The illnesses in our household have reached a preposterous and ridiculous level. I’m choosing to laugh or else I’d cry. I’ve gotten to the point that when people inquire about the family, I want to lie and just say everyone’s great. I’m actually embarrassed to give the honest response:
Sick, sick, sick and Yup, Un-huh, Still sick
(It’s important to note here that although yes, we’ve had too many infections, sicknesses, etc, our overall health is good. I recognize that this is a blessing, one not to be taken for granted. I don’t.)
As thoughts of this post have bounded around my groggy head, I have a sense of deja vu. Last winter was filled with a multitude of sicknesses and this winter (not be outdone by the Winter Sickies of 2010-2011) vies to trump last winter.
After the Strep Infestation of 2011 of Thanksgiving, Abby got her umpteen-millionth ear infection and Henry, well….
Friday night, I was just beginning to drift off to sleep. I heard the whimpering through the dark before I knew who it was or what was happening.
Mommy, my throat hurts and mumblejumblebumble. Whimper, whimper, moan.
Mommy, I threw up in my bed.
I reached out into the dark of my room and found Henry. With linked hands, we headed down the hall to his room. I cleaned him up, started the laundry (oh the laundry) and set him up to sleep in my room. Our room, with hardwood floors, is much more amenable to late-night cleanup than Henry’s carpeted one.
As the night plodded along, and after many more vomiting bouts, I lay there and watched H, restless and writhing on the floor. He didn’t want to be touched. I urged myself to think of something else I could do for him. But I drew a blank. Instead, as I kept vigil over my youngest, this thought tumbled into focus:
This is love. This is it. And it’s a privilege.
At 6:00 Saturday morning, we went to the Emergency Room because Henry “just couldn’t take it anymore”. Luckily, two hours and a Zofran dose later, we were discharged. (A Murphy’s Law aside: Hubby was out-of-town. These things just happen when one parent is out-of-town. You know what? Murphy and this particular law of his can suck it.)
At a follow-up visit with our pediatrician yesterday, we learned that H not only STILL HAS STREP but that he also has an ear infection. Nagging thoughts dominated my mind:
What am I doing wrong?
How can I prevent this from happening?
Do I need to clean more?
Do I need to clean with only organic, naturally-derived, non-chemical cleaners?
Or, do I need to only clean with Clorox?
They should eat more healthily.
Maybe we should keep our windows open to freeze out the bastard germs.
Our immune systems need an overhaul.
I reminded myself: kids get sick. Parents get sick. Sometimes our immune systems surrender to renegade germs. I cannot control this.
But surrender is tough.
I find it challenging to surrender to things that are bigger than me. I’ve always thought of surrender as an act of weakness, as something negative. However, much like my lesson in balance, I needed a shift in perspective. Under the layers of vomit and strep, this lesson awaited me:
surrender (/səˈrendər/): Verb. Cease resistance.
Of course. Much like the wisdom I garnered from Priscilla Warner’s insight-laden memoir, Learning to Breathe, tension occurs when we believe something should be different than it is. Surrender is an acceptance of what is. To stop resisting and lean into it all.
Yesterday, I heard Henry singing the Hallelujah Chorus. In his crystal-clear, remarkably in-tune, five-year-old voice, he sang,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hal-le-lu-jiah
I don’t know where he learned it. I hadn’t played it since last Christmas. But there he was, singing it. He doesn’t really know what Hallelujah means. I believe his lyrical words arrived to deliver a powerful message to me. One of surrender. Of peace. Of accepting, and even praising, what is.
This morning, I filed medical receipts. Just mentally tallying the gross amount of doctor’s visits and prescriptions made my already-groggy head ache. My children have been on so many antibiotics I’ll bet their immune systems are crying Uncle. I stopped and rested my head in my hands, and bowed in surrender. The cool of my desk felt good. New thoughts percolated as I ceased resisting:
Perhaps there’s a different way to do this, a new approach.
Perhaps it will lead me to a new awareness and discovery.
I am open, I said aloud. Open to a new way.
Have you ever tried holistic healing practices? Did you have success with them? Have you ever tried them with your children? I’d love to hear from you.