I learned last night that if a 12 year-old boy who usually eats more than his other three siblings combined, tells you he “isn’t really all that hungry” at dinner, he is about to puke for the next eight hours.
Stomach bugs are the super most bestest!
Here’s what you do when your preteen boy is sick: You sit on the bathroom floor and promise him he isn’t going to die. When he moans, “Why is God doing this to me???“, you tell him there is no “why” for this. And you are very, very, very sorry. And you love him.
You think about his future wife, who will do this dark-of-night nursing for him one day. You know she will be basically Snow White, Pollyanna, and Katniss all rolled into one person. You love her so much already.
Here’s what you do not do: You don’t say you wish it were you lying on the cold tile sweating in between episodes. Because even though you’re a mom and you would do anything for him, moms can’t get sick like that because the whole world seems to orbit around your ability to stand up straight and make pancakes.
I don’t think I realized that surviving stomach bugs is such a learned skill before last night. I had to teach him everything: when to brush his teeth, at what point you realize drinking water is making it worse, and how to get a pillow and then endure the agony right there on the bathroom floor.
By the way, of course we are in the middle of a Job series at church right now. So I was thinking all about how not to be like Job’s friends, how Job had it so much worse than we have it, and how suffering has a purpose even though it seems purposeless.
Then at about 1:00am, like a good evangelical, I started blaming the devil for everything. I think this is how Christians become superstitious. (Don’t talk about Job! That’s like asking for trouble!! Things will get worse!) I didn’t want to be superstitious, but just in case, I stopped with the Job topic in my head, and upped my warfare prayers a notch spiritually. Just. In. Case.
I will now spend the rest of the day analyzing the state of my own stomach. (Am I hungry, or about to hurl? Should I eat crackers all day just in case?) I will disinfect all the toilets and wash all the bedding and towels, so as to fabricate hope. I may bleach the porch if it makes me feel less powerless against the viral onslaught. I will force and bribe all the kids to sit very still and be very nice to me, like I’m made of fragile porcelain. (Just kidding. That is impossible crazy talk. They will make me bonkers all day long.)
Mostly, I will just take everything slowly. And if you opened up my soul it would look like this:
I hope your Wednesday is vomit free. I hope mine is, too.
But my daughter just told me her “tummy hurts”, so I’m a little nervous. Let’s not mention Job, okay? Just in case.