I am thankful…
~ for such a SWEET start to the week: No School + International Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day! The kids were thrilled to devour a delicious treat for breakfast, and Sawyer prayed the most sincere prayer for all his friends who have or are battling cancer around the world. I had the best time compiling the photos I received from all over, from so many of you who played along. Even though this year Gold Network didn’t hold a physical event, I was thrilled with the participation and the awareness raised. Thank you so much to all the schools, businesses, and families who honored childhood cancer heroes on Monday.
OUR WEEK WENT DOWNHILL AFTER BREAKFAST.
9am: First Tatum K refused her ice cream. Highly unusual, as all forms of dessert are heralded by her as a form of “PIE!” But I quickly understood as my poor little muffin started vomiting in my lap. She was weak and puny, and I spent the day with her in my arms. The rest of the Tribe helped clean house, we sanitized, Lysoled, etc.
4:55pm: Anonymous Child #2 says, “My tummy hurts.” I ask if they need to throw up? “No.” Use the restroom? “Already did.” So I advise Child #2 to go lay down and rest. But to take a bowl with them in case a different stomach ailment should arise.
4:57pm: Anonymous Child #2 gets bowl from kitchen and promptly throws up into it.
4:58pm: Aggressive Lysol patrol and hand re-washing begins.
Tuesday 7am: Symptom check, everyone seems fine. Kids head to school, minus Child #2.
7:30am: Mom doesn’t feel so good.
7:45am: Yup. Mom is MOST DEFINITELY sick.
Moms don’t get sick. Moms CAN’T GET SICK. The sick kids still need tending, nurturing, doctoring. And the well kids are still… well, kids! Laundry and homework still has to get done and food still has to be prepared. I don’t remember much about Tuesday. Mostly that it was bad. I do have a dim recollection of driving to school with a bowl in my lap, praying I would not have to use it. On a positive note, no new ones appeared sick, and Tatum K seemed to be feeling FABULOUS. Anonymous Child #2 felt great all day, only to throw up again at 4pm, thereby earning another 24 hours home from school.
Wednesday: so the thing about Wednesday….it was my birthday. My family was so sweet. They got me a beautiful new hammock I’d been wanting, and they had all written precious handwritten notes. I got lots of thoughtful calls, texts, and emails, even a gift left on my doorstep! Josh brought home lunch, and Colton popped in with a gift of Golden Grahams cereal and hazelnut coffee creamer (isn’t it funny the random details kids notice/remember about what we like?). It would’ve been a great day if I hadn’t felt like a wrung-out dishrag. And Tatum was suddenly puny again, refusing to eat anything, and presented with gastrointestinal symptoms that had now migrated from the “north” to the “south.”
Thursday: Everyone seems to be feeling GOOD! Even Tatum K, although she’s still having some “symptoms” and no appetite. We do another round of disinfection, and count our blessings that we’ve made it through the bug, virtually unscathed.
Friday, I was finally feeling ALMOST back to normal, and crammed all my grocery shopping in before the torrential rain began at noon (no small feat, as I shop 3 different stores for 2 weeks’ worth of menus…most notably the 10 gallons of milk and as many loaves of bread.) Friday was a big night: Cooper and his 8th grade choir class have been preparing their musical production, “The Big Bad Musical,” for weeks, and Cooper was one of the lead roles (Title Character, Big “B” Wolf, in fact!). We were all thankful to be well and able to attend. And let me say, completely unbiased of course: the show was TERRIFIC!!!! The cast played their parts perfectly, the script and their interpretations were hilarious, and Cooper was amazing! He had two solo songs, and we were all so proud! It was such a fun night! Unfortunately, Dad started feeling sick that evening (no symptoms) and Anonymous Child#3 threw up in the middle of the night. Sigh.
Saturday: Purchased more Lysol. Cleaned house from top to bottom. Dad and Child #3 feel like garbage. I attend Cooper’s final matinée performance of “The Big Bad Musical,” and it was even better the second time! So proud of him!!! And SOOOOO THANKFUL that he didn’t get sick! (I was secretly so worried about that and prayed over it CONSTANTLY. THANK YOU JESUS!) AND (so far, PLEASE-JESUS-PLEASE) neither did Sawyer! That has literally never happened! Sawyer has caught absolutely every bug he has been exposed to by his siblings (or classmates) for the last 2 years, UNTIL NOW! Glory to the Lord, his immune system is finally rebuilding! And Tatum K is FINALLY back to normal in all capacities. Last night, we had a quiet evening at home, staring into nothingness, completely ZAPPED.
I’m so thankful for the grace that God gives me for everyday living. Even when I whine and complain. Grace for teenage mood swings and not-always-charming life lessons, grace for puppy training and vomit bowls, breath by breath grace for the lifelong journey we have in front of us with our Tribe. And grace to enjoy the bright spots in the midst of the mayhem! Sure, we had the stomach bug over and over, but people were kind on my birthday, Cooper’s musical was a resounding success, and I had lots of warm moments with my kids. We went on walks, read our bedtime book, and tonight Dad is cooking a feast for us on the grill. There is always, always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for.
I have friends in need of prayer, and I know I can come to you to lift them up. A dear pastor friend who has been battling cancer and doing AMAZING has taken a sudden and dramatic turn for the worse. Please pray for him, for his loving wife, and for his congregation who love them both so dearly, for God’s glory and purpose to shine forth in the midst of pain. And then today I received news of a newly diagnosed baby with cancer. Of course this is always devastating news, but this one hurts on a uniquely grievous level: this dear child’s Mama is one of our incredible oncology nurses at Children’s. For years, Kelly has unflinchingly stared childhood cancer in the face. She has been strong for us, and lovingly cared for our children, and has seen some of the darkest moments that no one should ever have to see. But all that time she never dreamed she would walk through OUR UNTHINKABLE HELL with her own baby. Will you please pray for Baby Lucas and his family? You can follow their updates here. https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/hookemforlucas or here https://helpinghandsawo.org/projects/hook-em-for-lucas/
I’m so very thankful for this community of friends: most of you I know, some I’ve never even met. But you are my people. Thank you for reading, thank you for caring, thank you for praying. And thank you for giving thanks with me.
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV