Talk of God

Yesterday my son was sick. Technically he was sick through the night before and will be on meds for the next five days kicking this bug (a nasty ear infection), but it was yesterday that his sickness changed our day. Instead of having the day to myself for work and working out, a Monday ritual thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law who hosts “GG days” of play, care, adventure, food, and fun on Mondays for Eli and Andi, I headed with both kids to the doctor’s office and hunkered down for a day of nursing.

I admire nurses to no end. I am not a nurse in the least. Once in college I thought about changing my major to nursing, mentioned this to my ever-supportive, but honest mother, and heard, “Don’t think so…absolutely not…you cannot…you don’t care about taking care of people, Linds” on the other end of the phone. Sounds harsh but its mostly true. I don’t have a nurturing, care-taking spirit- I lack gifts of healing and the compassion of people who willingly and skillfully enter into the pain and sickness of others. I’m okay with being different and enjoy my non-nursing vocation. I have however been attempting to become empathetic- to acknowledge and experience the experience of another without inserting my own story. Despite my empathy efforts, my nursing skills have only slightly increased with the vocation of motherhood. In short, I do take loving and mostly patient care of my family when they are sick, but on the inside I’m struggling as none of it comes naturally.

Alas- I was highly motivated to get my son taken care of yesterday morning. His pain was intense and despite battling bravely and being tough, he needed compassion and help. We saw the doctor, got the medicine and headed home.  Andi, our 3 year old daughter, has been sick more often, more recently, and was almost immediately envious of Eli’s extra attention and especially the meds. Despite her jealousy, she prayed at lunch and this is what she prayed:

“God, thank you for our food, and for Eli to go to the doctor and get medicine, and thank you for suckers, and everything in the whole world. Amen”

Yep, she didn’t get an anti-biotic but she did get a sucker. Gratitude, honesty, and sympathy for her brother- a good prayer indeed.

Eli perked up  after lunch and a movie- so far, my nursing skills are making the day smooth and helping my sick kiddo and I’m not feeling hardly any intern turmoil. Eli went to put on his sweatbands and shorts for some indoor dunk practice. He took two leaps from the coffee table to the ottoman and leaped while dunking the ball (a usual route) and landed two times exclaiming, “Oh God!”. I was right there and after hearing it the second time, I ended the ball game and led him to his room for a chat.

We don’t use “God” as an exclaimation in our family. I hadn’t heard him say it before and wanted to address it. We do indeed say “Oh my Gosh” and “Goodness gracious” etc.. etc.. just FYI.

We haven’t had many talks about language yet with our kids and I didn’t put a lot of fore thought into this moment with Eli. I explained that God is not just a word we use like “Wow!”, “Bummer”, “Eeek”, “Hey!”, “Yay”, etc…  I said, “God is God. Bigger than any words and the creator of all our words, all our love, all our fun, our bodies, our world, everything”- Eli knows all this. I repeated that “God is not a word, God is God” and that we say God when we want to talk to God or about God. He got it and moved on mostly.

As my solo nursing duties were nearing their end and Drew’s arrival at home was a mere 45 mins away, Eli began to feel the crappiness of it all again. He whined and fussed about almost everything. Andi was whining as well, still wanting medicine or at least more attention, and my nursing energy reserve was empty. The TV went back on until the daddy got home and making dinner became a consuming project. The kitchen, more than the sickbed, is really more of my mom-thing.


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