before finding a seat on her daughter’s bed.

“How’re you doing Jordan?” Sally knew this conversation wasn’t going to be fun.

“Fiiiieeene….” Jordan responded quizzically.

“Well it’s been almost two weeks now honey – and you haven’t had a dry night yet.”

“I know…and…” Jordan wasn’t dumb. She had been dreading this too.

“Well, I am worried about this poor mattress…it’s gonna be ruined pretty quick if it’s not already. And it’ll start stinking without a doubt. So listen, I bought this plastic sheet to put on there. I don’t want you to feel like a toddler or something Jordan but I just think it’s a waste to destroy a perfectly good mattress.”

A look of embarrassment with a tinge of relief came over Jordan’s face as it turned red. “O…ook…Mom…”. Knowing how pragmatic her mother could be, Jordan had been thinking that her mom was going to suggest pull-ups or something of the sort.

“Listen, I’ll continue to wash your things whenever it happens and I’m sure it will slow down anytime. We don’t want to have any smell in your room. Can you come tell me when you have had an accident though? I’m not sure I can keep track of everyone’s wetting in the whole house on a consistent basis? Will that feel like too much pressure on you right now?”

“Nnn…nn…no…I think I can d…do that Mom.”

Sally got up and reached into the hall and grabbed the store sack waiting outside. The sheet was thick, white and crinkly with a large zipper down one side. When Sally and Jordan got all the sheets and bedpad of the mattress, the teenager was able to see the extent of her bodily fluids: large yellow/brown stains were already forming in circlets on the mattress (and she could smell it too).

“Here we go honey, help me get this on, it covers it all around and will help with the smell too.”

The two wrestled with the mattress for several minutes before the cover was on the mattress as well as matching covers on the pillows. After that, the two got the sheets and bedding repositioned and the few stuffed animals back in place. Everything looked normal once again. But when Jordan sat down on the bed, the crinkle and feel was unmistakable. She couldn’t help but bow her head and cry.

“I feel like such a baby.”

“Jordie dear, this is just a temporary thing that will be gone in no time. You are growing into a beautiful woman and this will end up being a blip on the radar. Why do you think they sell these things at WalMart? Is it because it’s super rare that people need them? Nope! They sell them there because it’s super common! Now get your butt ready for bed.”

With that, she gave her daughter a hug and got up and walked out of the room.


With the lights out and lying in bed on the crinkly plastic surface, Jordan decided to call her friend Alex. They had, of course, hung out since 9/11 and she had seemed to recover from her meltdown that day but Jordan had still felt awkward around her. Although Jordan had been afraid Alex was going to be suspicious of all the school she missed the week of 9/11, as it turned out, Alex missed the rest of the week as well for her own reasons.

Jordan didn’t really know what to say about what had happened – or even if Alex had remembered what happened. The two talked for a long time that night: about the mood of the school, about how things had changed after the attack, about the coming competition and Jordan’s entry, about Joe Michael, and Alex’s Volleyball team.

Eventually, Jordan drummed up enough courage to ask Alex about what had caused her to ‘freak out’ like that on the pone. A long silence ensued before either said anything.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have brought it up.” Jordan tried to rescue the awkward moment.

“No it’s ok Jordan. Really. I’m just trying to think about how to say this…. Before my dad went to treatment this summer, things were really bad at home. He came home drunk almost every day – sometimes he never left – and when he was drinking he was so so so awful—”

“But I thought your dad was like a doctor or something?”

“Well it’s a pretty big secret in our house – no one was supposed to know because if they did then he couldn’t work anymore or something. But I don’t know, it’s weird, it’s like he could just flip a switch and be fine the next day or a few hours later – and then just be this total monster at home. One time he locked me and my mom outside our house all night. We couldn’t call anyone to stay over because then they’d know about his problem so we just slept with the dog.”

“Wait – Alex – what? You slept outside all night? With the dog?”

Alex was starting to cry.

“You don’t even know Jordan – that’s the least that’s happened. He has beat my mom up so many times – I can’t even tell you…But it’s like we can’t tell anyone because if anyone knows or hears about it, he’ll lose his job and we’ll have to move out and I won’t be able to go to school, and my mom doesn’t even have a degree or anything and what’ll we do?”

She was crying even harder…

Jordan was beginning to grasp – as well as a twelve year old can – how much the trauma of this kind of abuse had affected her friend. In some ways she could relate to the chaos at home but in other ways she couldn’t imagine what it would be like. She felt horrible. As the conversation winded down, Jordan felt drawn to tell her friend about her recent bed-wetting episodes. She went around and around in her mind as Alex went around and around about her experiences. Finally Jordan elected to keep it to herself.

Now isn’t the time, she decided.

The two hung up and Jordan felt herself feeling grateful for such an Amazing person to call ‘friend’ once again.

Re: “Stories we Tell”

Chapter 7 – [October 31, 2001]

It was the week of Halloween and tall brunette’s bedwetting hadn’t let up since September. Night after night with hardly a break Jordan had saturated her bedding; and morning after morning, her mother had come to the rescue. Sally had either helped her get changed and into the bath or simply taken care of the laundry if Jordan had already gotten up herself. On more than a few days, the pre-teen had forgotten her agreement to alert Sally of the mess and had skipped off to school with wet sheets on the bed only to be discovered later. Although Sally was doing her very best to stay patient with her, it was becoming more and more difficult not to think of her the adult she was beginning to resemble. The Monday of that week, Sally had made an appointment for Jordan to see her own OB/GYN physician for her first feminine checkup. The appointment was set for two days after Halloween, Friday morning.

It’s time, she had thought to herself, and besides, maybe he can give us some advice on this bedwetting problem on the same visit; it’s gone on long enough!

Ted had told Sally he’d be home from his lengthy relief trip to Ground Zero in New York early on Halloween morning and planned to take the kids out trick-or-treating. Some people from their church were boycotting the holiday but each of the Reynold’s parents’ families participated when they were younger and as adults, they had never deprived their own kids of the fun. Sensing the ongoing distance Ted had put in their relationship over the course of his trip, Sally couldn’t help but feel as though there could be another Halloween surprise in store that evening.


On Halloween morning, Jordan’s bed was wet yet again. However, because it was becoming the norm, it wasn’t such a frightening experience on the day of fright. It had happened 42 times since the Twin Towers fell and she hadn’t had 2 dry nights in a row.

On the bright side however, she had completed her short-story about Mars the previous night at about 1am and given it the title “Together in Space”. She felt super proud – and also excited about showing it to Mr. Johns for the first time. Yet she also felt a sense of apprehension…

He said he likes my work; but what if he doesn’t like THIS? What if I really actually suck at writing? What if he tells me I’m no good? What if he doesn’t want me to enter it?

The warm stream of self-doubt was jarred loose by a knock at her door. She hadn’t yet made it out of bed or changed out of her wet sleep-shorts or shirt and this morning the pee had made it all the way into her long hair! Looking up from her wet crinkly plastic lined pillow, she realized it wasn’t Mom at the door but Dad!

Reacting in embarrassment and fear rather than excitement, she (somewhat reluctantly) pulled her wet blankets up higher to try to cover her shameful state.

“Good morning honey,” he said poking his head in the door.

“Morning…Daddy…” she mumbled.

“…Jordie…it’s ok honey…I know about what’s been happening at night…” (Little did Jordan realize – the obvious smell of ammonia was too overpowering to ignore anyways).

She didn’t know what to say. I thought Mom said she was going to keep it a secret… she thought.

“Jordan listen, Mom told me while I was gone because she was concerned about you and about all the stress you were feeling here at home. I’m sorry if you’re embarrassed – I just wanted to come say good morning…”

“…okay…?”

She incredulously refused to surrender any more information at that awkward moment in that awkward state. And her stubbornness was especially firm because of the distance that had seemed to grow between them in her Dad’s absence over the past month. She looked at him as if to will him out the door.

“Well I’m back now from New York. We did a lot of good. I hope you understand why I had to go….”

“…yeah…?” she looked at him pleadingly.

“…uh…I’ll let you get up and get ready.”

“Thanks.”

Well that was awkward. And what was it all about anyways? Jordan thought.


Jordan had been so caught up in her writing and the stress of her bedwetting that she hadn’t put much thought into a Halloween costume that year. As a consequence, the best idea that came to her late on Thursday afternoon was ‘a ghost’. An old retired sheet was good enough for the task and she deftly cut holes out for her eyes and that was that. Mindi (surprise, surprise) went as a princess and the baby was dressed as a Puppy. The neighborhood near their house was full of homes ready and willing for trick-or-treaters so the three girls and Ted set off on foot in the immediate vicinity. For an inexplicable reason from Jordan’s perspective, Sally stayed at home.

At one point during the evening, Mindi scampered up a long pathway to someone’s house and Ted began talking strangely to Jordan.

“You know Jordan, sometimes adults like to try new things. You know how you like to go to the mall and try on clothes?” (She didn’t wait for her to tell him ‘no’) “Well adults like to do that sometimes too…but in different ways…”

After what seemed like an eternal monologue about clothing, fast food, bubblegum, and hot dogs, he finally got to his point: which was that he was going to move out of the house and into an apartment in Belltown, the trendy neighborhood on the northwest end of downtown Seattle, just around the corner from Hope.

This made Jordan’s heart pound with anxiety – harder than she had ever felt it. Her face turned red under the ghost sheet. Her skin began to sweat. Tears formed in her eyes. She had had no idea this was where his odd speech was headed.

She knew he had been distant. She knew he had been over in New York with his team. She knew Melissa had been there with him. She knew he and Mom hadn’t been doing well.

But this?

Jordan couldn’t respond and Ted took her silence for tacit support. “In all honesty honey, we’ll probably move right back in together and it’ll be just like old times in no time. Who knows? We just need some time to figure things out.”

Jordan’s head was spinning. She didn’t trust him. She wanted to run. She didn’t believe anything he was saying.

Full of feelings of betrayal and anger and sadness, all she could do was cry silently under her sheet. Once again she felt utterly alone – and completely unseen.


Later that evening when she ran into Alex who was also out trick-or-treating, Jordan grabbed her unsuspecting friend and pulled her into a driveway behind an SUV. She quickly relayed the whole story while the smaller girls and her Dad went on ahead. Alex wasn’t nearly as dismayed as Jordan thought she ought to be. Alex no doubt listened and seemed to recognize that this was painful for Jordan but as a twelve-year-old herself, it was simply too difficult for her to break away from her own world long enough to deeply empathize with other human beings. Alex had had an incredibly stressful couple of weeks too with the PTSD flare-up and all…. Jordan possessed the same kind of immaturity although she wasn’t herself aware if it. Never-the-less it was a painful realization: wow. I feel like I’m losing everyone…a real life horror story.


Sally came into Jordan’s room that evening to talk. She had wanted to tell her about Ted’s decision (it was unilateral) to move out all day – but had been dreading it. He had insisted on presenting the choice to Jordan it as a mutual one – and on his own terms during the Halloween walk.

Sitting on her bed Sally began, “Jordie I’m sorry you had to find out about what’s happening that way. It’s what your Dad wanted to do though. I don’t want to drag you into the middle of this – it isn’t about you – it isn’t your fault and you didn’t cause any of it. I don’t’ want you to carry around the weight of this on your shoulders. Okay?”

“K.” Jordan pushed out through clenched teeth.

“Your Dad is gonna move out for a week or two to figure some things out and he’ll be back lickity split—”

“But he’s just been gone for 5 weeks,” Jordan interrupted, “couldn’t he have figured out what he needs to figure out while he was gone?”

She has a point, Sally thought, For God’s sake, why does this child have to be so mature in some ways and so immature in others?….Should I tell her? Should she know about what’s really going on? Is it her right? What’s appropriate here for a twelve year old?

“Listen Jordie, I probably shouldn’t be telling you this but I want this to make a little more sense to you – Dad told me he’s been having sex with Melissa….”

Silence hung in the room.

“…You remember when we talked about sex a couple years ago when you asked where babies come from?”

“Mom! I know what sex is!” (the truth was that she only sort of had a vague idea but she at least knew that it was a big deal and from her Christian upbringing, she knew it was only supposed to happen between married people) “And WHAT?”

“That’s all I know. Your Dad came home and said he and Melissa did some things while they were in New York…and that he needs some time to decide if he’s in love with her…” Sally’s voice choked up slightly, “…and that he’s moving out. I told him that I’d rather not he move out…but I’m obviously really hurt…” she choked up again, now crying but still trying to be as precise with her words as possible, “…and angry by what he’s done…I’m not going to tell you any more Jordan and It’s probably not appropriate that I’ve told you this much but it’s the truth.” Tears streaked her cheek.

Jordan felt completely enraged and at the same time completely betrayed.

“I…I…I can’t believe this…I can’t…I just…I…” She shook her head and stared straight at her open maw of a messy closet across the room. Sally rubbed her back.

They sat in silence for a long time and Sally motherly caressed her, still crying herself. Eventually she said, “It’s time to go to bed by dear; you need your sleep.”

As she crawled under her white comforter and her Mom clicked off the lights, Jordan thought about the new Halloween nightmare to be added to the mix.

When is this gonna end? I’m not praying one more time for God to put a stop to it though; he just makes it worse!!


In the morning, Jordan woke up wet (as what was becoming the usual). This time however, she fairly quickly noticed an unusual (and foul) odor. Confused, she pulled up the covers to look and the smell became overpowering.

What the hell?! Am I pooping the bed too now?

She sat up and peered down between her legs. Along with the normal circles of wetness surrounding her and running up her chest, she saw streaks and blotches of dark brownish red; the obvious source of the smell. Pulling down the front of her panties and looking down, she saw even more of the disgusting brownish substance.

OH. MY. GOSH. What is happening to me?

She cried out, “MOOOOM!!!”, and sat there in bed frozen; not knowing what to do next.

Moment’s later, Sally popped her head in the door – and couldn’t help but crinkle her nose in response to the pungent smell. Oh Lord, When it rains it pours!

Jordan had begun her first period overnight in addition to her nightly wetting. I’m not sure I can take this anymore, Sally thought as she confidently moved to her daughter’s bed.

“Oh honey, you’re gonna be just fine.” She said as she smiled.

Pulling the covers off her frightened daughter she thought, this truly is a Halloween of terrors.

Re: “Stories we Tell”

Chapter 8 – [November 2, 2001]

The nightmarish discovery was made still early in the morning. Despite Jordan’s fearful bellows to her Mom, the younger girls miraculously hadn’t woken up. As showered, Sally slipped into the bathroom and sat on the toilet, slightly around the corner from the shower/tub combo.

“Jordie?”

“Yeah?”

“We need to talk.”

“…Uh…ok…”

“So what do you think happened last night…in your bed I mean…?”

“…um…well…I guess…Um…I pooped the bed? Or had diarrhea or something?”

Sally almost laughed out loud. Oh how cute. She smiled.

“Listen honey, it wasn’t poop so you don’t need to worry about that.”

“What?” She poked her head out of the shower curtain. “Well what was it then?”

“Jordan! It was blood.” Sally said almost correctively.

A look of complete confusion came across Jordan’s face.

How can this child not know about periods at her age? I thought we had talked to her about ‘the time of the month’ years ago?! Didn’t we go on that long weekend thing a couple years ago where we told her all about the birds and the bees and whatnot? Hasn’t she talked about this in health class at school? Sally processed in her mind.

“Jordan do you remember when we talked about sex and babies and penises and vulvas and condoms and everything – and how at the same time we talked about how women get ‘their time of the month’?”

“Well yeah…” Jordan replied now almost incredulously for this was a phrase she knew.

“Jordan – last night you had the beginning of your very first first ‘time of the month’…”

But now, shock poured across face with the warm water. Although this time it was hidden inside the shower curtain.

“Wait, I thought ‘time of the month’ just meant a few days when women get cranky. That’s what you said mom; it’s a few days when women get cranky…. Now you’re telling me it’s different? Momma!?”

Oh Jeez; what did we do to this poor creature?! Dear God forgive me.

“Well crankiness can be part of it Jordie, but the primary symptom that takes place is bleeding… You bleed between your legs – from your vagina.”

“Like from where I pee?” She asked genuinely confused.

Oh for God’s sake. She’s becoming more childlike by the second.

“No, from the vagina, that’s the other opening down there…”

“I have more than one?”

Christ! Am I really doing this? Is this really happening right now?

“Jordan, I’m not gonna give an anatomy lesson to you right now here in the bathroom but if you want me to get you some pictures or something, I can. Really you just need to check things out down there for yourself with a mirror and you’ll see what you’ve got. There’s nothing wrong with being a little curious. But yes – you have more than one opening….and the blood comes from the same place a baby will eventually come if you ever get pregnant.”

“Ew. Gross!” Jordan frowned, trying not to look down.

“Well it can be – but it’s also pretty amazing too… And it’s just part of being a young woman….Now – we need to talk some about we women cope with this stuff.”

Jordan turned off the water but left the curtain closed. “Can I have a towel?” Sally tossed one over.

“Different women use different kinds of products to absorb the blood. Periods can last 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 days – sometimes more even. You never know; it’s different for everyone. And while it might be nice to just shut your life down and stay in bed that whole time, we can’t do that in the modern world.”

Opening the curtain, Jordan stepped out with towel wrapped around her. It went through Sally’s mind that it was curious how her daughter’s modesty had ebbed and flowed through this bedwetting episode. She didn’t blame her today for being a little skiddish.

Sally went on to describe different options for feminine products and even showed her daughter her own master bathroom drawer full of such supplies. In genuine wonder, Jordan took several items and thanked her Mom for the tips and assistance. Sally had told that they would go shopping together and that Jordan could pick out whatever she wanted after she had got a feel for what she liked.

“Before you go Jordan, we need to talk about a different kind of protection.” The pre-teen wasn’t expecting this – but she hadn’t been expecting the other conversation either so she listened with curiosity.

“A few weeks ago, we made an agreement that you would come and tell me when you had wet in the night so I would be sure to take care of laundering your bedding and pajamas. As we both know, some of the time I get you up and help you get changed and showered in the morning and obviously on those days I know when you’re wet or not. Other days, you’ve been getting up on your own and very often, you’ve been forgetting your end of the agreement. On three days just this past week, I’ve gone into your room after you’ve left for school to find your bed soaking wet. Now listen…I took care of it; I washed stuff…but this isn’t gonna work long term. Your room is starting to smell already and if you have friends over they’re gonna know; our washer is gonna wear out early and that isn’t gonna be cheap; and your bedding is gonna to have to be replaced. We need a better solution than this…”

Jordan listened – letting her Mom’s words sink in – trying to grasp the implications.

“And now that you’re bleeding on top of the wetting, sheets are straight up going to be ruined. It’s a waste dear. So here’s what’s gonna happen Jordie sweetie – until you can be dry at night for a while, you’re gonna start wearing pull-ups to bed.”

The word was like a drumbeat from hell. PULL-UPS.

Pull-ups? Pull-ups? Why don’t you just say DIAPERS Mom? She thought as she turned red and began to pile new beads of sweat on her forehead. Her heart thumped in her chest uncontrollably (which actually seemed like an odd reaction to the girl at the time).

Noticing the redness and sweat immediately, “I knew you weren’t going to like this idea but it’s the best one we’ve got at this point. No one has to know and I’m going to expect you to deal with it like a young woman. If you need help, I’ll help you. But this is how it’s gonna be…OK?”

“Kay.” She said through clenched teeth.

“Now. One more thing – earlier this week I made an appointment for you to see my doctor. The appointment with Dr. Yepp is for tomorrow…”

“Moooom! I DON’T want to go see the doctor about this stuff!”

“Listen Jordan. Every woman has to go to the lady doctor – it’s part of the territory. Your bedwetting needs to be evaluated anyways and now that you’ve started having periods, you’re ready for feminine exams. We’ve been assuming the wetting is all emotionally driven which I still think it is, but there’s always the possibility something medially is wrong. It’s been going on long enough and we need you to get checked out. Since Dad is back, he’s taking off work and you are taking off school tomorrow to go with me to see the doctor.”

Ugh, Jordan thought, pee, blood, pads, diapers, and now a girl doctor? I hate growing up into a woman!


Jordan and her mom sat in the sterile smelling doctor’s office side by side. Small rows of flowers decorated the wallpaper on the waiting room walls and the coffee tables were covered with parenting and pregnancy magazines. Women of all sizes and ages walked in and out of the office and waited alongside the pair in the pink space.

The previous afternoon, Jordan had told her best friend Alex about getting her first period and she had been ecstatic.

“REALLY?!?!? I’m so happy for you! Are you sore? Do you have cramps? What does it feel like? Did you try to use a tampon? What about PMS – do you feel like a bitch?!”

“Honestly Alex I wish you could have it and not me,” Jordan had complained. She couldn’t understand why Alex was so curious and excited about it – or how she knew so much about the topic even.

Sitting in the doctor’s office, Jordan wished she could crawl under the chair, hide, and die. The last thing she wanted anyone to do was to look at her privates right now. The previous night her mom had given her one of Mindi’s pull-ups blindly assuming that the fit would be universal. But on the 5’8" 145lb young woman with widening hips, a 5 year old’s size 2T pull-up was hardly a match. Jordan complained that it wasn’t going to work and the sides started ripping immediately as she got it on and into bed. Her mom dismissed the complaints as excuses to get out of wearing the undergarment and marched off to take care of the other girls. That Friday morning, Jordan had been greeted by a pull-up completely torn on one side, almost dry, and a bed full of urine and blood. It was an almost useless appliance.

Sally herself had seen the damage when she went in to wake her daughter.

Mercy, I guess she wasn’t just trying B.S. me with all that complaining. I’ll have to go find her a bigger size, Sally had thought.

“Jordan Reynolds?” The nurse called out into the room full of women.

Jordan and Sally stood up and walked toward the smiling lady at the open door. She introduced herself as Anne and took Jordan’s weight and height before guiding the pair to a room.

“Alright, I need you to take everything off and put on this gown.” she said handing Jordan what appeared to be a disposable tablecloth.

Jordan did a double take at the paper garment and looked back at her Mom to verify that she hadn’t been misled with the request.

“Sorry honey but this is what we women have to go through for the joy of getting to bring babies into the world. Super – Right?”

Jordan muscled out a smile.

The details of the examination were a blur to Jordan. The whole experience was terribly surreal and embarrassing. She recalled moments that hurt and others with odd sensations and pressures. Luckily her mom did the majority of the talking. She vaguely remembered the doctor giving all kinds of information about STDs and having sex and condoms and pregnancy and things that seemed totally irrelevant to her life. But when her mom started taking about bedwetting and “protection” such as diapers, Jordan’s attention was drawn a little more forward; part of her wanted to scream and stop her mom from telling all these personal details form her life – but it was too late.

“Well Jordan, you need to know that enuresis (that’s the medical term for bedwetting) is very common for kids – and although it becomes less common the older kids get, you should know that given the odds, in a school the size of yours (500), upwards of 30 or 40 students wet their beds and possibly more. You are by no means alone.”

Jordan didn’t respond. The information was helpful and interesting but at that moment, she was still sitting on an exam table essentially naked in front of a stranger in a paper robe.

“Many things can cause the kind of problem you’ve been experiencing and so far – I haven’t noticed anything in your exam that leads me to feel suspicious. We’ll have you leave a urine specimen before you leave but I suspect that will be clear.”

She nodded.

“One thing I noticed is that your tonsils are rather enlarged which in children can sometimes indicate Sleep Apnea; and Sleep Apnea can be one cause of bedwetting although it is odd that it would have such an immediate onset. However, I’d still like to have you do a sleep study just to clear that as a possible cause.”

That sounded interesting but still – Paper gown!

“Now – to manage your symptoms in the meantime, there are several options available. One of the most common is to simply set an alarm to wake you up say 2 or 3 times each night to go to the bathroom.”

Oh that sounds fantastic, Jordan thought.

“Others choose to limit liquids in the evenings and for sure choosing not to drink anything with caffeine after say 2pm, will be a good bet. An besides, a girl your age shouldn’t be drinking caffeine much anyways. Some patients have found some success with certain medications although it seems to be more helpful with younger individuals and since I suspect that Apnea might be an underlying cause, it doesn’t seem like starting a regime would make much sense at this point.”

Jordan forced a nod, still terribly uncomfortable.

“Finally, many patients treat their symptoms by doing some combination of those things while also wearing some sort of protective undergarment. That’s up to you and your mom to decide but it’s an option that’s available and there are good products on the market today.”

Sally chimed in, “Actually doctor, we’ve already started down that path as of last night.”

“I think that’s more than reasonable at this point. Now, for the sleep study, you’ll come into the hospital in a couple weeks or so and stay overnight. The technicians will put a whole array of wires and electrodes all over your head and chest and arms and neck and through them, we’ll monitor your sleep and determine if you quit breathing during the night. If you do, that’s what we call sleep apnea and it may be causing your wetting.”

That got her attention. “Wait – I have to come sleep at the hospital overnight?”

“Well, yes. That’s how we get all the data about your sleep cycles.”

“But what if I wet while I’m here?”

“Oh I assure you Jordan, we’ve seen everything; it’s perfectly normal. Not to worry.”

But she did. And with the study just 2 weeks away, she had plenty of time to fret.

Re: “Stories we Tell”

Chapter 9 – [November 2-15, 2001]

On the way home from the Doctor’s office, Sally and Jordan stopped at Fred Meyer to look for a larger size of pull-ups. It was still mid-Friday morning and so the young girl knew most of her peers were at school. Yet she nevertheless felt apprehensive that someone would witness them shopping for the babyish items.

The store was located down by the canal connecting Lake Union to the Puget Sound. It was a pretty area of the city – almost industrial on first glance with a great deal of small workshops and boat yards and auto repair garages – yet it also had a cute commercial district with sidewalks and lampposts and newly planted shrubbery to accompany condos and apartment buildings under construction.

When they entered, Sally walked straight toward the “Diapers and Baby Care” aisle which was located directly in the center of the store. Jordan followed sheepishly behind staring down at her shoes and the white tiled floor. Sally pushed no cart and carried no basket for the focus of her visit was solitary: bedwetting supplies for her daughter. As they walked down the aisle, Jordan saw the myriad of brands and sizes of diapers and she felt embarrassed to be in that section of the store – and FOR HER!!! Scanning the shelves of Pampers, Huggies, and generic brand diapers, Sally finally saw what she was looking for: the largest size of Pull-ups available. Reaching out to grab the brightly colored pink package complete with Disney’s Minnie Mouse, she read out loud, “4T-5T 38-50 pounds. Hmm…. How much did they say you weighed at the doctor’s office this morning dear 146.5?”

“MOOOM!” the reddening girl exclaimed.

“Jordan! I saw how you tore Mindi’s Pull-Up to pieces last night – you need something bigger and I’m trying to figure that out for you. She uses 2T so I bet these ones will stretch to your size much better…”

“You don’t have to shout it for the world to hear though!!” Jordan barked defensively, red from the neck up. If she could’ve melted into a puddle, she would’ve done it.

“Ok then, let’s go.” Heading toward the front, the two made their way to the register carrying the humiliating product.

Without saying a word but giving Jordan a knowing smile, the checker put the pink package in a plastic sack and gave Sally the total. She paid and the two exited – no worse for wear – and surprisingly no drama.

I can’t believe it’s over, Jordan thought, I never want to do that again.


That night when it was time for bed, Sally knocked on Jordan’s door and came in. “Jordie dear are you all ready for bed?”

She was typing on her computer and mumbled an incoherent response.

“Jordan – I want to make sure your night pants are going to work for you – have you tried one yet?”

She hadn’t – in fact she had been both dreading and delaying the eventuality.

“No mom. Not yet.”

“Ok well get one on, I wanna see how they fit.”

“O-KAYE! Gimme a sec!” she said with a little edge of condescension.

Sally stood in the open door waiting.

Jordan got up and began fiddling through her dresser for pajamas and then located the bag of Pull-Ups in the bottom drawer, already covered up by a heavy sweater. Opening it, she pulled out the pink papery article with Minnie-Mouse printed faintly all over the front. The package read ‘NEW! Minnie Disappears when Wet!’.

Jordan felt ashamed.

She looked up at her mom. “Can I have a little privacy please?”

“Oh. Sure.” Sally pulled the door closed as she waited outside. The other two girls were just down the hall in the living room playing; still not ready for bed themselves.

Jordan removed her street clothes and panties. She was still in the middle of her first period of her life. Being new to the whole experience and since she expected to get even messier that night, she decided to forego a shower until morning. The pre-teen proceeded to open up the childlike underwear and examine them. She noticed little channels inside created by gathers that seemed to stand vertically on end (must be to keep all the pee in) and the padding itself felt quite soft albeit thin. The pull-up also seemed still rather small even though it was obviously bigger than the one she had torn so easily the night before. She put her long legs through each hole and rather quickly slid the diaper up her body. When it reached her thighs, the left side rapidly gave way and ripped in half – seemingly giving less resistance than the one she had worn the night before.

“CRAP!” she whispered violently under he breath.

“Jordan how’s it going in there?” Her Mom’s muffled voice came through the closed door.

Jordan ignored it. Naked from the waist down, she started to sweat a little and quickly grabbed a second Pull-Up, throwing the first in her bedside trashcan. This time, she opened the diaper up and didn’t bother examining it. Pulling it up a little more tenderly this time, it ripped once more on the left side as it got to her hips – albeit not as thoroughly. Even though the garment was all the way up, it only stayed on by a couple strands and once she took a step toward her bed for the pajama pants she had prepared, it too ripped completely away.

Shit! What the hell is wrong with me? I can’t even wear a diaper correctly. She thought to herself.

“Jordan are you having a problem?” Sally asked as she put her ear to the door and waited. “Answer me.”

“…They keep ripping mom. They’re too small.” Jordan finally said.

“WHAT?” Sally opened the door wide just as Jordan was tossing the second torn garment in her bedside trashcan. She was still completely bare from her waist down and made a move to cover herself. “Oh knock it off young lady, I’ve seen it all many times even this past month – relax – I’m not gonna have you waste our hard earned money by being careless with these things. Now get over here!”

Sally pointed at the floor beneath her feet.

Pulling another Pull-Up out of the bag of 24, Sally walked over and sat on the bed, holding it out for her daughter to step in. As Jordan complied, Sally couldn’t help notice the odd juxtaposition this situation created: a baby garment combined side by side with the hair growth, blood streaked skin, and breast-buds of early womanhood clearly on display before her.

For Jordan, it wasn’t just odd, it was humiliating on the basest of levels. Today had been perhaps the worst day of her life. Bleeding and smelly she had awoken in bed, only then to have her privates probed by a doctor before shopping for diapers for herself after which having her mom dress her in one before bed!

How can this POSSIBLY get any worse? the teenage girl couldn’t help but think.

Just then Mindi walked down the hall to the bathroom, passing Jordan’s open door. It was natural to glance inside and even more natural to take a long look at the sight. “Jordan? Why are you naked? And are you bleeding? Are you ok? And…why is mommy putting a pull-up on you?”

“Mindi dear, please shut the door, this is private.” Sally said firmly.

“But moooooom! She’s bleeding!” Now pointing toward Jordan’s exposed genitals, “Is she ok? And is that why she’s wearing Pull-Ups?”

This alerted Jen to scamper down the wood-clad-hall to catch whatever action was occurring on the south end of the house. She watched with wordless wonder as well; albeit much closer than her sister.

With the peanut gallery in full view, Sally pulled up the Pull-Up the rest of the way and ran into the same problem Jordan had experienced before – her hips were simply too wide for such small underwear. They ripped once again just the same.

“What is wrong with these pieces of junk!! I though they were supposed to be bigger! Take it off.” Sally was getting frustrated.

“Mom!!”

“Jordan. Now.”

“Can you at least make them leave?”

“Mindi – bathroom, then bed. Jen – go play with your toys. Mindi, shut the door.” They knew she meant business and followed orders rapidly.

Three Pull-Ups later, Sally’s third attempt fared better and appeared to hold together on Jordan’s growing frame. “Ok let’s hope this works tonight…maybe you just have to be super careful when you put them on…?”

Jordan was silent in her shame. I can’t - believe - this just happened to me. I simply can’t believe it.

As she crawled into bed wearing only the Pull-Up and a t-shirt however, the young girl felt the tiniest tinge of a new and strange feeling: peace.

That’s odd, she thought as she drifted off to sleep.


Over the weekend, Sally continued to help Jordan into the undersized Minnie Mouse Pull-Ups. Each morning she awoke with blood and pee all over her bedding and pajamas and one or both of the sides of the Pull-Ups were completely torn. Although they did serve to soak up some of the mess, this larger size was still not doing enough to justify the expense.

That same weekend, Jordan had gone on Sunday afternoon with her sisters to spend time with her Dad in downtown Seattle. A colleague had lent him a fancy black Mercedes sedan with leather seats to drive and he had picked the three of them up at home and had taken them to lunch in Belltown to this fancy Japanese restaurant. To Jordan’s dismay, Melissa had met the foursome there and Ted had introduced his girls to her as “my friend” (rather than coworker as they had always known her). Jordan had been the only one who was old enough to know the truth – and he had not yet been aware that Sally had told her.

She had felt utterly disgusted at her father’s duplicity and rejection – but also sick to her stomach because of her ongoing menstrual cycle. At one point, Melissa had gone into the bathroom at the same time as Jordan to check on her and asked if she was alright. Snottily Jordan had replied back “I’m fine – I can take care of it just fine myself; I don’t need YOUR help.”

Before going home, the group had gone down to the waterfront and visited the aquarium together. The younger girls liked Melissa and her fun-loving nature. She had run and played with Mindi, carried Jen on her hip, and laughed and talked with her dad like they belonged together. They don’t know any better, Jordan had thought.

Later in evening, they had visited an ice cream shop and Melissa had announced that the girls could pick out ‘anything they wanted’. Mindi had giggled with glee, “Momma always says we can only get one scoop.”

Ted had just glowed – Jordan had scowled.


By the time they returned to the house on 22nd Avenue in Ballard, the 3 girls squished in the back were tired and Jordan in particular was irritable and frustrated. She bounded out of the car without so much as a thank-you or hug for her Dad (let alone Melissa). Ignoring his calls, she slammed the hardwood front door and stomped into her bedroom.

“What’s wrong with you?” Sally asked as her daughter stormed through the living room to the back of the house.

Soon enough, Sally knew. She could see the shadow of a woman in the fancy black Mercedes – a woman who had not been there when her husband had picked the girls up. That was all the information she needed.

What an audacious prick. She thought.


Monday at school was a big day for Jordan. Mr. Johns had promised her he would finish editing her short story by then and give a report about what the thought needed to happen with it before she submitted it to the NPR competition.

When the time came for her second period English class, Jordan nearly sprinted down the stamped concrete hallways past the gymnasium and into her favorite teacher’s room. Behind his desk she looked at him with eyes wide and expectant, “So?”

“You’ll have to wait until after class Ms. Reynolds,” he said.

“What? I’ve been waiting for days Mr. Johns! Can’t you tell me something?”

“Nope.” He smiled widely.

She smiled back. That’s enough.

At the end of class, Mr. Johns explained to Jordan how he was genuinely surprised with the quality of her work (and that was the God’s honest truth) – he said that if she had turned in the story as a class project, it would have earned an A+ simply in it’s draft form and he would be using it as an “example piece” for years to come. His compliments were heartfelt, kind, and mature (with appropriate teacher-student boundaries). She felt extremely proud.

“So you’re probably wondering what you need to do to get it ready for the competition?”

“Um, Yeah,” she smiled, standing nearly eye to eye with her teacher.

“Well I’ve marked your copy with some suggestions on stylistic adjustments and minor grammatical issues – but in truth, I think it’s largely ready to go. If you spend a few more hours on it, you’ll be there. Here’s a packet with all the instructions on how it has to be printed and formatted for the competition. Make sure you follow these exactly – if it’s not right, they’ll reject it without even reading it. I’d be happy to check it again before you send it just to be sure. Remember that it needs to have a postmark on it by November 15. That’s 10 days from today.”

Jordan felt beyond thrilled. In some ways her life was falling apart – yet in others, she felt great hope and excitement. What an odd crazy place to be in.

What if I could really win? Wouldn’t that be amazing!


Oddly enough, Jordan’s mom was at school in their maroon Town and Country minivan waiting to pick her up when school got out that Monday afternoon. The tall brown haired girl with the fancy school preppy looking skirt and blouse jumped in the front seat and looked at her quizzically.

Why are you here? She thought.

Reading her mind, Sally announced, “We’re going back to the store Jordan. You need better diapers.”

“MOM! Not so loud!” Her eyes darted around to see if anyone possible could’ve heard her Mom’s declaration despite the closed van door and window. To her relief, no one seemed aware.

Back at the very same Fred Meyer store on the very same aisle, Jordan and her Mom (along with her two siblings this time) stood looking at the absorbent baby products for the twelve year old to wear.

Sally picked up a bag of Pampers Baby Dry size 6. They were also labeled “New!” and said they accommodated babies 35lbs +. “Nope, those won’t do; in fact they’ll probably be worse than Mindi’s Pull-Ups! What are we gonna do Jordan?”

Just then a Fred Meyer stock boy walked around the corner. Wearing dirty pants, skater shoes, and face covered in pimples, he appeared to be not much older than 19. “You folks doing alright? Is there anything I can help you with?” He asked out of obvious obligation.

“Well I’m looking for something for my daughter’s bedwetting.” Sally said without a hint of embarrassment.

He looked at the three kids nervously – not knowing which of the three daughters she might be referring to – and then back to Sally. “Oh well I think most kids just use these Pull-Ups here.”

“Yes well we’ve tried the largest size – and they just rip when she puts them on. Don’t you have something bigger?”

The boy now glanced at Jordan with embarrassment (she was feeling even more shame of course now and began turning red). “…Erhm…well…I’m not sure ma’am…let me see here…”

He then proceeded to pick up and examine the exact package of Pull-Ups she had purchased on their previous trip. He read out loud the specifications exactly as Sally had done before. “How much does she…I mean…how much does the person who needs them weigh?” He glanced Jordan a look that seemed to say ‘I’m sorry’.

“About 140 pounds. That’s our problem. These all seem entirely too small.”

“Oh…yeah…I guess so…well…uh…I’m not sure…let me get a manager to help…” he said as he bustled off around the corner.

Jordan almost resurrected her belief in prayer right then and there.

If I have to stand here while the entire store staff has to do a manhunt for diapers for me in the middle of the day in the middle of this store, I’m going to throw myself into traffic. Why me?! WHY? WHY?!?!!? Please let there not be anyone from school here. Please let us make it out of here without seeing anyone! Please!!

Just then Sally exclaimed, “Oh look at these!” On the bottom shelf near the wipes was a row of dark blue packages labeled ‘GoodNites’. She grabbed one with the markings, ‘XL, 85-125 lbs. and up’.

“These are what we need for your Jordie. ‘Nighttime pants for older children’ and they are made for kids your size. I bet they don’t even have those babyish prints on them either. I’ve been in baby-only mode for so long, I didn’t even know this kind of stuff existed for kids with problems like yours.”

Jordan shuddered at the way that last phrase rolled off her mom’s tongue. Problems like mine? She makes it sound so final – so daunting – so pathetic. Ugh! I’m such a freak!

Sally handed the package to her daughter (which caused another shudder) and grabbed a tube of some kind of lotion that Jordan couldn’t make out. Just as the family of four was making the corner at the end of the aisle, the stock boy returned with the manager with genuine concern in his eyes.

“Oh, it looks like you’ve found the GoodNites. That’s the perfect choice for her.” The manager announced entirely too loudly for Jordan’s taste.

“Yes, thank-you. We did. They look perfect.” Sally replied.

Jordan looked straight down in shame, holding the item in question.

“Have a nice day then!” The boy cheerfully and proudly replied.


As they pulled into the graveled back ally-way behind the house that afternoon, Jordan felt relieved to be home after what had been (yet again) just about the most humiliating experience in her life.

How can these things keep happening to me? How can they possibly keep getting worse?

However, sitting in the driveway she also noticed a new sensation she couldn’t shake, understand, or even accept at the time. It was – well – sort of a feeling of excitement in a way. As she glanced down at the paper bag with the GoodNites inside, she felt great shame about peeing in her bed at night (and now bleeding too) and having the need to wear these things to take care of it. But she also could sense the tiniest twinge of weird curiosity.

Will these ones feel differently? Will they work? Will they fit? Will Mom help me again?

Her questions were answered soon enough.

Just a few hours later, Sally once again knocked on Jordan’s door and said, “All right dear, let’s get you ready for bed. I want to see if these GoodNites are gonna work for you.” With a slightly shorter delay that she might’ve given her mom otherwise, Jordan took the cue and got up from editing on the computer. Without prompt or argument, she pulled down her school skirt and panties – and standing barefoot on the soft carpet in front of her mom, she stepped into the new underpants. Her mom held them out; plain white this time with only a small blue square marking ‘back’.

Wow. That thing is much bigger – and thicker – than Mindi’s Pull-Ups, Jordan had thought to herself as she stepped into the leg holes.

Her mom very slowly pulled the white diaper up her legs and over her hips, carefully trying not to tear it as they had both accidentally done before. It easily stretched around her frame.

“There. Perfect. Looks kinda cute even.” Sally said seeming pleased.

“MOOOM!”

“Sorry honey, I regretted saying it as soon as it came out of my mouth.” she said then with a quasi smirk on her face.

It certainly felt different to Jordan than Mindi’s pull-ups. This kind was quite a bit thicker between her legs and much softer on her bottom. Her mother’s comment however, snapped Jordan immediately out of those hints of curiosity she had felt in the car and immediately back into the more familiar shame and humiliation. Quickly the young girl grabbed a pair of underwear and sleep shorts to cover up the babyish garment.

Taking the cue Sally said, “Well it looks like these will work then, darling. And maybe you’ll be just fine taking care of yourself too then from now on?…”

Turning around from her closet now more clothed (save a slightly more rotund rear end) she gave her mom a quick hug, “Yeah I think I got it Mom – love you, goodnight….” And just as Sally closed the door, Jordan added, “…and thanks…”


Over the next week or so, Jordan worked carefully and doggedly on her short story – it even kept her from doing other important homework which was probably a mistake in hindsight. But she wanted to impress Mr. Johns and she wanted to make it as far in the competition as possible.

Also over the next week or so, Jordan’s period fizzled to an end but she continued wet the bed every night. But on these occasions, it happened in her GoodNites. About half the time, the wetting was contained to the disposable pant and the other half it leaked into the bedding and her pajamas. Although Jordan seemed to be somewhat low key about what happened either way, Sally was growing increasingly anxious about even this solution to Jordan’s problem.

Re: “Stories we Tell”

Chapter 10 - [November 15, 2001]

The week and a half following her doctor visit and the Fred Meyer fiascos, time traveled rapidly for Jordan. She knew the deadline for the story competition was approaching quickly and she spent essentially every free moment at home editing and re-editing her story on the desktop computer in her bedroom. Mr. Johns had offered a number of specific instructions and tips on how to improve her work before submission and Jordan had taken his advice to heart. The girl wanted to win.

According to the contest rules, entries had to be printed – double-spaced - in courier font – on single sided white paper – not stapled (but clipped) with a large spring-type paperclip that her mom had to specially pick up at Fred Meyer on another trip. The story was required to have a cover sheet depicting the title and Jordan’s full name as well as page numbers at the bottom of each page. These instructions she had followed perfectly. As she slid the 25pg (or so) document into the crisp yellow envelope, her heart beat with anticipation. The requirement stated that it must be postmarked that day – Thursday, November 15.

I wonder what will happen? Is this the beginning of something big for me? Will they really like it? She thought.

Another deadline was upon Jordan that Thursday afternoon as well. As soon as she and her Mother were to drop the thick envelope off at the post office, the very next stop for the pair was the sleep lab at the University of Washington Medical Center.

“Jordan…are you all packed for the night?” Sally called out from the living room.

“Mom! I’m fine.” She hollered back neatly placing the envelope on the bed next to her black duffle bag.

The envelope was truthfully the only neat looking item in the room – she had scoured the place for the fanciest pajama set she could find as well as her only school uniform set that wasn’t wrinkled – and the aftermath looked like World War III. Jordan might’ve been an introverted bookworm and a bedwetter, but she was still a seventh-grader and didn’t care to look frumpy in front of the medical staff at the hospital. The instructions from the sleep lab said that she was to bring pajamas, her typical toiletries, and clothes for the next day along with any necessary medications. After the night, she would be able to get ready for school at the hospital and head off for her day from there.

Jordan’s two sisters were going to be spending the bulk of the evening with their Dad (and presumably Melissa) while Sally accompanied Jordan to the facility. She would then return to spend the rest of the night at home with the girls while Jordan remained alone at the hospital.

The tall pre-teen wasn’t terribly thrilled with this plan but she didn’t know of another way – Dad certainly isn’t gonna volunteer to come along (and I’m not sure I want him anyways); and I doubt he’s gonna volunteer to help out with the girls all night either. Ugh! I hope ‘nothing’ happens!!

The primary bad news was that as the soon-to-be patient rifled through her room for the best nightwear, it was already 4:15pm, the post office closed at 5:00 on the dot, and her Dad hadn’t yet bothered to show up.

He was supposed to be here by 4!! Jordan fumed. How am I supposed to get my story postmarked in time if we can’t leave?

Completely ready to go (which was unusual), she was also completely anxiety ridden. After years of being let down by her Dad, she didn’t trust him to keep his word – to follow through with promises – to leave work when he said he would – to show up in her life as indicated. Moving her bag and envelope into the family’s tastefully appointed living room, Jordan sat by the door. Waiting. She would’ve counted ticks on the clock had it not been for her siblings joyful play and invitations to join them in their romp around the house. She clearly wasn’t in the mood however.

Minute by minute – second by second – the pre-teen feared her goal of winning the competition was slipping through her fingers. Moment by moment her anxiety grew, fearing all her work would be for naught.

Finally, at 4:41 (exactly), Dad’s black Mercedes pulled up to the curb, Jordan called for her mom and jumped up, dashing for the back door. Almost knocking Mindi over and actually knocking Jen to her padded rear, the girl was on a mission. With one baby crying, another child hollering “foul”, a third begging for her to 'drive!", Sally was flustered as well. She had the added irritation at the slowness with which her husband was moving: still sitting in his fancy black car during the pandemonium inside.

Waiting in the minivan, Jordan was sweating with nervous anxiety – this is gonna kill me I swear. 4:43 now. 4:44 now. It takes at least 10 minutes to get to the post office too; probably more in traffic!

Finally Sally came marching out the back door with tears in her eyes.

“…bastard…” she mumbled almost incoherently as she slammed the door to the weathered minivan.

As they peeled out of the driveway, Jordan didn’t bother asking or speaking. She knew her mom was as frustrated and stressed at her; maybe more.

The two screamed South through Ballard traffic toward downtown Seattle – luckily it was against rush hour so traffic was much less of a concern than Jordan had anticipated. They entered the lot of the Post Office at 4:56 and when all was said and done, the timestamp on the young girl’s envelope read November 15, 4:59pm, Ballard WA.

A flood of relief rushed over her body as she saw it plop into the full mail cart.

I’ve done it. I can’t believe it. I made it. It’s over.

But little did Jordan know, the excitement and festivities for the evening were only just beginning.


That day at school, Jordan had let it accidentally slip to Alex that she was getting tested that night for sleep apnea. The mishap had come when she was explaining how she would be mailing her story right after school. Alex had followed up with a plethora of questions about the details of the mail delivery – and then why exactly Jordan would be getting such a test (she had never heard of the condition before – or of that kind of testing). Jordan had made up a generic excuse that she hadn’t been sleeping well as a cause for possible diagnosis; that she had been waking up a lot during the night and her doctor was concerned that her brain wasn’t gonna develop right. Alex had accepted the explanation and dropped the subject to Jordan’s relief; however she had offered to call Jordan that evening at the hospital to talk. Jordan had negotiated into being the initiator of the call but she still felt super nervous about her friend having any part of this aspect of her life – and the thoughts of it brought her new waves of anxiety as she and Sally worked their way East through traffic toward the “U district” and the hospital.

It was a cold wet evening as usual for this time of year in the northern city of Seattle. When they arrived at the facility shortly after 5:30pm, the sun had been down for almost an hour; it felt like nighttime. Sally parked in the underground lot and the two made their way into the modest but pleasant lobby of the sleep center in the basement level of the hospital. It was a cheery space decorated with lightly colored furniture and fleshy plants – lit with natural looking florescent lights. It almost seemed as though they were outside in the light of day. An unspoken surprise to the pair was how full the waiting room appeared; almost a dozen other people were present conceivably for the same testing as Jordan.

Walking up to the receptionist’s desk, Sally said “This is Jordan Reynolds, she’s one of Dr. Yepp’s patients; she’s here for a sleep study…?”

“Oh yes! Jordan – we’ve been expecting you.” The receptionist smiled. “May I see your hand?” The middle-aged woman held out a patient armband awaiting Jordan’s wrist. The pre-teen girl nervously obliged the request. Two snaps and Jordan’s fate for the evening was sealed; hospital patient for the night.

“As you can see, we have quite a gathering of lucky participants tonight – but not to worry, several new rooms have just been completed and we’ll get you going before you know it. Just take a seat – and Mom,” looking at Sally the receptionist pushed forward a clipboard, “would you fill out this paperwork while you’re waiting?”

“Oh. Sure. No problem.”

“Thank-you. Just bring it to me when you’re done and a technician will call you when we’re ready.”

“Ok.” Said Sally.

The two found a place to sit on a khaki colored leather bench in between a fichus tree and a rather overweight man who sounded as though he was snoring while wide-awake sitting next to them reading a book. Jordan thought he must’ve weighed over 350lbs. As Sally filled out the forms, Jordan’s mind went back to the events of the previous couple months.

She remembered the way her Mom and Dad had treated each other and yelled about her Dad’s work schedule – it had stressed her incredibly and led her to feel totally powerless. She thought about her Dad’s numerous failed promises and the many many many hours spent away from home or at the office – now that she knew he had been spending time with this woman he now was choosing over Mom, the thought of his career made her feel sick to her stomach.

Jordan thought about the way her mom had leaned so hard on her to help with her siblings, clean the house, cook, and well, just grow up – it had made her feel quite alone and unsteady. While some aspects of growing up were enjoyable, adulthood was frightening all-in-all and she still longed to be cared for and nurtured in other ways.

This led her to think of the attacks on 9/11 and how the following night she had wet the bed for the first time. Mom had been so gentle and empathetic with her; almost like she was when she was little. It had been embarrassing to be naked in front of her and everything but it was dreadfully comforting to know she was taken care of at the same time.

She thought about the pride in her work as a writer and the high praises and attention Mr. Johns had given her – it was quite a stark difference from the kind of interest her own father had shown and Mr. Johns wasn’t even related! As Jordan’s mind started navigating down the path of what it would be like to accept the award for ‘best short story’ and read it aloud on the radio, she heard her name called.

“….Reynolds?….Jordan Sandra Reynolds…?” Jordan’s Mom was at the counter handing over the paperwork and had missed the announcement.

“Oh! Right here. I’m here.” Startled, Jordan stood to her feet and looked around the room. She was the only one left in the waiting area. With a slight wave to the technician on the other side of the lobby, she headed in that direction.

The woman smiled but was clearly in a hurry. “Right this way Ms. Reynolds” she said in what sounded like an Indian accent.

“Mom!” Turning, Sally followed her daughter and the technician through the doorway and into a long corridor with large framed pictures of flowers on one side and a series of doorways on the other.

“This is our sleep center. As you can see, we now have 15 labs available on any given night and you’ll be in our newest room this evening – in fact everything in it from the bed to the electronics has been fully remodeled, and you’ll be the trial run. It’s all brand new; state of the art.”

“Wow!” Jordan looked at her Mom genuinely impressed.

At the end of the hallway, the technician pointed to her left and said, “Here we are, room 15. This will be your place for the night. Go ahead and put your things in here, get changed for bed as you normally would and I’ll be back in 10 minutes or so to take you back and get you all wired up for the night. As you can see, you have a TV in here as well as a phone, and the bathroom is just behind the door in here.” The woman was young and of Indian descent with a heavy accent. She pointed out each item and the two saw that the room was indeed brand new – it even smelled it. Rather than appearing like a normal hospital room, it looked much more like a hotel room with thicker carpet, an ordinary looking bed with bedspread, bedside tables, lamps, and all in very trendy décor.

“Oh, by the way, my name is Margaret.” She smiled and shut the door as Jordan plopped onto the bed, back down, feet on the floor.

Hands on her hips, Sally said “Jordan you heard what the lady said, get your PJs on!”

The young girl reluctantly sat up and began rummaging through her bag and then traipsed off to the bathroom to change. Just before she emerged, the female technician returned knocking on the door and popping her head in.

“Hi is she ready yet?”

“Just about…” Sally rolled her eyes and the two smiled warmly.

Just then Jordan emerged from the bathroom in a cute snugly fitting cotton pajama set featuring tiny pink and blue flowers all over and simple satin bows, one each on the neckline and waist. Her feet were clad with pink fleece slippers and she had put her long hair into a loose braid.

“All ready to go Jordan?” Margaret asked.

She nodded.

“Now – one more thing before we head back to wire you up for the study. Your chart says that the reason we’re doing the study is because of some sudden but unresolved Nocturnal Enuresis is that correct?”

“What?” Jordan asked.

“You’ve been wetting the bed…correct?”

Taken aback and embarrassed now, Jordan said, “…Um…er…yeah…I guess…”.

“Well we usually don’t say anything about this but I need to ask – you are wearing your…protection…right now…yes?”

“…w…w…what?” she said, turning bright red.

“Your notes say that you’ve been using absorbent pads to manage it at night – are you wearing one right now – for tonight?”

A bead of sweat formed on her forehead. She fidgeted in her fancy pajamas. “…um… n…n…nooo…I…I…I…didn’t th…th…think I…I needed to…s…since we…since this…was a hospital……y….y…ya know….D….Dr. Yepp s…s…said…you see this kinda thing…a…a….all the time….”

Jordan replied mortified. Please don’t let this be happening right now – Please – please…

“Well normally you’d be right dear. Many many people who get evaluated in our labs struggle with the same kind of issue you’ve been having – kids, adults, big, small, you name it. And our facilities are each prepared for this kind of problem – beds are all outfitted with protective covers and the like. However, the problem is that we’re completely packed to the brim tonight and they’ve got you assigned to this brand new room that has just been completed today as I said – and the maintenance people haven’t had the mattress and pillows fitted with the proper protection yet. I’m sorry to have to be so blunt with you… But we’d like you to wear your normal sleepwear from home, just to protect our new furniture. Is that alright dear?”

Margaret was honest and forthright in her request – and it made sense. A flicker of hope danced into Jordan’s shame ridden mind however. Maybe I can get out of this then…

“…W….Well…that makes sense I guess Margaret…B…But ya see…I didn’t know and so I…I didn’t bring any of my GoodNites with me…”

“Oh I see. Hmm. Well that shouldn’t be a problem. We have many of the very same products here available at the hospital. I’ll get you something for tonight and then we’ll get you wired up. Ok?”

Jordan felt defeated. I have to wear…a GoodNite…In front of all these strangers?!? And I picked out my cutest pajamas to wear too! There’s no way people are not gonna notice that thing! They’re thick!

Margaret exited the room leaving mother and daughter alone once again.

“Mooom!! Do something!” The twelve year old whined.

“Jordie what do you want me to do? This is what we’re here for and I wouldn’t want you to wreck our furniture at home either. You should’ve brought your own stuff. I asked you several times at home if you were all packed…what do you you think I meant? I’m sorry but this is nothing to be embarrassed about. Really. Margaret or the doctor or any of the medical staff aren’t going to be talking to or telling anyone you know about your condition – in fact, you probably will never see them or hear from them again. They’re professionals and they will deal with this professionally.”

Tears started welling up in Jordan’s eyes as it became clear that her Mom wouldn’t save her. She sat on the edge of the bed awaiting her fate.

Just five minutes later, Margaret returned with a couple rather large looking plastic diapers in her hands. They were purple in color, appeared very thick, and were two different sizes. Looking more at Sally the technician said, “Typically our patients down here bring their own supplies but the hospital stocks pretty nice quality incontinence products. I grabbed one of each size, small and medium, because I don’t know what she wears but here you go.” She handed the diapers to Sally.

“Well she usually just wears a Pull-up, not a full blown diaper. Don’t you have something a little less…” then whispering, “…juvenile?”

“Look Mrs. Reynolds. I’m really sorry you forgot your own supplies at home but we need to get this show on the road. No one cares what patients wear around the hospital. Half of them are wearing gowns with no backs and their rear-ends hanging out. We’ve literally seen it ALL before. Please get one of these on her so we can get the probes hooked up.”

“Ok. Sure. Can you give us a minute?”

“I’ll wait outside the door.” Margaret exited a second time.

“Alright Jordan, I think I need to help you with this – you haven’t had one of these on since you were 2 ½.”

Turning to her daughter holding the size small (but quite substantial) purple adult diaper, Sally noticed it had some kind of odd double-blue taping system and very soft plastic as opposed to the cloth outer cover all her kids’ diapers and pull-ups had at home.

Already crying steadily, Jordan sat completely frozen at the end of the bed. She could hardly process what was about to happen to her.

Sally gently walked over to her twelve year old daughter clad in flowers and bows and touched her shoulder, “Lay back dear.”

Red faced and sobbing, Jordan slowly leaned back and her mother helped her. “Ok scoot back up on the bed a little bit honey…”, Sally whispered tenderly near her daughter’s ear. Jordan slowly pushed back, eyes still blurry with tears and barely open.

A knock came on the door. “Just a second please!” Sally barked.

From the side of the bed, Sally leaned over and reached around Jordan. Grasping the waistband of the girl’s pajama pants and panties she said, “Lift your bum Jordie.” The distraught girl obeyed and sally pulled the clothing down to her fuzzy slippers.

Exposed now and vulnerable in a way she hadn’t been in a decade, Jordan continued to softly cry. The level of shame for what was happening to her was at the top of the charts. Yet – at the same time – the gentle way her mom touched and tender words she spoke to her were calming. A strange part of Jordan that she never could’ve verbalized or even understood at the moment – didn’t want the moment to end.

Standing now at the foot of the bed near Jordan’s feet. Sally began unfolding the purple diaper. She stretched it out, “Ok baby lift your bum for me.” Eyes closed and hands at her sides, Jordan was truthfully paying rather careful attention to the sensations around her privates. Sally slid the disposable garment under her teenage daughter and centered it. “Honey mamma needs you to spread your legs apart a little more,” Sally whispered.

A look of shock formed on Sally’s face as her daughter obeyed. “Oh dear Jordan, you’ve got a really bad rash developing! Why didn’t you tell Momma about this? We need to get this taken care of tonight…poor baby…this is gonna get bad…haven’t you been hurting down there?”

Fresh tears poured out of Jordan’s cheeks as fresh waves of shame emanated through her body. She had been feeling more and more burning and discomfort over the past few days in that area and every time she had felt a sting it had reminded her of her secret. The more it had hurt, the more she had felt bad about herself. The immature girl had simply assumed that the rawness was just the normal plight all bedwetters suffered.

Laying the front flap of the diaper on Jordan’s crotch and tummy, Sally called for Margaret to come back in. “Margaret I’m sorry to delay this any longer but can you by chance get me some kind of diaper rash cream?”

Noticeably frustrated, Margaret replied “Mrs. Reynolds we are really pushing it here – let me check with the nurse and see if we have anything down here in the lab. If not, we need to move on.” She scurried off.

This left mother and daughter alone again with Jordan still in tears.

“I’m sorry honey – I just want to make sure we get this cleared up – we don’t want you to walk around in pain do we?”

Her mom was being beyond sweet – and it had been really hurting her. As she lay there on the bed in such an exposed state, Jordan once again began thinking about the recent events in her life: the fighting, her dad, the attack, the pressure to grow up, the bedwetting… She couldn’t quite put her finger on it but the weirdest sense of peace began to creep over her as she thought about her Mom. Somehow being cared for in this way – somehow the diaper laying underneath her – was…calming?. Of course she couldn’t have put any of those feelings into words or even accepted them as hers at that moment; but they were never the less there, hidden or not.

Margaret was back after what seemed like 30 seconds. “I found this.” She said handing a white tube to Sally. This not leaving the room but just standing by the bed and waiting.

“Oh thanks.” Jordan’s Mom opened it and dispensed a liberal amount on two fingers on her right hand. “Honey I’m going to put some of this on you down there ok? I’ll help you feel better but it might sting at first.”

It did.

But quickly the cream turned to soothing on her delicate skin. The odor was strong – distinctive – yet curiously full of memory as it took her back to another time and another place. Still quietly crying, Jordan was hardly aware of time.

After washing her hands, Sally was back to finish the job. Pulling the purple diaper up between her daughter’s legs, she snugged each lower edge around each leg and taped the tapes before moving to the upper ones across the helpless girl’s midsection. Jordan continued to lay there splayed out, pajama pants around her ankles, diaper snugly in place, head rested on its side, and eyes closed.

“Ok Jordie,” Sally said as she pulled on Jordan’s hands by her sides, “Up we go.” Jordan perked up a bit, opened her red puffy eyes. Looking down, she didn’t respond to the thick purple diaper between her legs. She scooted off the end of the bed and then standing up, allowed her mom to pull her panties and then pants up over the generous soft plastic diaper. They just barely stretched over it.

So much for cute pajamas, she thought, zapping out of her trancelike state.

The diaper was much much thicker between her legs than the GoodNites she had been accustomed to over the past dozen nights. As she swayed a bit standing in front of her mom, it made her feel strangely but ineffably safe.

“Alright sweetie, I need to go home and take care of your sisters, I’m already late. You’re gonna be just fine tonight and I’ll be back first thing in the morning.”

Almost like a toddler, Jordan’s soft crying began once more.

Hugging her daughter she said, “Listen Jordie, you’re gonna be just fine ok?”

She nodded.

Hugs and kisses continued before Sally patted her on the padded rear on her way out the door.

“Alright Jordan. Let’s get to work.” Margaret finally said as if waiting to say it for 10 years.


It was a little after 7 by the time Jordan’s mom had left for home and it was a little after 8 before all the wires, monitors, diodes, and glue were properly attached. Jordan had been shocked by the complexity of the process – and also continually embarrassed by its invasiveness. Margaret had to run leads through her pants, right over her diaper, brushing against it in the process. She had run them up through her shirt, brushing against her developing chest as well. She even had GLUED leads into her hair (!?!).

The long walk from the setup room to her sleep room #15 was rather well traversed in the middle of the night and Jordan had felt as though her crinkly rear end was echoing throughout the universe. The snug pajamas accentuated the outline of her diaper and her top was designed to allow the cute waistline of the bottoms to be seen – thus allowing the top of her diaper to be relatively easily visible to passers by.

With dozens of wires hanging from her head, neck, chest, and waist, Jordan was instructed back in her room to lie down on her bed and await further instructions. Margaret had said that it could be up to an hour before anything happened: she could watch TV or make phone calls in the meantime.

Jordan used the opportunity to keep her promise to Alex.


“Alex?”

“Jordan is that you?”

“Hi – yeah – it’s me. Sorry I’m calling so late.” Jordan said.

“Oh it’s ok, I was beginning to think you weren’t gonna call…”

“Yeah…we had some…um…complications here and so it took a little longer than expected to get me ready for the test.”

“Oh – like what?” Alex asked with genuine curiosity.

Crap – that was a bad thing to say… she thought. “Um – well they put me in this brand new room; they’re kind of like hotel rooms and so it took a little bit longer…”

“What? It’s like a hotel? I thought you were in the hospital? And why would a new room make it take longer?” Alex wasn’t trying to dig Jordan into a hole – she was simply trying to talk to her friend about the experience.

Oh no…crap…! What should I say now???…. A long silence ensued…. What should I do? What should I say?…think think think…

The pregnant silence simply grew…

“You there Jordan?” Alex asked…

Should I just tell her? I guess she’s probably gonna find out at some point anyways… AAAAGHHHGH!!!

“Yeah I’m here Alex…Ok –- so this is hard…” Her heart was now beating out of her chest once again.

“What’s hard Jordan? I just asked you about the room you’re staying in… You’re not gonna tell me you have cancer or that you’re dying or something are you? Because if you do and you tell me over the phon—”

“ALEX!!” Jordan interrupted, “I don’t have cancer… Just let me talk please…I haven’t really told you about why I’m here because I’m embarrassed; and I’m scared. And I want to tell you because you’re my friend but I’m still afraid that if I do, maybe you won’t want to be my friend anymore… And I don’t have that many friends… And I don’t know what I’d do if you didn’t want to be my friend and it’s so scary and I j…j…just don’t know what I’d do…” She began crying again.

“Jordan – Calm down. We’re best friends. Think about how many secrets I’ve told you about my life. How can you possibly tell me something that’s gonna make me wanna ditch you? Relax Girl!”

She has a point I guess, Jordan thought to herself.

“Well…I have to take this test here tonight because I’ve been…I’ve been…I…I…well…I…I…wet the bed….”

“…that’s it?…seriously?! I wet the bed til I was like 8! Half the boys in our class still wet the bed. Jordan – if that’s your only secret, you’ve got smooth sailing ahead. Seriously. That’s it? Really?”

“That’s not all, the last few weeks, my mom has made me wear a pull-up to bed.”

“Oh my! A Pull-up! Ain’t no one ever worn one of those for bedwetting…!!” Alex began poking fun at Jordan’s intensity…

“…And tonight – they made me wear this big thick purple diaper here in the hospital and I had to walk down the hall with it under my pajamas and everyone saw it…!”

“Really?! I wanna see that sometime!”

Silence.

“KIDDING – I’m kidding Jordan. Seriously though – everyone who wets the bed wears pull-ups or diapers. It’s just what happens.”

Still Silence.

“Ok listen. You know how I was telling you about how bad my Dad has been to my mom and I?…….Well I’ve actually had to go to the hospital quite a few times after that stuff – not like for stuff he did to my physically or whatever – for my head…”

“Oh?” Jordan hadn’t known about this.

“Remember how I like freaked out after 9/11? Well that was minor compared to some of the other times it’s happened. And when I’ve had to go to hospital, they take me to the psychiatric area and they give me these drugs that knock me out and I always wake up wearing a diaper and I’ve peed everywhere… I never can remember anything that’s happened but I know I’ve had to go to the hospital like 3 times so far and every time I wake up the same way.”

“Really Alex?” She thought she may have been lying to help her feel better.

“Jordan why would I make something like that up?”

“It just feels so embarrassing to have this problem – and to be wearing this…” Jordan instinctively put her free hand on the front of the diaper.

“I’m really sorry Jordan. I’m sure it isn’t fun – in fact I know it’s not – but I’m sure it won’t last forever. AND YOU’RE NOT ALONE!!”

“So do you still wanna be my friend?” Jordan sheepishly but honestly asked.

“Jordan! Of course! How could you ask me that?”

“Just checking…and thanks…Oh – the nurse is coming back; I gotta go.”

“K – night-night sweet pea.”

Jordan was a little irritated by that term of endearment even if it was spoken in jest. This is not a funny situation – and I’m not a baby!!!

Re: “Stories we Tell”

Chapter 11 – [November 16-17, 2001]

Jordan woke up in total darkness, covered by a heavy blanket, and dripping in sweat. The strange sensations caused by the monitors clinging to her body did not register as ‘friendly’. The thick plastic (and now squishy) diaper between her legs was also foreign. She began to panic.

WHERE AM I? WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME? The pre-teen girl thought terrified.

“MOMMA!?! MOOMMA!!!” She began screaming as she started to pull on the wires attached to her head and thrash around in bed.

A strangely familiar female voice with an Indian accent came from the ceiling, “Calm down Jordan, you’re in the hospital remember? You had a sleep study last night. It’s still early but the study is over. Please take a breath and lie still.”

The diapered girl paused momentarily to process the voice from the sky. In the darkness the events of the night before slowly began to seep back into the beautiful tall twelve-year-old’s mind. She recalled her embarrassment of having to be diapered by her mother and the increasing shame of having to waddle around wearing the thick undergarment up and down the hospital corridors. She remembered getting wired up and then the odd phone conversation with Alex – and my confession!

She recalled some of the instructions given during the night from the strange speaker in the ceiling – the glowing red lights in the corner and the eerie video cameras.

Jordan pushed the covers off and reached down under the waistband of her pajamas. The smooth plastic felt soft to the touch but now it was also warm, swollen, and the fluffy padding had turned mushy like jell-o in a plastic bag. Between her legs, the diaper felt incredibly thick – much more so than it had when she had walked down the hall (which was hard to believe). Her hand then moved to the inside rear portion of her pajama pants.

What the?…perfectly dry! I can’t believe it!…This thing soaked up every last bit – even with all the turning and repositioning and moving they had me do all night long. Wow!

Just as Jordan was getting the ‘lay of the land’ inside her pants, as it were, Margaret (the technician from the previous night) cracked open the door and said, “Jordan? Good morning. It’s me Margaret – do you remember?”

“Yes I’m ok now – sorry Margaret – come in.” Jordan groggily replied.

The diminutive woman entered the room and turned on a lamp next to Jordan’s bed. “You sleep extremely heavily Jordan. Do you remember anything at all from last night?”

“A little I guess – but mostly from before I went to sleep.”

“That’s what I’d guess. Are you…I mean…is your diaper…well…wet?” Margaret asked as she began to reach for Jordan’s waist.

Jordan didn’t resist.

“…U…Um yeah…very…” mumbled Jordan, still embarrassed from the events of the night before. As Margaret exposed the girl’s diaper under her pajama pants without a thought, Jordan could smell the odor of the cream her mom had used on her private area the night before – this was mixed with the telltale smell of urine.

That’s sure long lasting stuff, she thought.

“We came and checked your…pad…at several increments last night actually – you were so heavily sleeping that you simply didn’t wake up to notice.” Margaret said as she pulled the band of Jordan’s pajama pants and panties away from her body; enough to see the obliterated wetness indicators on the front of the purple plastic.

“Oh, you weren’t kidding. Well when we came in at 3am, you were totally dry form what we could tell. It’s 5:50 right now so it seems that your Nocturnal Enuresis must be happening pretty late in your sleep cycles – during the deepest portions of sleep. That’s typical for kids actually.”

Jordan awkwardly waited for Margaret to let her cover up and get out of bed.

“Well, let’s get you out of bed so you can take a shower and get ready to go. Go ahead and sit up.”

Jordan obeyed and Margaret proceeded to help her to her feet. The thick diaper felt very heavy on her hips and sagging low on her rear. Resisting the urge to look down at her too-snug pants, Jordan averted her gaze toward the flowery picture on the wall while Margaret reached in and through her shirt to un-hook leads and pulled wires through her pants, brushing once again against her soggy diaper. Jordan felt her face turning red yet one more time.

Margaret removed the glued-on sensors from Jordan’s head and face before finally announcing, “Ok Jordan, all free – go ahead and get changed, take a shower, and get ready for your day. You have your own shower right in there and as you can see, it’s early enough so you should be able to take your time. Breakfast will be here in a few minutes.”

“Ok thanks Margaret.”

“Oh. And please put your diaper in it’s own trash bag from under the sink and tie it off before throwing it in the trash. We don’t want it to smell up the room!” Margaret crinkled up her nose and brow in a friendly sort of way.

“OK…sure.” she cracked a polite smiled.

As Jordan removed her Pajama bottoms and panties from over top of her diaper, she could feel the weight of it on her hips even more. Pulling on one of the tapes, she felt no sign of release and so she continued to add more force until the soft plastic gave way and tore, spilling yellowish wet clumps of cottony stuff on the floor.

OH Shit!!” she gasped.

On the other side, rather than pulling on the blue tape attached to the plastic, she tried to pull on the upper white tape labeled ‘molicare’ in script letters. This released easily and yielded another blue sticky pad left on the diaper.

OH!! That’s creative! She mouthed to herself.

Following suit on the other two, she saw the diaper plop on the floor between her legs.

In a curious way and inexplicable, some of Jordan’s stress and anxiety about her parents, her school, and her secret diagnosis began creeping back into her mind as the garment made contact with the tiles beneath her feet. It was a shift that did not go completely without notice – however it was also one that she was not able to admit or even understand at the time.


Not long after she had finished her shower, Sally and Jordan’s sisters had made it to her sleep lab room. The girls were beyond excited to see her and hugged and kissed their older sister and jumped on the bed and asked about everything that had taken place. The four had received a brief report from the doctor in person before Jordan was given the green light to go: the study was inconclusive.

Clearly Jordan was suffering from significant Enuresis (Jordan was happy he had used the technical term that Mindi in particular could not understand) but it not caused by Sleep Apnea. His recommendation had been that Jordan should continue with the tips he had given in the clinic and to wear diapers or pull-ups to bed as needed or necessary. “This will pass over time, I guarantee it.” He had said."

On the way toward the lobby, the four ladies bumped into Margaret in the hallway.

“Thank you Margaret for taking care of my girl last night.” Sally said.

“Oh she was no problem at all; my privilege.” Margaret smiled, “and please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help you in the future.”

“Well…actually…there is one thing I’d like to ask before we go. Jordan would you take the girls out to the lobby please?” Jordan looked at her mom with concern – completely confused as to what was on her mind.

“What is it?”

“Well…I noticed this morning that Jordan’s bed was completely dry and so were her pajamas – but the doctor said that the diagnosis of severe Nocturnal Enuresis was confirmed. Something isn’t adding up for me here.”

“I’m afraid I don’t understand.” Margaret looked at her with a perplexed look on her face.

“Well at home, Jordan has been wearing pull-ups to bed for almost two weeks and she wets almost every night. The vast majority of the time – and particularly when she goes A LOT, the pad is totally overwhelmed and everything gets soaked. I’m just wondering what the deal is? How can she have been diagnosed with “SEVERE enuresis” but yet all her clothes and bedding are still dry? Was that diaper I put her in last night really all that much better? Did you or a nurse come and change her part way through the night or something? Or was it really not all that wet?”

“Oh Mrs. Reynolds. Not to worry. We certainly didn’t change your daughter – and from my observation this morning, her diaper was extremely wet – nearing capacity in fact. The difference you are noticing is probably the quality of the incontinence product itself. I’m no expert but like I said last night, Enuresis is a common problem we see here at the clinic. What you’ve been using at home is probably an over-the-counter drugstore kids’ nighttime pull-up. The diaper Jordan wore last night is a high quality European brief made for heavy incontinence – which Jordan has a form of. We actually just started using those during this past year. A world-class hospital like ours only stocks the best quality equipment and supplies.”

“So where can I buy some of these?” Sally asked hoping Margaret would see the reasoning behind her questioning and get to the point.

“Oh…hmmm…I’m not sure. I’d suggest starting with our hospital pharmacy upstairs and perhaps they can direct you to a mail-order company. As you may have noticed, over the counter mass-sales pharmacies only carry mediocre quality products.”

“I guess I’m beginning to understand that. Thank-you Margaret once again for your help.”

As she exited to the lobby, she saw her three girls admiring a FishTank in the corner she and Jordan had failed to notice the night before. They cute in how they lined up on a leather bench peering into the glass – tall Jordan in her skirt and on her knees and her two sisters next to her on tiptoes.

They look about the same level of maturity, Sally thought.

“Come 'on girls, we have one more stop before Jordan’s gotta get to school.” She announced.


At school that day, Jordan was anxious to talk to Mr. Johns about mailing her short story in to the NPR competition. For a reason unbeknownst to her at the time, he didn’t seem terribly interested in her joy or even excited about the milestone. It was odd because he had been such an integral part in the process: encouraging, editing, guiding, reminding, etc. But now, it was as if he could care less.

Weird, she thought, I hope he’s just having a bad day. I can relate though…., dropping the issue.

BCS always had half-days of school on Fridays and as Jordan hung out with Alex on the front landing waiting for the busses to arrive, their mutual (but relatively distant) friend Georgia walked over handing each of them carefully decorated envelopes. She smiled shyly and said, “I hope you can make it,” before turning and quickly walking away.

Georgia had been adopted from Ethiopia by the family of an entrepreneur in the Seattle area who invented something related to computers and video – Jordan didn’t know anything more than that (other than the fact that her family was l.o.a.d.e.d.). Any party at Georgia’s house was bound to be a good one – and presumably the cute personalized handmade cards were invitations and just the beginning of an amazingly good time.

The friends looked at each other and then at their matching pink and white envelopes. Alex smiled widely. Jordan looked like a deer in the headlights. The more enthusiastic of the two tore her envelope open and read it aloud: “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Georgia’s Birthday’s Next Saturday, Won’t you come Sleepover Too?” Besides mixing metaphors of love-note and birthday invitation – it was super sweet and creative.

“AWESOME!!!” Alex exclaimed, “A slumber party on Saturday NIght! Our first of Junior High Jordan! And it’s at Georgia’s house! What amazing luck!!!”

“Yeah – great.” Jordan said with zero zip.

“What?! What’s wrong? Don’t you like Georgia? I bet it’ll be real small just how you like parties Jordan – she’s kinda shy like you ya know? And her house!! It’s sooooo nice… This is gonna be GREAT!”

“Alex! I can’t possibly go to this.”

“What?! Why?”

“Alex! Don’t you remember what I told you about last night!!!” Jordan looked down.

“Wha—oh…well…it’s no big deal Jordan…just bring one of your things and you can sneak it in the bathroom before bed and put it on. No one will know.”

“ALEX!! SHHHHHHH!!” Jordan said rather loudly herself as she shuffled her friend off closer to the bushes near the front of the building.

“Jordan, lots of kids wet the bed and really – no one will notice. Just put it on before bed and it’ll be fine….or don’t wear it…you said it doesn’t’ happen every night anyways….”

Much less than convinced, Jordan was almost in tears. “Alex I don’t think you understand how big of deal this is for me. If anyone here were to find out, Amber and Nicole would destroy me at school…it’s just now finally starting to get better…I can’t risk anyone finding out…I can’t go to the party. I’m sorry Alex.” Jordan turned to walk away.

“Jordan…?”

“I’ve gotta catch my bus Alex.”

Alex was shaken by the conversation. Since her friend had confided in her the night before, it hadn’t sunk in how big of a deal it was to her – how frightened she was by the possibility of discovery – how embarrassed she was of the problem. She wished she could do something to help her friend but she didn’t know what it might be. After a few moments, she too made her way toward the busses.

Just feet from where the two had stood, a school window was cracked open to the fresh Winter Seattle air.


Jo Miller tapped her fingers on the soft leather wrapped steering wheel of her Mercedes Benz ML320. The black SUV sat idling behind a long line of cars waiting in line to pick up children in the Friday Noon-Rush at BCS. It was another dreary and windy Fall afternoon in Ballard and the windshield wipers pulsated every 30 seconds to keep the light drizzle away. The vehicle was perfectly silent save for that noise.

Bob’s picture was crudely taped to the dashboard above and to the left of the heat register. She and their closest friends had staged an intervention that August and Bob had chosen to take the opportunity to go to invasive and intensive treatment in California until late January. Life had been hard with Bob’s abuse – and it had been hard with him absent.

People think money fixes everything; whatever… Jo thought as she looked forward to the line of cars filled with parents – many of whom she knew – many of whom who were wealthy – many of whom had similar problems she was experiencing.

As her car inched closer to the front entrance, Jo saw her daughter Alex jogging toward the late model SUV. If it had been a maroon Chrysler minivan, it would’ve stuck out among the late model luxury vehicles; but in this lineup, Alex had to look for the aftermarket polished chrome wheels her Dad had had installed before bringing the car home to her mom with a bow on top.

Opening the door, she tossed her bag in and silently buckled her seatbelt.

“It’s nice to see you too dear,” Jo said, as she proceeded to pull the car out toward the exit, “what’s eating you this afternoon? And what d’y’wanna eat for lunch?”

“Nothing mom.”

“Alex. Knock it off and talk girlfriend.” Having children young had it’s perks – Jo saw through the nonsense quicker than some older parents; and felt much more confidence in cutting through the crap.

“Well, Jordan and I got these today.” She showed her mom crafty invitation from Georgia.

“And…”

“Jordan says she isn’t going. And I know Georgia doesn’t have many friends and I know she spent a lot of time thinking about who to invite – and making these invitations – and carefully planning her party –and it’s going to really hurt her feelings if Jordan doesn’t go. But she’s so stubborn and she’s made up her mind.”

“Well why doesn’t she want to go? When is it?”

“It’s not the schedule. It’s something else….”

“Well what?”

“Mom – I don’t think I can say…she told me in confidence…”

“Alex you’re the one who brought it up – I’m not trying to pry – I’m not trying to drag gossip out. You should know that I’m the last person who wants to spread gossip.”

Alex knew how badly gossip had hurt she and her mom through her dad’s addiction, abuse cycles, and now his treatment. It wasn’t fun. She knew her mom was really a safe haven.

“Well – Jordan’s been wetting the bed. Like major. For a few weeks. She even went to the hospital and had this sleep test thing to check her sleep patterns or something. That was last night.”

“Oh?” Jo hadn’t heard this from Sally, but they hadn’t talked about the kids in the past month – only Ted and his escapades with that tramp Melissa. As far as Jo knew, Alex didn’t know about the affair.

“Well Jordan just told me about it last night when she was at the hospital – you know we talked on the phone for a long long time right? I think she was like terrified I was going to quit being her friend or something crazy. She’s all stress and embarrassed about it like it’s this terrible secret. The worst part for her is she had to wear a diaper last night and her mom’s been making her wear pull-ups at home so she won’t wreck the mattress; which of course she’s embarrassed about.”

“I see,” Jo said as they pulled onto 99 south headed toward downtown, “you haven’t said where you want to eat by the way.”

“I don’t care mom, you pick. Anyways, so when we got this invitation today Jordan just went on and on about how she couldn’t possibly go to this party because everyone would find out about her secret problem and then they’d hate her even more. And Moom—It’s just not true!! I don’t believe it! Those are nice girls!! Georgia is so sweet. And all her friends!! They’re not like Nicole and Amber and the rest of those twats.”

“Watch your mouth young lady!” Jo probably would’ve used the same word herself but she had to at least act like a responsible mother.

“Sorry – but they are.”

Jo glared at her.

“Anyways, I’m pretty much Jordan’s only friend and she keeps doing things like this to alienate herself from other friendships. I’m really worried about her. All she does is stay in her room and write those silly stories. I mean, we hang out and stuff and I love her because she’s so smart and funny and creative – but I’m worried she’s gonna drive herself crazy by how serious she is. Like – could that be causing this bedwetting thing in the first place?!”

“So that’s why you’re so upset…you’re not so much worried about Georgia’s feelings as you are worried about Jordan…”

“I guess so.” They were crossing the bridge over the causeway connecting Puget Sound with Lake Union. Alex looked out and saw a ferry headed to the Island across bay.

“Listen honey – Jordan’s got to find her own way in life…she’s got to make her own decisions and she’s got to make her own mistakes. It’s thoughtful of you to care about how you think she’s screwing up – and it’s thoughtful of you to give her advice – but in the end, she gets to decide and you need to continue to be a good friend and stick with her.” Jo wouldn’t have been able to give this kind of calm advice before the intervention with her husband but that experience had taught her a ton about relationships and boundaries.

She continued, “Because she’s so young, and because I’m personal friends with Sally, I’ll mention it to her – but that’s all the more any of us can do at this point.”

Alex felt frustrated. She continued to look out the window.

"But as for you – you need to find a way to let this go. You are not your friend. YOU are not JORDAN. You make your own decisions and so does she. And you can still love her and be her friend….right?

“Right mom…” Alex knew she was right; as far as she could understand this mumbo jumbo. Jordan and what she considered to be her anti-social ways still frightened Alex – and this bedwetting thing just seemed like an excuse to stay home more.


When Jordan got home that afternoon, she spent some quality time with her siblings and actually offered to help her mom with some cleanup around the house. The affection she had felt the previous night from her mother had gone a long way – and besides, her story was done and there were no new projects on the horizon for the moment. The four girls spent the bulk of the evening watching movies, eating popcorn, and playing on the floor together. It was divine.

Before long, bedtime approached for Jen and not long after, it came for Mindi. Jordan and her mom stayed up for quite a while later laying on the hardwood floor talking.

“Jordan dear, this weekend I want to start potty training Jen. It’s time. I don’t know if you remember what it was like when we did the same for Mindi, but part of the deal is that diapers (at least during the day) go away. Period. No pull-ups, no training pants, nothing of the sort. Only big-girl panties. That means we will have some accidents to deal with. But with both of you girls as toddlers, a weekend at home and these rules was all we needed to get you trained.”

“Ok. So are you telling me I need to help or something?”

“Not exactly. This is what needs to happen though. Jen is only 2 ½ years old and she’s going to be confused with potty training if she sees her older sisters wearing pull-ups or diapers around the house. You two still need to wear them at night – and that is fine and I understand and support that – but she won’t get it and it will hamper her process if she see’s either of you wearing them.”

Jordan picked at something on her foot.

“So this is what’s gonna happen first thing in the morning. We’re gonna move Mindi into your ro—”

“Mooom!!! NOOO!” She immediately objected as she came to grasp

“Listen Jordan – didn’t you hear what I said? Your sister Jen isn’t gonna get out of diapers period if her sister Mindi is prancing around in front of her in a diaper every night… And she needs them… And so we’ve got to get her out of that room. You’re wearing diapers too for now and so the two of you are gonna share a room. You might not like it but this is gonna be how it’s gonna be.” Sally tried to say it with finality and confidence.

Jordan frowned. “…so the diapered babies have to share a room together then…”, not really liking the sound of the position or point, but really wanting to keep her own room.

“If you really think you’re a baby because you have a medical problem, you need more help than I can give you. I’m not even gonna bother arguing with that.”

She’s right. And if I complain too hard, she might not be so sweet to me like she’s been lately.

“Aaalriiiigh….” Jordan said in a conciliatory but complaining voice.

“Thanks honey. I know this isn’t easy. Let’s get you ready for bed.” Sally put her arm around her daughter and smiled.

The two got up and hugged; then arms around each other’s shoulders and backs, the two slowly made their way back to the bedroom at the far back right corner at the end of the hall.


That morning, Sally and the kids had stopped at the hospital pharmacy where Sally had asked the pharmacist if they sold the purple diapers used in the hospital rooms.

“Oh, you’re talking about our Molicare briefs. Those are a brand new line of product just on the market this year; the hospital is committed to the best perineal care possible and these briefs are simply outstanding. They are made in Europe so they cost a little more than the stuff you’ll find at Fred Meyer or Walmart, but they also won’t leak or cause rashes nearly as often.”

Jordan had turned bright red.

“Great. I’d like to purchase a couple packages if possible for my daughter here. What size do you suppose she needs?” Sally looked at Jordan and motioned to her with her open hand.

At that Jordan had almost died in shame. Mindi had done a double take and looked directly at her sister’s face for a reaction. Even Jen had noticed that Jordan was embarrassed.

“Wats wwong Jowdeee?” Jen had mouthed.

Frozen, Jordan hadn’t respond.

Sizing up Jordan, the Pharmacist responded, “I think size small would adequate and I think we do have a couple bags available – fourteen come in each.”

“Excellent.”

Leaving the hospital and entering the basement parking lot, Jordan had been made to carry a bag of her own adult diapers – plain as day – no bag or anything. The previous few weeks had been one mortifying experience after enough.

Please don’t see anyone I know, please don’t see anyone I know, Please, Please, Please. She had prayed as they walked.


“Ok Jordie, for the next little bit, I’m going to help you get your night diaper on. I think you’ll get the hang of it after a few weeks – but maybe this’ll go away by then. Let’s go in the bathroom tonight though so it doesn’t have to be in front of your new roommate, ok?” Sally motioned for Jordan to get one of her purple diapers from the closet.

“Ok.” She got the hint and struggling with the thick plastic bag, wrestled the first diaper free.

The two entered the bathroom together and as she had become accustomed, the twelve year old handed her mom her diaper and pulled down her skirt and panties. Lying down on the soft bathroom mat, she pulled up her knees and leaned them outward. Sally unwrapped the diaper as she had done the night before and slid it toward Jordan’s rear end.

“Lift up sweetie.”

Jordan obeyed. And once again as she looked toward the ceiling and relaxed, she felt a similar but slightly more clear sense of peaces as what had come to her in the hospital. It was strange but real.

“Ok knees apart a little bit more…hold it right there…you’ve still got some rash going on down there…”. Jumping up Sally scurried back down the hall and Jordan heard her rummaging in a plastic sack. She lay waiting, innocently, helplessly, for her mom to finish taking care of her.

This time, Jordan could see that the over-the-counter tube was labeled “Desitin” and it had a much stronger smell than the stuff her mom had used at the hospital. She immediately recognized it as the same product her sisters had received for years and she also immediately felt relief from the mild burning down below.

“Another day or two and it’ll be taken care of baby – not to worry.” Her mom said sweetly.

With a little more expertise this time, Sally pulled the soft plastic garment into place and snugly taped each of the four blue tapes. Once again, Jordan felt its thickness between her legs. Her mom helped her up and held open sleep shorts for her to step into. The tall girl couldn’t help but waddle her way around the corner to her bedroom in not much more than a diaper and a t-shirt.

“Thanks mom.” She quietly said, crawling into bed.

“You’re welcome darling. Sleep tight” Sally said as she hugged her girl gave her rear a pat through the bedspread.

That night, shortly after snuggling down in bed, Jordan wriggled free from her shorts, kicking them off in bed. The sensation of her slick diaper sliding against her covers felt inexplicably good. The girl with the secret slept the rest of the night in just her bare purple diaper and a t-shirt; she reasoned to herself it’s just to make it easier in the morning for mom.

Re: “Stories we Tell”

Thanks for this very well written story. I’m enjoying it and look forward to seeing where it goes from here.

Re: “Stories we Tell”

Chapter 12 – [Monday, November 19]

Monday at school was a little tense. Alex and the birthday girl Georgia’s along with the other two invited slumber party guests, Cindy and Riley, clearly had bonded through the experience. Jordan was the only person to turn down an invitation.

To make matters worse, Jordan had left it up to Alex to share the bad news with their shy acquaintance Georgia, which turned out not to be a wise move. Alex couldn’t think of a good excuse in the moment and so just announced that, ‘I dunno – Jordan doesn’t wanna come’.

The birthday girl hadn’t taken it well – she had poured over her classmates for hours with her Mom – apparently to put together the perfect combination of friends (she didn’t have many). She furthermore had spent several more hours creating the invitations for the perfect classy gesture. Jordan simply not showing up without a word made it too late for Georgia to regroup and re-plan many of the personalized activities.

Over the course of the evening and Sunday morning, the girls (with Alex in tacit support) had spent a great deal of time talking about Jordan and what might have caused her to be so horribly rude to Georgia. In fact, Jordan had become the focal point of the party in some sense. Alex had felt caught in the middle (but yet strangely and happily included) of a new friend group that saw her best friend as an enemy. Of the many suggestions floated regarding Jordan’s absence, bedwetting was quickly laughed off among the crowd of others which included her innate bitchiness, ‘that time of the month’, her ‘bastard’ of a father, and innuendos to ‘perverted desires’.

The four had gossiped about Jordan’s aloofness at school and her overall reluctance to make any friends at all. They had agreed that indeed, this invitation from Georgia was an act of kindness; an act of charity which only would’ve helped Jordan’s social life in the long run. But she had coldly and callously decided to destroy their fun and continue on her crash course for social irrelevancy at BCS.

The four had gone on to discuss what they had perceived to be Jordan’s lack of interest in boys. None of them had ever heard her talk openly about her ‘crushes’ at school (that is, except Alex – and given her new place in the social pod she too afraid to risk it just yet to stand up for her old friend). They had talked about how at the final dance of their 6th grade year, Jordan hadn’t come because she had been sick; more like “sick” (Cindy made quotation marks with her fingers as she said the word). They had all laughed, judgments swimming in their heads that Jordan might secretly be……lesbian.

Homosexuality was beyond taboo in the snugly knit Christian community although that more generalized American shame had been wearing off in 2001 Seattle. Jordan was in fact, entirely heterosexual as far as she was aware at twelve years old – and she actually at present had a crush on a boy at school (Joey Michael, a fellow 7th grader and the brother of Chrissy whom she and Alex had attacked with water balloons the week before school) although she hadn’t bothered to share it with anyone.


In the bathroom that morning before class at school, Jordan overheard some of the girls from the party talking about her.

“So she still hasn’t called you or said sorry or anything yet?” Said one voice.

“No but I’m not really expecting anything from that bitch…” said another.

“I just don’t see why Lexi–” (Is that what they’re calling her now?, Jordan thought still in the stall.)"–was even friends with her. She’s got about as much personality as a petrified log."

“Yeah!” A third voice laughed, “and she looks like a power forward in a skirt.”

A chorus of laughter echoed through the room.

“Amber and Nicole were calling her Giraffe at the beginning of the year – more like T-rex from what I can see!” more laughter came and then water running.

“Well let’s just say you dodged a bullet Georgia.”

“Without a doubt. When I have my birthday party next….” the voices faded as they walked out of the bathroom and the door shut.

In shock and almost in tears, Jordan sat there frozen. I can’t believe that just happened…

Although she was introverted and kind of aloof, Jordan was quite sensitive and longed for connection like. Like any budding adolescent girl, she wanted almost more than anything to be liked and accepted by her peers. It wasn’t her first choice that Alex was her only friend.


Ted was wearing his typical tailored shirt and tie sitting at the bar of Seattle’s only train-track-style sushi restaurant. The matching jacket hung on the coat rack near the window overlooking 5th avenue. A beautiful auburn haired woman with green eyes sat across from him daintily placing a piece of raw salmon with rice in between her painted red lips.

She had just given her best argument for him to file for divorce, get an apartment downtown, and “move on with his life” (which meant, with her). The bite of sushi was skillfully planned to give him time to respond.

Was calling her a ‘witch’ the best move? Melissa thought to herself as she carefully chewed. Maybe it was a little too harsh. But it definitely is true what I said – that she doesn’t understand him or respect his work. I do. We’re a better match together 10 times over and we’ll actually make a life together. All that’s true.

Ted thought about what she had said as she chewed and gazed into his eyes with that look. He was enamored. With lust. She was right that Sally didn’t appreciate his work in the same way – but what she hadn’t said is that Sally had never been with him in bed like she had either. Not once. And he was intoxicated.

“Let’s do it Ted. I wanna go places with you. We can move to New York. We can get back to the heart of our work. We can take Hope international.” She pleaded, mouth now empty again.

He thought some more – now about his girls. This is never what he had planned actually. His dream was always to live a long life married to one woman – to be faithful and stable for his kids; to grow them up strong and wise and mature; to walk them down the aisle himself and to give them away to a man better than he. Now it felt as though those were pipe dreams.

He knew what he was doing with Melissa was an affair – infidelity – adultery. It was exciting and fun and fulfilling to have a partner in his career and in the bed that matched him; but he also felt great shame about thought of walking away from his girls. It’s never how he had planned his life to go. And he felt incredibly guilty for the disappointment it would bring to them.

“The truth Ted – is that that woman wants different things than you too. She wants a nine to five guy who mows the lawn and has a pension. You’re a dreamer; you’re a risk-taker; you’re a professional. You’re never gonna be a nine to five guy and she’s gonna set your girls up to hate you until they’re driven themselves and come to see you for who you are: an amazing accomplished and successful man who kicks some serious ass in bed.”

His pride in all he could accomplish was stirred for a moment.

Then he thought about Jordie when she was a little girl – about teaching her to ride a bike. He thought about Mindi’s birth and losing her first tooth. He thought about holding Jen for the first time.

How can I give them up? But Melissa’s right though…Sally does want different things and as long as I’m with her, I’m gonna be frustrated. And in the end, the girls will be too. They don’t’ want their dad to be a loser gas-pump attendant. They want their dad to be someone they can be proud of! With Melissa – I can be that man.

“Ok. I’ll do it. Let’s get married.”


That afternoon in study hall, Alex drummed up enough courage to talk with Jordan about what had happened over the weekend. A foreign emotion to her, Alex felt the flutters of fear float through her veins and hands.

I hope this goes ok, she thought. Pulling her friend into the hall, she began her intervention.

“Jordan we need to talk.” Alex said as sternly as possible.

“Yeah. I think we do.” Jordan replied with a bit of condescension.

Taken aback and a bit surprised, Alex said, “Oh…you too huh?”

Jordan just stared at her.

“Jordan do you have any idea what people are saying about you?”

“Yeah. Actually. I do. And thanks a lot for sticking up for me at the party.” The taller girl suddenly full of confidence barked.

“Jordan – what was I supposed to do? You slammed the door in the face of the richest girl in school! She invited you to a slumber party and you didn’t even offer the dignity of a response!! Don’t you know how low that is? Every girl in school would’ve DIED to get that invitation. Everyone knows about what you di—”

Embarrassed but feeling defensive, Jordan cut her off. Her face flushed. “I don’t care. We’re supposed to be best friends and you let them talk about me behind my back. All kinds of lies; I bet I didn’t hear the half of it in the bathroom this morning----”

“What?” Alex looked confused.

“In the bathroom this morning, I heard all of them talking about how much of a bitch I am and how much you hate me now – LEXI.” The name seethed off her teeth.

“Jordan – I’m really sorry you heard that. It wasn’t right. I’m not making excuses. And as far as I’m concerned, you’re still my best friend.” She paused wanting that to sink in. “But listen, Georgia was SO hurt you didn’t even call her to tell her you weren’t coming. I can’t even tell you….She was crying and crying and crying. It was like a way bigger deal than even I could’ve expected. I tried to tell her why you weren’t there but I couldn’t come up with a good excuse in the moment and I didn’t want to lie. They all talked about you all weekend – they came up with all these theories for why you weren’t there…I tried to stop them Jordie but…what was I supposed to do?!?”

“You could’ve defended me!”

“Jordan!!! We were invited together – Georgia planned the whole thing. She knew we were friends. You were the one who abandoned ME!”

The word stung Jordan. But she saw the truth in it. She thought about what it must’ve been like for Alex. I’m pretty much her only friend too – she wouldn’t lie to me I don’t think.

Seeing through her friend, Alex continued. “Jordan. I don’t think it’s over though. I think we can fix this. I think we both can be friends with Georgia and their group. They’re just saying that stuff because they got hurt.”

Jordan started to cry a little.

“What you need to do is go talk to Georgia, tell her that you’re REALLY REALLY sorry. Give her a REALLY good excuse. Like maybe tell her that you were in the hospital on Thursday and that you were super sick – which you were in a way – you don’t have to tell her WHY – tell her you had that sleep thing because you’ve been waking up super tired in the morning and they needed to check it out. Tell her that after you got home Friday, you got really sick from some of the medicine they gave you or something and your Mom made you stay in bed all day and wouldn’t let you touch the phone. Blame it on your mom. She’ll take the heat I guarantee it.”

“Yeah?…Do you think she’d accept that?” Jordan snorted.

“I’ll talk to her too and tell her the same story – I’ll apologize and order her to stop the rumors. I’ll do everything I can Jordan.”

“Ok – I’ll try Alex. Lexi. Whatever.” Jordan said meekly.

“Alex. I hate that they’re calling me that stupid name….But listen – you have to promise to do something for me though.”

“What?” Jordan wiped another tear from her eye.

“The next time we get invited to one of these – YOU WILL SAY YES. I DON’T CARE IF YOU POOP YOUR BRAINS OUT ALL NIGHT LONG. YOU WILL SAY YES.”

That announcement in such a public place peaked Jordan’s energy level, “SHHHH! OK OK OK! I will, I will.”

“Ok. Then. Let’s do this…. Best friends?” Jordan opened her arms for a hug.

Jordan obliged.

The two worked their Junior High social magic the rest of that afternoon and the counter-gossip movement quickly was set into motion. Before the day was out, Jordan’s name was at least partially cleared among Georgia’s circle. Georgia herself had mouthed the words “I understand, it’s ok” to Jordan after receiving her apology and explanation. They even had hugged.

Maybe this year is on it’s way uphill now, Jordan had thought at the end of the school day.


Before going home, Jordan stopped in the English 101 room for one final talk with Mr. Johns. Maybe he’ll cheer me up.

“Hi Mr. Johns, you going home soon?” She said as she knocked on his open class windowed office door facing the steel and concrete hallway.

“Not quite yet Jordan, I have a lot to do before then.” Mr. Johns said just barely looking up from his desk.

“Oh – I was just wanting to let you know I got my story all turned in; postmarked at 4:59pm on Friday; right before the deadline.” She smiled.

“Oh that’s nice Jordan, good to hear.” He said unenthusiastically, this time without looking up.

“Mr. Johns,” Jordan said glancing down the hall toward the student lounge full of students hanging out on leather recliners, “are you alright? You seem pretty stressed lately.”

Almost startled he looked up. “…It’s that obvious huh?”

“Um…Yeah…” she said making motions that it was beyond obvious.

“Listen Jordan – I’ve got some pretty heavy stuff weighing on me right now…it’s adult stuff though and it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to share it with you. I’m really sorry I can’t really give you my full attention right now. Truly. But I am still very proud of you and I’m sure your story will do very well in the contest.” He muscled a smile to this particular girl who needed male attention. And it was extremely hard for him to say the things he said as calmly as he did. The political drama swirling in his life had been almost unbearable over the past few days – and Jordan only reminded him of it.

“Ok Mr. Johns. Well I’m sorry you’re so stressed…I’ll send up a prayer for you, for what it’s worth. Thanks again for all your help.” She wandered off toward the bus-loading zone.

That was super weird. I wonder what’s eating him?

Re: “Stories we Tell”

Chapter 13 - [December 7-9, 2001]

Sally intuitively knew it would be irresponsible (or even abusive) of her to try to rely on her girls for emotional support during her separation with Ted. But beyond that, she also knew that the three of them could handle only so much of the truth of what was actually happening between their parents. They simply were not yet equipped to deal with that kind of adult stress.

Jordan in particular, it seemed, was coping by eating up as much nurture as Sally could give her. Particularly around bedtime, her behavior was beginning to have a bit of a toddler edge to it; almost regressing into a state of helplessness as Sally tenderly diapered her each night. The thirty five year old mother of three didn’t mind it – she just found it difficult to make sense of the overall shift itself in the context of their household The eldest girl could seemingly swing from taking directions about watching her sisters or checking on the laundry to being almost helpless in a matter of just seconds. It was perplexing.

She seems to be in a very fragile state right now – and I don’t want to open up so much as to hurt her. Sally had thought one Friday morning as she crawled out of bed.

Her thoughts continued to bubble around the separation as she ambled across the chilled living room and down the dark hallway. She and Ted had planned for Jordan and her sisters to spend the weekend at his apartment downtown. He would pick them up later that night. Even though it was only a one-bedroom space, he had assured her that he had room for the girls – who would be sharing his bedroom while he would be out on the couch in the living room. As she went into the Jordan’s room to get her up for school before the baby, she was greeted by the musty smell of old urine. It had been almost impossible to get rid of the odor once the two bedwetters had joined forces in once space. Even in diapers, it seemed that the smell just lingered.

“Good morning Jordie,” she said sweetly.

With hopeful anticipation of a dry diaper, Sally gently pulled away Jordan’s comforter to be greeted by Jordan in only a t-shirt and very wet purple diaper whose two blue stripes of “m’s” on the front were obliterated, giving away its contents. For the past few weeks, Sally had found Jordan dressed like this in the morning despite being put to bed wearing pajama bottoms or sleep shorts. She found it slightly odd although she never was aware of her daughter’s sleep habits per se before the bed wetting had begun; so she figured that maybe kicking off her bottoms was a normal nightly ritual for the girl.

“Time to get up sweeties.” She announced a little more firmly.

As Sally checked the middle daughter Mindi, she found her pull-up dry as a bone. Hmmm…the third night in a row. Good Job girl!

“We need to get working on packing for the weekend before you go this morning – remember your dad is gonna pick you up from school today Jordan?”

Jordan mumbled incoherently and then rolled over, exposing the completely drenched backside of her diaper and two wet streaks of pee on her bed – one from either side of her rear end. For the most part, these new fancy diapers had done the trick and it was only on mornings where Jordan slept in that she had slight leakage problems. But with the plastic sheet still on the bed, laundry was much less of an issue.

Not seeing much more in the way of responses from either girl, Sally began the fake drill sergeant routine. “Up – now! Get packing! Clothes. Diapers. Jacket. Shoes. Church Clothes. Move it!”

“Wait what?” The “d” word had aroused her attention and the messy haired teenager propped her head up leaning on her elbows.

“You need to pack for Dad’s this weekend. Get up.”

“But I have to take diapers?”

“Well of course. Look at yourself.”

Jordan looked down and felt the cold but gel-like mass between her legs and under her butt.

“But I don’t want Dad to have to……and I don’t want him to see….”

“You can do it yourself honey – you’ve seen me do it enough. You’re twelve years old. I think you can handle it this one weekend.”

Still looking a little dazed and confused she said, “…okaaaaay…”, flopping backwards back on the pillow in feigned exhaustion.

“Now up!”


Sally had kept Ted updated about Jordan’s medical progress over the past month or so: the OB/GYN appointment, sleep apnea testing, the GoodNites and then the diapers, the nightly wetting, her theories as to the causes, etc. He had seemed genuinely uninterested and even when she gave him the overall medical update of all three girls before this particular weekend visit – he still waved her details aside as though they were a pesky insect.

“Okay okay, I got it, we’ll be fine.”

But when he arrived that Friday afternoon to pick the two younger girls up, she reminded him about Jordan’s diapers one more time and he perked up with a little more incredulity.

“Don’t you think she’s a little old to be wearing diapers Sally? I mean, I get why you’ve got the five year old prancing around in 'em but the twelve year old too?! I mean did you just say she’s got her period now for Christ sakes?”

“Fine Ted – if you want whatever fancy leather furniture you have leased to get saturated in pee (or blood) leaking out of that twelve year old, be my guest. But in OUR house, we respect what we’ve got and we do what’s practical. That means diapers.”

“Jeez ok. You don’t have to bite my head off…ya battleaxe,” whispering the last word under his breath of earshot. “Now do you really have the 2 year old OUT of diapers too?!? – I wouldn’t say that’s a little backwards but we’ve already been down that road…”

She gave him a death look and he stopped in his tracks.

“Got it. Diapers for the teenager, ‘yes’. Diapers for the toddler, ‘no’. Sure. Makes PERFECT sense.” He said trying to get a rise out of her as he plopped in the car where the two girls awaited.

“Love you girls, have fun and obey your Dad. I’ll see you on Sunday. Call me every night ok?”

“OK MOM!!!” They shouted as Ted rolled up the window.


Jordan and her ‘other’ family went bowling together that Friday night and then out to eat. Both of those activities happened with the now ‘ever-present-with-Dad’ Melissa. Over dinner at the spaghetti factory, Jordan started reminding her dad about her Mars story she had been working on.

“Dad do you remember that story I was writing about Mars?”

“Um…yeah…I think so…” he said partially cut off by Jordan’s nervous and thorough run-on-sentence storytelling…

“…Well this fall at school, I had this teacher Mr. Johns – he’s an English teacher and he’s amazing and he told us about this competition that NPR is was doing where kids would write and enter short stories for a chance to have them read on live radio and win a trip to Washington DC and so Mr. Johns told the whole class that if we wrote good enough stuff he would help us win the competition – he’s so great isn’t he? I love how…….” Jordan went on and on and on and on about Mr. Johns and how he had been the biggest bright spot in her school year so far, about her story and how he had glowed about her talent and ability, about how he had edited it and helped her submit it to the competition – and how they were supposed to get word within days or weeks as to the results. She also told him about how he has been so strange and distant the past couple times she interacted with him.

The speech came out like vomit. Jordan herself didn’t even know why she was saying what she was saying; it just kept coming and coming and coming, uncontrollably. It was possible that a part of her wanted recognition from her dad for her writing acumen –perhaps the kind of recognition that Mr. Johns offered. The speech may have been a kind of demonstration: “see, this is how to be a loving male presence in my life Dad”, she could’ve been saying.

Oddly, during this soliloquy, Ted became quiet – listening rather than interrupting – appearing introspective instead of the court jester. In fact, Melissa actually had to help out the younger two with their meals during Jordan’s monologue because of Ted’s stone faced focus (and ‘mothering’ was most certainly not her forte).

Well isn’t that poetic, he thought to himself, the do-gooder board member raises his ugly head once again in my life. I honestly hope Jordan doesn’t get too close to this guy for her own good – because it ain’t gonna end well for him if he keeps pushing like he’s been.

Although Ted hadn’t before specifically known that Mr. Johns was negatively affected by what had taken place, Ted did happen to know exactly why he was having such a bad day that day. He needs to keep his mouth shut, thought Ted.


Jordan hadn’t seen Melissa for almost a month. In their get-togethers after the catastrophe at the Japanese restaurant, Ted had elected to keep his time with Melissa separate from his girls (or at least from Jordan). She was at Ted’s apartment when they walked in and both Jordan and she were cordial but chilly. The space itself was gorgeous. Located in Belltown in a brand new condominium unit on the 34th floor. A small hallway lined with closets and the first bathroom formed the entryway which opened into the main living space: a living room to the left and open kitchen on the far wall beyond it – then the master bedroom through French doors on the right. The wall adjacent to the entryway hall was made up of all windows – facing north, overlooking the Space Needle and Queen Anne Hill. It truly had a gorgeous view. The floors were dark hard wood and all the finishes were the best: stone countertops, hardwood cabinets, quality moldings and appliances. This was a top-notch (albeit cozy) space.

Ted might’ve expected a little more maturity from his friend but couldn’t have thought Jordan would’ve forgiven Melissa so quickly for her role in he and his wife’s separation. The dynamic between the two was honestly his greatest concern for the weekend and it would turn out to be quite uncomfortable for everyone. Clearly for Melissa, Ted’s kids were an inconvenience to be dealt with as quickly deftly as possible – rather than a joy to be embraced or a challenge to be tackled. She’d rather not have to worry (or think) about them at all if possible. When Ted had pulled her aside that evening to tell her about Jordan’s diapers, she was more flabbergasted than he had been.

“Melissa I think her mom has been putting those things on her every night and I can’t do that to my twelve-year-old daughter!! I just can’t go there…so if it comes to it…I’m gonna need you to talk to her and help her out…ok?”

“Ted what if I’m not ok with this either!?!”

“Listen!!” He said in a hushed voice opening his eyes wide as though he were ready to go to war, “You are asking me to divorce my wife!! You are asking me to leave my family!! You are asking me to do a lot!!! YOU WILL DO THIS!! GOT IT?!”

“Ok — I’ve got it.” Melissa said reluctantly.

Later that evening as Ted was preparing Jen’s pack-and-play in the living room and cajoling Mindi to get prepared for bed herself, Melissa made her way into the master bedroom to talk to Jordan (at Ted’s behest).

Wearing a trendy screen-printed t-shirt with tightly fitting jeans, she was about as far from carrying the ethos of ‘mother’ as possible. Standing in the doorway she announced, “So…um…Do you need help with your…thing…?”

Not even looking up from her suitcase, Jordan replied, “No.”

The release of responsibility was all Melissa needed. Turning, she found a place back on the couch, looking out over the city.

Jordan, on the other hand, wrapped one of the three purple diapers (she had brought an extra for the weekend just in case) in her pajamas and tiptoed through her dad’s closet and into the relatively modest master bathroom. Closing the white painted door and going through the motions now of removing her school skirt and pink panties, she lay herself down on the tile floor. It was cold.

Holding the soft plastic article in her hands, Jordan liked how it felt.

She began to unwrap it and leaned her head forward to see it’s every detail. Because mom had usually done this, many of them had gone unnoticed to her. She saw the pale purple color, the darker purple wetness stripes, the white tapes with ‘molicare’ in script with blue tapes underneath, bands of elastic around the edges of the diaper with these other elastic gathers inside pointing up toward the bottom of the wearer, and thick soft padding inside.

A knock rapped on the door. “Jordan? Are you in there?” It was the pre-teen’s Dad.

She scrambled for a towel to cover her exposed privates in case he just barged in. “I’m getting dressed Dad!!”

“Just checking to make sure you’re ok Hun.”

“I’m FINE dad.”

“Ok Hun.”

Jordan returned to her task. Removing the towel, she flung the diaper out in front of her and then reached around the outside of her legs and under her knees to grasp it once again. While lifting up her body, she scooted the diaper up under her rear-end.

This is harder without Mom, she thought.

Sally had been very attentive to Jordan’s perineal area after the rash had developed and another had not shown up since. The young girl had felt no sensitivity that day so she chose to forgo the Desitin cream – although she had grown to kind of like the smell in the privacy of her own home. She didn’t, however, like how the thick substance pulled on her newly forming hair in that region when her mom applied it – and she didn’t like the lingering odor she would often pick up at school. Jordan leaned forward and pulled her purple diaper up between her legs as her mom had done so many dozens of times in her lifetime and tried to center it on her body. She attempted to pull it snugly around her legs to moderate success and taped each lower adhesive in place followed by the uppers.

Standing up and looking at herself in the mirror, the diaper appeared slightly looser and more lopsided than when her mom had helped.

I hope this holds up, she thought. Quickly, the young teenage girl pulled on her pajama bottoms and changed tops and waddled toward the door.

“FINALLY!!” Melissa exclaimed as the door opened and the teenager crinkled past. She was holding her own pajamas and apparently was waiting to change herself.

“What are you waiting for anyways?” Jordan asked incredulously, momentarily not feeling embarrassment about the obvious diaper that could be seen through her pajama bottoms.

Almost sheepishly Melissa glanced back at Ted who was reading Mindi a story in his bed. “Just changing into my pajamas.” Was all she said.

The truth was that this was technically Melissa’s apartment and Ted had moved into it under the auspices of renting it for himself – she had hidden her clothes from the bedroom closet in the hall closets only at his demand during the kids’ visit. She would be sleeping on the floor by the couch (to her annoyance) that night.

Jordan felt more than annoyed. She IS trying to replace Mom. And is doing a pretty crappy job too!!


Early Saturday morning, Jordan rolled over and opened her eyes to see the gray Seattle sky with the Space Needle front and center. I could get used to this. Mindi was sharing the bed with her and she was still fast asleep.

But moving her hands to her diaper, the teenager’s heart immediately dropped – and then almost stopped. Her diaper had leaked. Badly.

She could feel cold urine on the leg of her pajamas and running up part of her back. It was soaked into her Dad’s soft feather bed topper underneath her and she felt cold.

OH NO!!! OH NO!!! Not here!!! PLEASE NOT HERE!!!

Frozen with fear, Jordan just stayed in bed and tried to go back to sleep with moderate success. She didn’t know how long it had been before Melissa tiptoed through the master bedroom toward the bathroom. Stopping in the closet she grabbed something Jordan couldn’t see and then turned around. The diaper clad teenager continued to act as though she was asleep. Melissa sniffed the air and walked over to the bed.

Jordan felt the woman grasp the comforter and before she could react, both she and Mindi were completely exposed to the cold morning air.

“Oh. My. God. What the fuck did you do!!!” Melissa barked at full volume, almost a yell. “I thought those things were supposed to keep you from destroying MY furniture you little shit!! Do you have any idea how much that mattress and feather bed cost me? Get up!!! GET UP!! GET UP GET UP!!! NOW!!!”

Jolted awake, Jordan was scared of this woman who seemed to be out of control. There was no sign of her Dad anywhere near the bedroom. She quickly rolled over and sat on the edge of the bed.

“UP I SAID!!! MOVE! UP!!!” Melissa firmly grabbed Jordan’s arm and pulled her to her feet. The older woman was about 4 inches shorter and weighed 25lbs less than the teenager but her confidence and anger temporarily made up the difference.

“Turn around!” she barked. With one motion Melissa maintained an iron grip with her left hand on Jordan’s left bicep and spun her around and pushed it forward – at the same time she used her right hand to grab ahold of the back waistband of Jordan’s pajamas and diaper. As she pulled down, Jordan thought, Is she gonna try to spank me? And she reacted without processing by falling with all her weight to the floor in a pool of tears and sobs.

It was then that Ted ambled into the room wiping sleep from his eyes holding a startled Jen. “What’s going on in here!?”

“Look at what your baby of a teenage daughter did to our bed!!!” Pointing to the wet spot.

Jordan was too shocked to defend herself – now almost hysterical in fear and tears.

“Melissa you need to take a breath dear – it was an accident. This is what happens with kids. We’ll get it cleaned.” Ted said firmly and calmly.

“TED LOOK!!! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH THAT COSTS!!! YOU’RE RIGHT WE’LL GET IT CLEANED!!” Mellissa said knowing she had been beat. She stomped into the master bath and slammed the door.

“Jordie are you ok?” He bent down and touched her shoulder. She flinched away and continued to cry. “Look honey I’m sorry she was mean – I’m sorry you’ve not been getting along with her – I promise it’ll get better. This is no big deal I swear.”

She didn’t respond. Ice Cold. He didn’t know what to do so he just moved back into the living room area with the baby still on his hip. This is impossible, he thought.


This is impossible, Sally thought that morning as she sipped coffee in her quiet living room holding the framed professional family photograph they had had taken the previous June.

How does a family like ours go from ‘model’ to ‘shipwrecked’ in just a few months? What happened?

She hadn’t spent the evening before with friends or at a church small group or with other family. She had stayed home alone and cried feeling sorry for herself and pacing around in anxiety worried about what would happen (or not happen) to her girls and their various problems – especially Jordan.

She thought about calling Ted’s early that Saturday morning– in fact she had had a strong (call it maternal instinct) impulse to try to get ahold of Jordan for some reason at around 5:30 but she resisted.

She’s gotta go through what she’s gotta go through over there and if I call – it’s gonna short circuit everything. She’s probably gonna want to come home and I’m gonna end up in a big fight with Ted and it’ll be awful. God please help me. For better or worse, I’ve gotta get outta this house; get my mind off it!

Sally steeled her emotions and made the choice to cut herself off from the girls for the duration of the weekend.

On a whim, the fretting mother of 3 chose to dial Jo Miller’s number. They had drifted apart through her husband Bob’s addiction problems but when they were both pregnant with their girls, they had been extremely close friends. Sally decided that it might be a good time to reconnect; and possibly a good way for her to build relationships outside her own home circle.

“Hello?” The voice on the other end of the line was both familiar and friendly.

“Jo? This is Sally Reynolds.”

“Oh Hi Sally! How’re you doing?”

“Well – actually. Not too well.”

Thus began about a two-hour phone conversation that culminated in coffee together at the Reynolds’s household with the pair staying up late with even more conversation together. Jo’s advice and wisdom gleaned over the years after having dealt with her difficult husband was invaluable to Sally in her current predicament. She couldn’t believe her luck to be friends with such an amazing person.

At one point in the conversation while the two were sitting in chairs in Sally’s living room, Jo remembered her promise to her daughter Alex to tell Sally about Jordan’s refusal to go to the slumber party a couple weeks ago.

“So a few weeks ago, Alex jumped in my car really upset about something going on with Jordan.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah – and I normally wouldn’t triangulate like this but I promised Alex I’d mention it to you so I will and then I’ll drop it. Ok?”

“Ok…?” Sally said now curious.

“Well – Alex told me she and Jordan received invitations for a sleepover slumber party at Georgia Yates’ house maybe 3 weeks ago – it was sort of last minute but that’s kind of how these kids do things. Anyways, Jordan told Alex she wasn’t going because she’s been wetting the bed? Or something? And Alex was extremely upset about her decision because she was worried that rejecting it would cause her to be a social outcast at school – or be picked on more or something. I guess Jordan gets teased quite a bit.”

“Jordaaaan…mmmmm…” Sally said aloud shaking her head, “her dad is gonna be so pissed. Mr. Yates is the chair of the School Board and he’s one of the biggest givers to Hope Seattle. It’s a pretty big slap in the face to that family for them to invite my daughter over for a party and then to have her turn around and say ‘no’. UGH!!! That girl!!!”

“Well – like I said, I’m just bringing you the message and getting out of it. Alex was concerned about her social stock and that’s a different issue than your concerns. But apparently this all happened and is true…so do with it what you’d like.”

Oh I’ll do something – you can bet your brastraps on that!! Sally thought to herself.

The evening had ended with hugs and friendly commitments to one another to stay more connected in the coming weeks and months. Sally with thankful and surprised by Jo’s grace and felt hopeful that perhaps she might’ve struck gold. Jo was hopeful of the same.


Ted, Melissa, and the girls spent the day hanging out at ‘his’ apartment and bopping around downtown bundled up in the rain. The next day, Ted had been offered corporate box seats to see the Seattle Seahawks. At the time, the old Kingdome had been destroyed and the new stadium was still under construction; so the team was temporarily playing at the college field in the “U District” on lake Washington (actually nearby the site of Jordan’s sleep study). Everyone was excited about the event but before it could happen, Saturday night sleeping preparations had to be made.

“Come let me help you get ready for bed Jordan.” Melissa said standing in the apartment’s bedroom doorway with a twinge of cheer in her voice but primarily with pragmatism. The teenage bed wetter sat on the living-room couch and gazed into a book assigned for English class.

What did she just say to me? There’s no way I’m letting that lady touch me!

Jordan ignored the request.

“Jordan…now…please?” Melissa nagged.

Again, still no response.

From the couch, Ted chimed in. They had strategized about this confrontation earlier in the day. “Jordie,” the girl cringed a bit as he used the term of endearment she had grown accustomed to hear exclusively from her Mom, “last night you didn’t do a very good job of putting your night…protection…on and we just can’t have you leak on our bed…I mean on my bed again. So Melissa is gonna help you with it tonight.”

Jordan immediately felt utterly alone. How was she to respond? How could she argue her way out of this? She wished her mom would come and take them home. She wished she never had to see that woman again…let alone allow her to…diaper me? A tear streaked down her face.

“Oh it’s not that bad.” Said Melissa as she noticed Jordan’s distress.

“Obey me Jordan.” Said Ted firmly.

The girl sloughed up and shuffled into the bedroom as Melissa closed the curtained glass door behind them.

“Where are your diapers Jordan?” the older but smaller woman asked.

“In there” said the tall teenage girl, pointing toward her suitcase but acting as though she was something more like 3 or 4. Melissa rummaged through the luggage until she produced a purple diaper.

“Ok, get over here.” She said motioning to the bed in front of her.

Jordan sauntered over with little commitment, looking straight down.

“Pants off please.”

Jordan didn’t react. Melissa didn’t wait. Unbuttoning the girl’s jeans and unzipping them herself, she pushed the waistband down. Frozen, Jordan still didn’t move. Once both they and her panties were at her feet, Melissa said, “Lie back on the bed please.”

Finally she responded as commanded. Melissa finished removing Jordan’s clothes hanging on her feet and she rather roughly unfolded the diaper. “Lift up your butt.” She obeyed and the stand-in caretaker slid it in place.

Now seeing Jordan’s obvious sign’s of womanhood and having already noticed the feminine pads in her suitcase, Melissa couldn’t help but berate the girl, “Jeez – I would expect someone as old and mature as you to be able to keep your panties dry at night. I saw your kotex in the suitcase so you must be bleeding already. Right? You know – we WOMEN don’t piss the bed – you know?. If you want a man to love you and notice you – you sure as shit can’t be wearing diapers at night!!” She laughed condescendingly.

Melissa roughly pulled the diaper up between the defeated girl’s legs and tightly sealed each leg cuff before taping shut the waistband. “There you go baby. Ready for your wet night. Don’t bother looking for your PJs, they’re still soaked with your pee-pee from last night. Go ahead and just stay in here and crawl in bed.”

She turned, shut off the light, and closed the door before Jordan had budged – suitcase still on the bed. She was alone in the bedroom with her sisters and dad with that strange woman outside in the living room. It was 7:30pm.


Jordan was shaken. Deeply. She couldn’t move for a long time despite the sounds she heard on the other side of the door. The warm feelings that had crept in about diapers over the preceding days had vanished and she couldn’t even touch it. She felt dirty. Ashamed. Alone. Abused.

What just happened to me? Is she right? Will I be in these things forever? Will kids treat me the same if they find out?

Her thoughts shifted to her Dad – who had disappointed her and hurt her so dreadfully over the past months and years. Why can’t I just have a Daddy who cares about me? Why can’t I have a Daddy who wants to be home with his girls? Who loves my mommy? Who wants to take care of us?
Who notices me?

At that thought she started crying. Sobbing then. Gasping. I just want him to see me.

Re: “Stories we Tell”

Chapter 14 – [December 10, 2001]

Seattle winters rarely see snow. They do, however, see relentlessly reappearing rain showers that chill to the bone. On the final Monday before Christmas vacation began, the cold drizzle cut Jordan to the core as she quickly walked up the path to the impressive glass and steel entrance of BCS.

Over the preceding several weeks, the tall girl with the shameful secret had had more than her share of traumatic life-events. Between the bedwetting, sleep apnea testing, drug-store diaper trips, bullying at school, stress with her father’s affair, and the ‘wicked stepmother’, it had been easy to be distracted from the news about the NPR story competition she had entered. It had only been during those late lonely hours at night or boring hours in class that her mind had wandered back to the subject – I wonder what’s happening with my story? When will I hear something? I’d like to hear some news at all; ANY news!

That particular Monday morning before Christmas break, the tall brunette decided to approach her increasingly aloof English teacher for better or for worse. To her surprise, as had happened once before, when Jordan asked Mr. Johns if he’d heard any updates, he only offered a goofy grin and said that she’d have to wait. Jordan assumed that that once again meant good news – and that like before, it’d be delivered at the end of class.

This time around, she didn’t have to wait that long.

During attendance and announcements, Mr. Johns happily declared, “Class, I’ve received some exciting news about one of your fellow classmates – and she hasn’t even been let in on it yet. About a month ago, someone in this room submitted a short story to that NPR competition I told you all about.” Students in the room looked around in confusing but also smiling and eyeing each other. Jordan’s heart began to beat harder.

“Well, over the weekend, I got a letter in my box saying that this student’s story has advanced in the competition to the second round!!” An audible gasp was heard throughout the room as kids looked more expectantly around the room. Jordan’s heart was beating rapidly and her face flushed. She could hardly smile she was so excited.

Is it mine? She wondered, Could it really be my story that won?

“This student, from 7th grade here at BCS had her’s,” He said ‘HER’s’ Jordan thought excitedly to herself, “was the top story chosen from the State of Washington and our local NPR affiliate wants to record her reading it’s own version of the story on the air for it’s local show in the next couple weeks!” Students in the room were giddy with excitement.

“Who is it?” some exclaimed.

“Tell us Mr. Johns!!!” others shouted.

“The name of this particular secret and talented author is…,” he waited, attempting to build anticipation, “Ms. Jordan Reynolds.”

Another gasp of shock reverberated through the room as all eyes moved to the tall brunette in the corner. She smiled brightly – her face as red as stop sign and sweat beading on her forehead.

Before either she or Mr. Johns had any time to say anything however, Jordan’s classmates burst into applause, conversation, smiles, encouraging laughter, and kind gestures. They seemed genuinely excited for her and the news. Jordan herself felt as though she was going to faint. Part of her had known that this was going to happen, but part of her couldn’t believe that it was finally becoming real. She felt proud and happy and terrified and shy all at the same time.

This probably means they’re all gonna read my story now – that’s kinda a terrifying thought.

After class, Mr. Johns told her about how NPR had already called and left a message on his machine about getting the story recorded for airing on the radio – they wanted it to happen that week with the holidays approaching.

“So do you think you’ll really want to do the narration yourself or have one of NPR’s DJs do it for you? Either way is ok I guess.” He asked.

“Wait, what? I have a choice?” she replied, thinking rapidly wondering whether or not she ought to try to get out of it.

“Well, when we make it to Washington D.C….,” wait…I guess I should say “if” shouldn’t I?, the teacher thought to himself, “they’ll have professional actors reading your material for you. But here in Seattle, the station needs to get your story into audio form as soon as possible and so it actually gave you the choice. It needs to be recorded one way or another by someone reading it aloud. You can do that if you want or we can just have someone at NPR do it. What’d’ya think?”

“Oh…hmmm,” the thought of reading it herself sounded scary but strangely exciting, “…I think I’ll do it.”

“Cool. Alright well I’ll get something set up and let you know.”

“Ok.” She said, turning to walk out of the room.

“And Jordan?” He said – the tall girl looking over her shoulder in response. “Congratulations!! I knew you could do it!!”

She smiled, “Thanks Mr. Johns!”


Sally spent Monday morning thinking about the previous evening.

When her daughters had arrived home from their father’s apartment Sunday night, Sally had seen the oldest rush silently from the cold gleaming black car parked out front clearly in distress. Quickly she had learned that her sweet girl had been in search of Mommy’s loving touch. With the other two girls left behind and Ted looking flabbergasted, embarrassed, and confused on the front sidewalk, Sally had heard the twelve year old tear through the house on her search, leaving the front door wide open.

Oh no, what happened? Sally had thought, they must’ve been at each other’s throats all weekend!!

She had been in Jordan’s (and now Mindi’s) room straightening up when the girl had burst through the door and literally jumped into her arms, legs straddled around either side of her waist, and long arms wrapped around her back. Sally had quickly lost her balance and fallen back on the bed under her adult-sized pre-teen daughter’s mass. Jordan had completely collapsed her full body weight into her Mom’s care. It had been a maneuver Sally might’ve expected from the 2 ½ year old (and more easily manageable) but from her 145lb twelve year old, it was a shock not only physically, but because of the emotional turmoil it clearly represented.

Turning to the side on the bed, Sally had stroked her girl’s hair and rocked her back and forth tenderly. Jordan had clung tightly to her mom in the same position, shaking slightly. Not wanting Ted to see Jordan in that state, Sally had whispered softly to Jordan that she had to momentarily take care of her sisters…that she promised she’d be right back. The regressed-girl had resisted and Sally had become slightly firmer with the instruction before prying her way from Jordan’s death-grip.

Once Sally had returned to the bedroom (after having received a passing report from her estranged husband and setting up the two other girls in the living room with toys and a video), Jordan appeared to be in the fetal position in bed mumbling and rocking herself. Once sally had sat back down and begun rubbing her daughter’s back once more, she had heard the substance of the mumble.

“I’ll never go back…I’ll never go back…I’ll never go back…I’ll never go back…I’ll never go back…” Jordan had repeated over and over again without hardly taking a breath. Eyes wide open, glazed, and looking straight ahead.

What in the…? What did they do to her? This is ridiculous. Sally had thought to herself. Right now clearly isn’t the time to interrogate, but I AM gonna get to the bottom of this.

For twenty minutes or a half hour, Sally had massaged her daughter’s back, stroked her hair, and patted her hip as she lay silently and rocked. Even though it had only been 6 in the evening, the sun had long been down in the Seattle winter and so Sally chose to slowly begin moving – motherly and tenderly (but cautiously) getting her daughter ready for bed.

Because she hadn’t known what had happened, Sally didn’t know how Jordan would react to the kind of help that she had been giving in the weeks prior – but in her current state of apparent stress and shock, Sally figured she’d be fine to proceed. After Sally had carefully closed the bedroom door for privacy, her girl hadn’t resisted or moved a muscle to help in the process of disrobing from shoes to parka…or from diapering. The only reaction Sally had noticed before she tucked the hapless girl in under the fluffy white bedspread was a single tear running down her cheek as Sally had gently taped up her soft diaper.

Almost instantly as Sally had quietly closed the bedroom door, her affect shifted to rage.

That man – ooooohhh!!! – THAT MAN!!! She had steamed and shaken her head as she walked back down the hall.

Ted had chosen to wait around in the living room for Sally, door still open and spilling cold wet Seattle air into the house all that time. The two younger girls had been bustling around the living room and Jen’s bedroom, aware that something was wrong with Jordan however not sure exactly what.

“We’ll talk later Ted. Just go,” Sally had said calmly, surprising even herself, “I’m gonna say some things I’ll regret if you don’t.”

Ted blurted out, “I’m filing for divorce Sally.” The two were standing in front of the two girls; only Mindi pausing to look up.

She had frozen; skin turning pale and clammy; eyes moistening.

Waiting for him to say more but seeing nothing, she had choked out, “So that’s it then?”

“That’s it,” he had said and walked away into the night.


The younger girls had shed a little more light on the scenario in “Ted’s” apartment that weekend when they had asked Sally about Jordan.

“Mommy is Jordan sad because she got in trouble?” Mindi had asked splayed across the couch thumbing through a book.

“What’d’ya say honey?” Sally had had to do a double take on the question, “Was Jordan misbehaving or something?”

“Well – why’d she have to go to bed so early last night? And why was she so mean to Mommy Melissa? Did she do—” Mindi had asked innocently before being cut off.

“WHAT DID YOU CALL HER?!!?!” Sally had been caught off guard by the term of endearment for the adulteress.

“Mommy Melissa. Jordan was real naughty to her; she talked back and she didn’t obey and she wouldn’t let Mommy Melissa change her diaper…”

Sally had taken a deep breath and attempted to keep calm…closing her eyes momentarily, she placed her hands on the seat of the black leather couch beside her. That woman is not my girls’ ‘mommy’. She had no right to try to ‘change’ Jordan’s diaper. What the fuck!? Ted you bastard! Stand up for your daughter for once in your fucking life!!! She steamed as her mind turned rapidly.

“Yaw Momma – Jowden wuz reaw nawty – I luuuv momma mewissa – I luuv u momma…” Jen had chimed in trying to support her sister’s story. Although she was quite young herself, Jen too had witnessed the tension between Melissa and Jordan that weekend.

The picture had begun to clarify in Sally’s mind. Ted was trying to replace her in his own new little family system. The youngest two were far too young to see through it. Jordan, for all her confusing behavior and cycles of maturity and immaturity, could easily spot the dysfunction and clearly that had been the source of the friction.

Poor dear; she must’ve felt completely alone; totally abandoned all weekend.

Sally had stayed up most of the night praying and meditating and writing and scheming and preparing for the storm ahead.

I need to be soft and strong and confident and kind and wise and many other things through this time. This will be hard. Ted is a crafty political tactician – I need to be ready for what he will have planned.

Re: “Stories we Tell” (updated - Chapters 13-14 Added on 6/2)

Chapter 15 – Mid December – Christmas Break

Jordan’s evening regressions seemed increasingly pronounced to Sally after the kids’ weekend visit with Ted. As had been the case before, she was able to get herself to school alright and Sally hadn’t heard any reports of bad behaviors or problems once she arrived there; each of these were signs of a certain degree of maturity. Of course Jordan’s big “win” with advancing in the story competition was a sign of her obvious intellectual capacity. But when nighttime came each day, the twelve year old seemed to just give up and let Sally take over. Nightly, the mother of three took care of the girl’s intimate needs with a patient voice and a soft touch.

Because of Sally’s empathy for Jordan considering her experience over the past several months, she continued to dote over her with as much tenderness as ever. In addition, she couldn’t deny how undeniably sweet her daughter behaved during those nighttime moments as well. Rather than the pragmatic conversations she had had with the girl a month or so earlier about the kind of precautions she needed to take with regards to feminine care and the duties she needed to follow through on with regard to her bedwetting, Sally’s motherly actions now were unspoken and seemingly automatic; driven by quiet intuition.

Each morning during Jordan’s final week of school before Christmas break Sally had gone into her room to wake her in the morning. The girl had responded by curling up, shaking, and softly crying as she had done the night she returned home from Ted’s. Each day, Sally held her and rocked her before leading her quietly by the hand to the bathroom for careful cleaning. Each day Sally had removed the girl’s soggy diaper and gently helped her into the tub. There, she helped bath the twelve year old much like she still did with Jen – from head to toe. Each day Jordan had meekly thanked her Mom after being toweled dry and wrapped up in a more adult-looking manner under her armpits. She from there assumed what had heretofore been her ‘normal’ pre-teen rituals of morning preparations.


Thinking back herself about these rather organically developing patterns each evening and morning, Jordan felt overwhelmed. In one sense, she felt flooded by the massive ocean of her mom’s love. The new sense of feeling cared for and ‘seen’ was palatable….like something from a movie or novel. It was truly unreal; almost ‘too good to be true’. In another sense, Jordan felt dumbfounded by the dawning reality that she was having such positive emotions about (at age twelve), being diapered nightly by her mother.

This conflation of positive emotion and wonder led the pre-teen to feel fleeting pangs of guilt; she began to question if it was ‘ok’ for her to ‘like’ the kind of attention she was receiving as much as she was beginning to understand she did. The times her mom spent each morning and night with her, tenderly touching and cleaning her, gently patting an pulling, cuddling before bed, and stroking her hair – they were oddly calming and even hypnotizing.

How can this be good and proper? Jordan thought. Having been raised a conservative Christian her entire life, she simply had little room to accommodate the kind of simple, pure, and non-sexual comfort she had discovered (consciously – for the first time in her life) in her mom’s care.

On yet another level, Jordan was confused by feelings of kind of liking how the diapers themselves felt on her body. It was strange (and perhaps this was the strangest and most disturbing part to her). Even then, she probably couldn’t have admitted it to herself or even described it – and she was ashamed that the hint of desire was even present. But undeniably, there grew a part of her each day that looked forward to the nightly ritual when Sally would unwrap the pale pink plastic incontinence device, slide it under her rear, pull it up tightly on her midsection, and fasten it in place. Even though it was embarrassing to have her mom see her naked genitals on a daily basis, even though it was somewhat humiliating to wake up soaked in warm urine (and sometimes blood), even though it was a little degrading to have her mom smear cream on her privates or wipe them clean in the morning, there was still an aspect in all of it that felt cautiously good in a secret-guilty kind of way.

At multiple points during her bedwetting over the past month and a half (and all through the season of increasing care her mother had offered), Jordan had considered calling her Mom off and insisting that she could do it herself. Surely, a twelve year old was able to care for herself; she could take care of it if she wanted!

And for God’s sake I most certainly am competent enough! I’m smart; I’m a writer; I get almost all A’s; I’m growing up – I mean, I’m even more adult sized than my mom!!

But the twice-a-day moments of helpless submission were too enchanting to consider giving up. Jordan simply couldn’t find the courage to speak the truth or to say “no” to what she had grown to count on for emotional support in such a short span of time.

Little did either Jordan or Sally realize that five-year-old Mindi had been catching very perceptive glimpses of their interactions each morning and evening since she had moved into her sister’s room. Mindi didn’t want to be treated like a baby herself, but she did wish her mom would care for her similarly. Although she couldn’t have expressed it precisely this way at the time, the five-year-old was beginning to feel resentment that Sally was giving so much extra love and attention to her older sister.


On Friday night as Jordan entered Christmas break, Sally decided to take the family out to dinner to celebrate her daughter’s writing achievement. Mr. Johns hadn’t made a very big deal of the issue in Sally’s estimation, but young (not little) Jordan had been the talk of the school and small church community. Everyone knew about the big award and Mrs. Reynolds was extremely proud of her daughter.

“Mom, it’s not like I’ve won anything yet anyways. I’m only a semifinalist and there are 49 other stories that are probably a million times better than mine. The competition is for 12-16 year olds and I bet all the other ones that made it through are from 16 year olds. It’s only the top 3 in the whole country that really WIN anything at all. They’re the ones that get read on National radio by a celebrity!” Jordan was saying as Sally buckled Jen into her car seat.

“Jordan! It is too a big deal. You’ve written the top story in Washington and it’s gonna be recorded and played on the radio all over our state. That’s huge and we’re gonna celebrate! NOW – where do you wanna eat?” Sally slid the door shut and scooted into the drivers’ seat.

Piping up from the back seat, Mindi shouted, “I wanna go eat at the sketti fact’ry!”

“Mee too, mee too, Sketti!!” cried Jen next to her.

Up front as Sally pulled the car out of the alley-way she said, “Now girls, this is Jordan’s special dinner, she’s gonna decide tonight.”

“But MOOOOM! She get’s to decide EVERYTHING!” Mindi whined.

Jen began a fake whine-cry as well. It was already chaos in the van.

Jordan felt a bolt of indignation as her two siblings bellyached in the back – what’s their problem? I’m the one who’s been suffering here and this is MY dinner! I wont the prize; I worked hard; and I WANT TO DECIDE!

She may have been going through puberty, growing into an adult body, and capable of writing beautiful prose, but she still was a normal, relatively immature, self-centered 7th grade girl inside. Of course, the truth was that Jordan likewise thought the Spaghetti Factory actually sounded really good but she didn’t want Mindi to feel like she had won. Thus, in immature teenage fashion (and in as clear and decisive of voice as possible) she announced, “I feel like Mexican tonight – I want El Matador.”

Groaning and more crying from the back ensued. Mindi began kicking Jordan’s seat in front of her and the two started a round of bickering and fighting. The drive East toward I-5 and then north up the hwy to Lynwood where the famed (for the Reynold’s family) Mexican restaurant was located was miserable.

The fighting didn’t end all evening.

Jen refused to try a single bite of her food and to make matters worse, she pooped her panties right there in the booth at the restaurant. Mindi stomped in and out of the establishment and made exaggerated noises and phmrummps all through dinner while throwing bits of food at and stepping on Jordan’s toes. Sally hardly was able to eat at all because of all the wrestling and distractions.

The evening hardly ended up feeling terribly celebratory for the family (newly) of 4.


At the end as they were walking back toward the van for the ride home, Sally asked Jordan what she would like to do for her thirteenth birthday that year. With all the events of the past months, Jordan had hardly thought about her approaching day (Christmas Eve). For most kids, a birthday that close to Christmas was a terrible downer and for most of her life that had been the case for her as well. Family members tend to skimp on gifts for each occasion and choose to ‘combine’ them. Friends simply omit the birthday celebration for their own family holidays. It was easy to understand but difficult to experience. On more than one year, Jordan had had no birthday party at all and instead was passed over, almost unnoticed by her mom (and especially dad). Last year, when she had turned twelve, everyone actually forgot to even say “Happy Birthday” until late in the evening on Christmas Day. It had hurt her feelings profoundly.

Sally’s question this year almost melted her heart and did in fact cause her to stop and wipe a tear from her eye before continuing to the minivan parked in the strip-mall lot.

“I’m not sure Mom, I don’t even know what we could do…it’s so close to Christmas you know?”

“Well I want to make sure your day gets celebrated this year.” Sally looked over at her daughter and smiled. “What if we did something like having a party on New Year’s Eve? Do you think you’d like something like that?” Sally walked with Jen on her hip, eyes now darting around to find Mindi in the lot.

“Well that sounds fun but I’m not sure who I’d even invite Mom…I pretty much only have one friend…” Jordan replied honestly but really actually liking the idea.

“Oh Jordan! Come on dear, you have more than one friend. What about the Yates girl or Cindy? Or what’s her name? Riley? You’re kinda friends with them aren’t you?”

Jordan’s mind flashed back to Georgia’s party – Georgia’s family name was Yates and Cindy and Riley were the other two friends invited to the slumber party besides Alex.

I wonder if they’d even be willing to come after what I did? Should I tell mom about it?…I can’t…I’m so embarrassed…Plus, she’d be SO mad!

“Ya sort of – I’m not sure they’d come though…” the pre-teen said meekly after mulling it over. She crawled into the front seat of the minivan after helping her mom buckle in Jen.

“Oh sure they’ll come sweetie. We’ll plan something really fun – maybe we can go bowling or down to a concert or skating or something? They can all come eat at our house and stay up late.” She stopped before suggesting a sleepover.

Jordan could sense her mom’s hesitation and an awkward silence ensued. They both were thinking the same thing although Jordan didn’t yet realize it.

Ah hell – I’m gonna go for it, Sally said to herself.

“Jordan – why did you not go to Georgia’s birthday party when she invited you?”

The tall brunette’s mouth just about hit the floor of the van in shock as they now drove through the darkened streets.

“MOM! Um…I…well…how did you…I…um…” She didn’t know how to respond.

“I asked you a simple question Jordie. Why didn’t you go?”

Stunned silence was all that could be heard other than the drum of the aged motor.

Sally continued, “Why didn’t you even tell me about it? You didn’t trust me? The Yates family is an extremely important and powerful family in the church and school. Do you have any idea what it means politically if our kid turns down an invite like that? It’s a huge slap in the face! It’s embarrassing!”

“But MOOOM!” Jordan finally exclaimed defensively, “They all would’a found out!!”

“JORDIE – they’re your friends…friends understand each other…friends talk…friends help each other….” Sally tried to reason.

Crossing her arms over her chest she said, “Not my friends.”

“Listen Jordan. You’ve got to learn to trust some people in your life or you’re gonna end up depressed and alone and hiding in your basement forever.” Sally tried to let that sink in a second before continuing. “Seriously. This is what I think we should do…come home from your party, watch the ball drop together and then let your friends have a choice to sleep over or not. We’ll do our best to be discreet about your nighttime issue and if it comes up, we’ll handle it and deal with it like adults. I’ll help explain and will put to death any nonsense if it arises. What do you think?” Sally truly wasn’t sure how the idea would go over but she didn’t want her girl to miss all of Jr. High because of an emotional problem tied to her divorce.

Jordan was pensive. Thinking. “…I hear what you’re saying Mom…I just don’t think I’m ready for this yet…I’m too embarrassed…”

Sally stayed quiet.

“How about we just do it without the sleepover this time? I already promised Alex that the next sleepover invite she and I get –I’ll say ‘yes’ no matter what. I’ll promise the same to you too. Ok? I just can’t do it on my birthday…”

Sally thought for a moment. Hmm. Quite the politician she is. That’s from Ted I’m sure.

“Ok sweetie, I guess that’s a good compromise. So we’ll do fun at home, skating or something, then the countdown, ball drop, ice cream and cake, and finally home with your friends?” Sally repeated.

“Yeah mom, that’d be real nice.”

Jordan felt genuinely thankful for her mom’s kindness – but for the second time in her life also felt sad about missing out on what could’ve been an essential experience of Jr. High; all because of her bedwetting.

She stared out the window as they drove home on the wet streets.

“Thanks again for the dinner tonight mom. And thanks for my party.” The words no sooner came out of her mouth than she once again felt the all-too-familiar anxiety about what was to come. But she trusted her mom enough to at least try it.

“Sure sweetheart,” Said sally, “absolutely.”

Re: “Stories we Tell” (updated - Chapters 13-14 Added on 6/2)

Chapter 16 – [December 23, 2001]

Christmas breaks for BCS students were an interesting phenomenon. Because it was a private school with uniforms and tuition and a fancy building overlooking the Puget Sound, a great many students and their families had plenty of disposable income to go on vacation to parts of the world not socked in by Seattle’s winter rain, rain, fog, mist, sleet, drizzle, rain, rain, and more rain. On the other hand, because the school was a Christian institution, a great many students also attended out of ideological designs (and therefore often at great personal sacrifice to their families’ finances). The photographs from these middle and lower class household holidays were a stark contrast to the images of Crete, Fiji, and Hawaii that students like Georgia Yates came home with.

Although Jordan’s father was the CEO of a company, Hope Seattle was a non-profit serving homeless people and the family income was modest to say the least. The best vacations her family ever took at Christmas were road trip journeys to visit her mother’s sister in southern Oregon. Although Sally was a CPA with a master’s degree, she hadn’t worked since Mindi had been born and with Ted having filed for divorce, the family of four was now living off of her meager savings and handouts from her parents.

Christmas this year would definitely not be featuring a trip to sandy beaches. However, that didn’t keep Jordan from trying to have a little fun. Free from homework and in the glow of her NPR ‘victory’, she had gone along with Alex’s plan for a date (of sorts) on the Sunday before her Christmas Eve birthday.

This year, Georgia and her family had traveled to southern Spain for Christmas but she ended up being the only one of the girls from her birthday party to be out of town. Because Alex’s dad was still in treatment, she was home from any travels. Cindy and Riley were each from lower-middle class homes with relatively conservative Christian parents and their extended families had lived in Seattle for generations, so they were in town for the holidays as well.

The four ‘friends’ all had their parents drop them off that Sunday after church downtown on 6th Avenue in the shopping district up the hill from Pikes Street Market. The day was drizzly but not terribly cold and each of the girls was wearing a ski jacket and all but Jordan sported cute girly umbrellas with matching rain boots.

Jordan felt an odd combination of anxiety and peace as she walked and talked with the group on the rainy sidewalks. Even though Alex had worked magic to build some semblance of trust between Cindy, Riley, Jordan, the girl who towered over the others by several inches still felt like more than just a physical outlier. It was awkward to not know what had happened at the party – to not have the shared memory of the stories told or movies watched. Alex and the other two kept bringing up ‘inside jokes’ about random items that only had meaning to those that were there. Jordan simply had remained silent. Yet she also felt hopeful and happy to be included in the group.

At least I’m not at home fighting with my siblings or being drug around by Dad and that floozy! she thought.

When the girls walked by Barnes and Noble, Alex piped up to ask Jordan about her story, hoping to include her a little more in the conversation.

“So Jordan, are you gonna be the one to read your story on the radio?”

“Yeah! Are you gonna read it? I hope you don’t burp or fart or something – that’d be embarrassing!” Chimed in Riley. She and Cindy laughed.

Slightly annoyed but trying to take her new ‘friends’ relatively gentle razzing in stride, Jordan replied, “Well I’m not sure actually. Mr. Johns said it would be recorded sometime after Christmas and I’d have a choice as to whether I’d like to be the one to read it or not. I’m not sure. And to be honest,” she smiled, trying to show she was game for a joke, “I am a little worried about making a fool of myself.”

All four then laughed, Alex nervously.

“So what’s it about anyways? Seems like a big secret or somethin’.” Asked Cindy with a little edge of snootiness to her voice.

Doing her best not to take offense, Jordan said, “Well, it’s kind of a science fiction story – about Mars.”

Cindy and Riley looked at each other – trying not to look surprised.

“Oh?” Alex said, trying to hold the conversation together.

“Oh you’re probably not that interested in all the details…” Jordan said fearing the conversation was crashing.

“No really – tell us Jordan – I’m curious.” Cindy said, her surprise now steeled.

“Well, it’s set in the future. And it’s about a father and son who have a super close relationship with one another – they’re astronaut partners. They travel to Mars to explore; the first humans ever. What they discover is a this weird alien species that live in caves under the surface – and eventually they come to find that they’ve been marooned there by their own civilization…”

The girls actually looked genuinely impressed.

Sensing this Jordan asked, “Do you wanna hear the conclusion or wait to hear what happens on the radio?”

“Wait.” Said Alex, both seriously not wanting the story wrecked but also wanting to take advantage of the ‘out’.

“Yeah me too – but that sounds really good Jordan. I’m like super impressed. I had no idea you were that creative.” Said Riley, almost apologetically.

“Well it took me a long, long time. I started it this summer in my spare time and Mr. Johns helped me edit it before the deadline. I’m pretty proud of it – but kind of scared and embarrassed of it too – like people will judge me or ‘know’ me better once they read it.” Jordan turned a little red.

“Oh I think they’re gonna like it Jordan! Seriously. I mean, you won the contest for the State – that means a TON!” Alex said.

“Yeah!!” each of the others added.

Jordan couldn’t help but smile, “Thanks guys.”

The conversation had continued as they made their way through the bookstore and near the magazine rack of Barnes and Noble. The three girls gravitated toward teen-fashion magazines and the latest teenage ‘heartthrob’ (Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter in this edition) while Jordan found her way to the teen fiction. Her disinterest in most things adolescent (at least from the others’ perspective) couldn’t have been more obvious.

The tall and simply dressed girl couldn’t see them scheming with one another next to the racks, but when they approached her sitting in a leather armchair reading a book, they looked as though they were going to drop a bombshell in her lap.

“JORDAN!” Alex announced in hushed excitement.

She looked up, initially worried but then feeling a rush of familiar anticipation. Uh, oh, she’s got one of those glints in her eye again. What am I in for now?

Jordan quirked a smile and raised her eyebrow, silently responding “What?”

“Wanna go over to Nordstrom?”

“What?” That was not at all what she had been expecting.

“C’mon! We wanna go give you a makeover.” Alex smiled brightly as did the others.

“What?” The bewildered girl said again, not understanding that kind of positive attention.

As had been highlighted with her school clothes shopping in the late summer, the activity wasn’t her favorite (primarily because of the way it reminded her of her height, hips, chest, and everything else that was becoming adult-woman-like).

“I don’t know guys – I just – I’m not sure if I can do that toda—”

“Oh knock it off Jordan! It’s your birthday tomorrow and we all know how your Dad stood you up for school clothes shopping. We wanna go with you and pick out a cute new style for your party on New Years Eve!” Riley said.

Jeez, Alex sure has been blabbing lot about me. Jordan thought as she looked at her friend with one eyebrow raised.

Alex, sensing the feelings of slightly breeched trust, “Jordan, I told them just now about what had happened. I know you don’t like this kind of stuff but maybe you’ll have fun with your girlfriends? They’re good at this and you’ll look SOOO cute!”

The way she had said that last phrase led the tall teenager to feel warm and wanted. MY girlfriends? Wow. I’ve never had that before.

“Ok. I guess.” The hazel eyed brunette smiled.


The experience had been surreal.

Alex had served as the go-between in and out of the dressing room while Riley and Cindy picked out clothes in the store and shuffled them to the nervous girl inside. Jordan was pretty embarrassed about being in just a bra (luckily she had decided to wear it that day – it still was an inner-debate for her as to whether or not she wanted to don it from day to day) and panties in front of her friends. This was especially the case because of her fears about odor.

Although her mom had been carefully bathing her daily, the girl with the secret feared the smell of old urine would still somehow be noticeable and her bedwetting would become known to the other two friends (and then to the whole school). Furthermore, she had been battling ongoing bouts of diaper rash and although it would’ve been mostly covered up, she didn’t know how much might’ve crept into sight onto her thigh or rear end.

For most of the session, therefore, Jordan tried to remain in a new set of clothes until the next batch arrived. When she was switching, she tried to keep her back to the wall and legs as tightly together as possible. A cold sweat developed on her brow.

Alex couldn’t help but notice. When they were alone during one of the other girls’ trips to the clothing racks, she asked, “Jordan are you alright? You seem all tense.”

“…Oh…um…u…yeah…I’m ok…” the girl now clad in a tightly fitting pair of jeans and stylish fitted t-shirt smiled nervously.

“What’s wrong?” her friend asked genuinely concerned, “Come on? Is this really not fun for you?”

“…no Alex…it is…I really…it’s thoughtful…I just…Its just…I’m not used to you know….changing like this…”

Alex laughed nervously and looked sheepish. “Oh. Sorry! I figured it was ok. Um…” now feeling awkward herself she said, “…I can go out and just pick things out if you want…”

“…no no, that’s not what I meant…I…I don’t know…” She didn’t want to elaborate with her friend about the real reason for her embarrassment, and the concern in her eyes sort of reminded her of her mom’s care of late back home. “…it’s ok Alex…I’m just a little on edge after everything that’s been happening…”

She hadn’t shared with her friend anymore about the bedwetting (let alone diapers) since that night on the phone at the sleep clinic at the hospital and she hadn’t even told her about the terrible weekend with her Dad and Melissa or her fears that her parents were divorcing. But as Jordan recalled all the stress and drama in her head, thoughts of her mom’s gentle touch each evening and morning unexpectedly crept in. She thought about the helpless way in which she laid still under her Mom’s care – and of course the sensations of her (HER!) diapers against her skin. Suddenly a modicum of peace washed over the maturing girl.

Maybe the stress of home is just adding up, She thought, Alex and Cindy and Riley are just trying to help me like mom helps me. They just wanna be my friend have a good time today. She decided to let them help her out and loosen up a bit.

Feeling her hand taken into her friends hands, she heard Alex say, “Ok Jordie. As long as you’re sure.”

More confident now Jordan said, “Yep – now let’s find something cute for New Years Eve!”

In the end, the beautiful long-legged girl ended up with an outfit more suited to spring time but yet extremely party-like. It was a short (on 5’8" Jordan) white cotton dress with a rather full skirt and a lace overlay. A bright pink bow wrapped high around her waist and tied in the back. The other girls weren’t as thrilled with the bodice as Jordan, which wrapped closely near her neck and armpits. She, however, didn’t feel as ready as they to put off the air of “sexy” and all the clothes they had picked out with plunging necklines or open backs were way too far ‘off’. Furthermore, picking this particular dress enabled her to avoid going through the whole other embarrassing chore of choosing an new bra in front of her new friends as her current white ones would work adequately under it. New flat pink shoes that were “SOOO CUTE” as Riley had exclaimed, rounded out the birthday party look.

After a visit to the cosmetics table for a makeup-makeover, the group was ready for checkout and perhaps Jordan’s biggest surprise of the Sunday afternoon. Alex had been given her mother’s credit card for the afternoon and confidently paid for everything as Jordan’s birthday gift. The others were flabbergasted and Jordan was embarrassed in gratitude. She had added up the total in her head and it was going to be well over $200 – her plan had been to put all the items back on the rack and to go home to beg for her mom to return for the purchase.

“Alex!! You can’t do that – it’s too much! My Mom told me to just pick stuff out and we’d come back later to buy it together…” Jordan had hissed.

“Jordie, you got screwed by your Dad, you’ve been having a super tough year;” she leaned in and lowered her voice, “you had to go hospital and get poked and prodded; Amber and Nicole have been relentless. It’s the least I can do and my mom wont’ care at all. I do this all the time.” She smiled and flipped her hair.

“Thank-you Alex,” Jordan said with her eyes tearing up, “you’re my best friend.”

She smiled and said, “Happy Birthday sweet pea.”

The term of endearment took Jordan back to November and her night at the sleep lab. She appreciated it this time much more than she had the last.

If Alex only knew that I’m still getting diapered like Jen every night… What would she say? I was so embarrassed when I told her back then. How can I possibly tell her the truth now? Jordan thought.