“She’s vomiting,” read the text on my phone. I groaned. Not because vomit makes me queasy (I do have 4 kids and a dog, after all!), but because it was happening again….
Within 24 hours, I was headed to the ER in an ambulance with my daughter. She had a kidney infection, with a fever over 105, and couldn’t keep anything down – not even the antibiotics or anti-nausea medications from the morning’s visit to the doc. She was crying, but was too dehydrated to squeeze out even one tear. I held her hand the whole way.
Three hours later in the ER, she was lying in bed and I was reading. A nurse walked in who I’d seen on other occasions there. I felt sick then. Not physically, but emotionally. It’s just never a good thing to feel a hospital is familiar.
And with that, my own tears welled up.
You see, since we adopted my little girl, we’ve spent hundreds of hours at Children’s – in specialists’ offices, in the ER, in radiology. For whatever reason, whether unfortunate genes, the trauma of her first 2 years of life spent in foster homes, or a little of both, she’s been sick more than I can remember. Nothing life-threatening. Just chronic, persistent, frustrating. And, sadly, her problems are often caused by her own behaviors.
Behaviors related to her mood disorder, which in this case led to a kidney infection. And a trip to the ER. And three nights of sleeplessness, holding her hand, packing her with damp cloths, Trying not to resent the time. Trying not to let her life overtake the family and our other kids. Again.
As soon as she was feeling better, the behavior battles resumed… The yelling, the tantrums, the “I wish you were dead” looks. After one such moment, I told her, “I’m glad you’re back. I missed you these past few days,” and smiled, holding out a pile of laundry for her to fold to pay me back for the attitude (that’s our family economy… you spill it, you clean it; you break it, you fix it; you tire mom out, you do some of mom’s work around the house while I rest!)
She yanked it from me and turned around to start folding. Then turned back and smiled too. A genuine smile – full of tangible love.
And I knew right then – It was worth it.
If this post resonated with you, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Also, check out this poem about grace. It really spoke to my heart after the tough week I had. Hope it encourages you too!