November 16, 2015

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from observing social media, it’s that there’s nothing people enjoy more than posts about throw up.

Well, you’re in luck, because that’s EXACTLY what this post is about!  I always want to write about life as it really is, so even if you’re one of those oddballs that doesn’t actually like reading about vomit, the reality is that six out of seven of us got hit with a nasty stomach bug the other day.  Six out of seven, people!!  (Truth be told, only five out of seven got hit at once.  Our girl was staying with our amazingly wonderful, saint-like friends to avoid the germs, but haha, the joke’s on them, because she had the germs too!!  {I am so so so so so sorry, friends-who-had-our-girl, and I am still praying a bubble of health around your home!!!  [This just in: While our saint-like friends will hopefully remain in a bubble of health, it seems that I may have caused half the ladies in my Bible study to become ill.  I am so so so so so sorry, ladies-in-my-Bible-study!  Can we call it a bonding experience??]}).  Anyway, the point is, sweet things in life happen, but puke happens too.  And I’ve been reminded more than ever recently that life isn’t just a series of ups and downs, but an intertwining of ups and downs, a sort of metaphysical double helix.  In the good we can see the ridiculous, and in the hard we can see the hopeful.

Untitled design (7)For instance, the stomach flu sucks, but it created an interesting opportunity with our girl.  A byproduct of her being sick was that it gave me a chance to care for her in a way I don’t usually get to, because this time she actually needed me, unlike her usual “come hither and do my bidding” brand of “needing” me.  With older foster kids, that’s something we miss out on, and maybe one of the reasons bonding can be challenging.  When you have a baby, you have to care for its every need, and that sacrifice creates closeness and trust.  Our girl came to us still a child but able to take care of many of her own needs, and so she could be dismissive and condescending.  But the other night, I held back her hair and rubbed her back each time she vomited, and afterwards, when I’d tucked her back into bed, she smiled weakly and in this sad little voice she thanked me for helping her.  Would it sound too strange if I said that that was one of the highest moments of affection I’ve felt for her?  A couple posts ago I talked about wanting to scoop her up and really take care of her, but she has all these defenses up that make authentic moments like that feel impossible.  The stomach flu tore down those defenses, even if it was briefly.  There was such a sweetness in tending to her needs (it helps that she’s a surprisingly clean patient–all her puke went right where it ought to, which is more than I can say about my boys…).  I’m not retroactively wishing illness on her, but I wish in her time with us there’d been more opportunities for her to actually need me like that.  Ah, well, it is what it is.  Maybe this experience, being one of her last with us, will be burned on her memory, leaving her with the distinct impression of having been truly cared for.

So, there.  This has been my puke post.  I’m thinking our time with our girl is just about up, and who would have thought a part of me would be thankful to have these remaining days include the flu?!  But I am thankful–thankful for the sweet moments with her, thankful for the gratitude she showed afterwards, thankful for her parents who actually seemed a little choked up when they thanked me for taking care of her.  The thing is, when they said “thank you for taking care of her,” I don’t know if they meant this week when she was sick, or for the past twenty months.  Maybe they didn’t know which they meant.  But when I said “you’re welcome, we love her,” I meant both.

(If you need a laugh, look no further than the OTHER picture my sister offered for this post, below.)


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“Isn’t it so special and magical how our shared illness is drawing us closer together??”

My Puke Post

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