My little grandbaby has a cold. She’s a year and a half, and I can count on one hand the number of times she’s had a cold, that’s pretty lucky if you ask me. I had the kind of babies whose eardrums sometimes ruptured, babies who needed emergency surgery, babies who maxed our their prescription coverage on a regular basis. I thank God every day for this blessing of a granddaughter who is bright and beautiful and healthy.
My oldest kids used to miss school quite a bit. They caught every bug that went around. And of course they milked it for nursing by mommy. One year all three of them had mono at the same time. That was fun. Then our four little ones were placed in our home. At first I thought we’d never see the end of the doctor’s office. The nurse practitioner assured me we’d adjust. “You’re all carrying different sets of germs. You’re getting each other sick. Eventually you’ll all mesh into one big set of germs and everyone will be just fine!” I can’t believe how much I was looking forward to becoming one giant ball of germs.
It probably took nearly a year for the viral attacks to stop wreaking havoc on my every waking moment. We passed stomach flu, bird flu, swine flue, flu A, flu B… you name it, we had it. Somehow my husband managed to skip most of them, but seven sick kids- that will really separate the men from the boys, or shall I say the weak from the Mama’s?!
In fact, I went through it so much, I’m holding the million dollar idea to disinfecting in my head. I’m just waiting for Lysol to call me. (Seriously, somebody get me a meeting!) When I look back at those early years of having so many kids, I wonder how I ever made it through the piles of diapers and vomit, but somehow I did it. I have to credit the good Lord. He must of deadened my sense of smell. Kids are stinky. Sick kids are stinkier. Should I ever forget where I’ve come from, let me just look back at a week of carrying bowls to the children who wouldn’t throw-up in the toilet.
Sometimes we’re so busy thinking of all the things that go wrong in our lives that we forget to see what goes right. My little girl is in the third grade and the only day she ever missed school was the day of her grandfather’s funeral. It took us two good years to develop the strong immune systems we have now, but (and I’m knocking on solid wood here) I’m not chasing everyone with buckets anymore. A bug might still slip through our crew, but today when the nurse called to say my little Diva tried to take a nap on the slide at recess and she was running fever, I realized, that was the first time the nurse has ever sent her home. Her big sister had the record for the most visits to the nurse. Talk about your 180… Some people still think I’m crazy for adopting so many kids, and maybe I am, but I have two precious little girls sniffling in my bed, running fever, cuddled up, and I can’t help but be thankful. This cold will pass. We’ve been given amazing healthy children.
You see, we were cuddled up watching reruns of “Say Yes to the Dress” when a bride fighting cancer really spoke to my heart. At the end of the episode, a graphic said “In Memory Of…” and sure enough Google helped me learn more about this amazing Margo. Then I found her blog. I read it, and cried. I spent a few minutes thinking of how close cancer came to taking my mother from me, not once, but twice…. I thought about my little sister fighting her battle now, I thought of my father and the struggles he’s had with his health, and my oldest son and all the surgeries he’s already had, and the scare we had when we weren’t sure this grandbaby would be so perfect with her ten little fingers and ten little toes, and I said to myself “I’m so lucky. We never know which way our prayers will be answered.”
That’s the great mystery of life. Some people fight the good fight and win. Some people fight the fight and can’t escape. Some people are never given a fight. There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. But when our kids are running around eating mud we never think to stop and be thankful for the blessing of good health they’ve been given. Today a lady named Margo on a rerun in a wedding dress made me look over at two sick little girls and give heartfelt thanks. I wonder if her mother knows that Margo’s bald head in a white gown spread such a message of love that it is still carried on? I bet that’s exactly the legacy she meant to leave behind…