I’ve spent the last three days with the stomach flu.
It started out as quite the mortifying and stinky experience at the worst time and is turning into a time with surprising blessings and lessons.
We were tucked in my car heading to town to Aldi’s after fives days iced in at home. I wasn’t feeling great but we were out of fruit, eggs and a few other necessities and we were expecting another wave of winter weather storms. We were almost there…only one more mile. An overwhelming sense of dread hit me. I had to go to the bathroom and I had to go right then. I quickly pulled into the Wendy’s parking lot and hurried the boys out of their booster seats. As we ran to the doors of the restaurant, I felt it start. Sigh… I didn’t make it to the bathroom…sigh…and it was a horrible feeling.
The mess in my jeans was just the beginning.
All of a sudden it hit me…how was I going to deal with my health issues, get us home, get the things we needed from the store, and take care of our boys all with the stomach flu…alone?
I missed my husband with an intensity in that moment I cannot put it into words.
But I didn’t have time to panic. I had to think fast. The boys were in the hall. Praise God Josh is ten now and Michael turns five at the end of March. I yelled to stay put I was sick but would be out soon. Letting go of control and asking for help is not my strength, but God seemed to be working in that particular area of weakness in me over and over this past month.
I took a deep breath and asked the woman in the next stall if there was any way she could get me some napkins from the restaurant so that I could clean myself up as best I could. She was so sweet and gave me a few words of encouragement before leaving to get them.
And then I was alone…fighting a new wave of grief. Will was so good at taking care of me when I was sick and making sure the boys had what they needed and our home ran smoothly while he would regulate me to my recliner and bed. But he was gone. And I was alone with two young boys with a stomach flu that was now calling the shots.
I called out to God in a whisper of a voice…”Lord, help me! I don’t know what I am going to do! I need you!”
And do you know what? A sense of calm filled me…my mind stopped racing and I remembered, I wasn’t alone. God was there with me…even in this stinky predicament in the Wendy’s bathroom stall. I could get through this too…one step at a time.
By some miracle, I got myself cleaned up…the boys didn’t kill each other in the hall and we got home with me sitting on a newspaper and with no more…um…incidents…until we got home. That was at 12:30 on Monday afternoon. I sprinted to the bathroom every fifteen minutes for the next eight hours until I gave in and took an anti-diarrhea medication that got things under control within thirty minutes.
But do you know what? I survived. We all survived. And I, we learned a lot in the process.
I learned that when push came to shove, my ten-year old son who seemed to struggle with working around our house most days could really step up to the plate when I needed him the most. He suggested that I stay up in my room so that I could lay down when I could and try to get some rest. I found things for his little brother to do with him to keep him out of trouble and as quiet as possible down stairs in the rest of our house while I ran back and forth to bathroom sick.
By late afternoon I had made it down to the living room. He made dinner for his brother and himself, heating up left over pizza and hot dogs and making a peanut butter sandwich for his brother with only a little coaching from me. Food made my stomach rumble and not in a good way. He read his brother stories and found a movie to put on to keep things calm while Mommy was downstairs. He kept asking what he could do to help me and continually refilled my water-glass. Michael even found ways to help too and would put his small hand on my forehead “to see how I was doing”. I am so proud and grateful for them.
When I asked him where to take care of things like this he told me that he just thought about what Daddy would have done and did that. (tears of thanks) One more legacy Will left with us.
Things didn’t go totally smoothly with the boys. After all they children…boys with lots energy and ADHD. They were arguments over who got the hot dogs things like that but over all…nothing serious on children front. Thank you, God!
I learned to surrender my issues of control in other ways too.
I reached to my local friends on Facebook and was able to find someone with an extra dozen eggs who could bring them by to get us through the day. They were even willing to drive through sleet to bring it on their way to a meeting at the school.
I learned to stop trying to do everything and just be for a while. Yes there were times when I broke down just cried in grief missing my husband’s TLC so much. But I grew to appreciate the fact that would be OK. We will make it. We are surrounded with an amazing support system of friends in the community, from our church and on-line who help when I need it most.
I was reminded that putting formal homeschooling aside taking a few days to rest and just enjoy the company of my boys is the precious gift so important to do on regular basis…not just when I forced to because of illness. I had time to play quiet board games with them…read with them…watch their movies with them. I even let them teach me some of their favorite games on their Leapster GS’ that got when they left the rehab hospital in August. I had time to just sit and listen to them talk what was important to them. I the opportunity to teach them about serving with compassion. I got teach them to basic life skills as they took over some of the jobs that I couldn’t do myself for 24 hours.
I am learning so much about them as I just spend time with them doing nothing…just talking and listening and playing and giggling. Being together.
Am I well now? Not quite. But I well enough to get to the store last evening and get things we need to survive the week with the tummy flu at our house. I am still recovering and if they get it…which it looks is happening…we will be ready. And now I am more prepared to go out! Last night I put a spare outfit in the trunk for each of us just in case we need them!
Through of this I learning that my new normal may not look like it did before…it won’t always be easy, but I will be OK. We will be OK. And we will grow closer to each other and to God as our bodies and hearts continue to heal. We are not alone.
I hope you will join us here for our special guest blogger’s visit tomorrow! Blogger and author, Kris Camealy– Always Alleluia, the author of the beautiful Lenten devotion book– Holey, Wholly, Holy!! She will share her heart story of surrender with us. I can’t wait for all of you to meet her. Her story has touched my heart so much!
Sitting at the feet of Jesus with so much to learn,
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