She was sick, why?
As a parent, I asked that question every time one of my children was sick.
She was sick, again!
My ten-year old daughter started complaining about her throat Saturday afternoon. It hurt her to swallow, it hurt her a lot. She had no fever, and had had strepp throat twice this winter already.
So Sunday morning I took my son to church while my wife took our daughter to the doctor.
It was strepp throat, again. The doctor also decided that we needed to change antibiotics, and prescribed penicillin, in tablet form.
The penicillin worked almost instantly, and we were thrilled Monday morning as she felt so much better.
Our problems were not over. It was very painful for her to swallow that first tablet, and the second one was less painful.
She had to take them at least 1 hour before eating or at least 2 hours after eating, 3 times a day. Our routine would be disturbed the next ten days!
So, before I left for work, while everyone else slept, I woke her so that she could take her penicillin an hour before breakfast. She would then go back to sleep.
In the afternoon, I would pick her up at school with some bottled water and another pill.
She would take the third at bedtime.
The tougher problem was her inexperience in swallowing pills. As a ten-year old, she had plenty of experience with liquid medicines and chewable tablets, but not pills. We made it through Sunday's and Monday's dosage with struggles, but we made it.
However, on Tuesday morning, half-awake, she could not swallow the pill, despite having gone through 2 full cups of water. She complained, "Dad, it tastes awful, I can't swallow it, either!"
She was distressed and anxious. She knew how important the medicine was to her health, as she had more than her fair share of medical challenges. Between dozens of ear infections, multiple stitches to her face and the diseases passed in school and among cousins that play a lot together, she had been a regular at the clinic. I could see panic rising in her, and I was starting to be late for work.
What was a father to do? How do I calm her and ask her to do what she already knows is just about impossible, yet necessary? The penicillin was working this time, and we could not stop taking it. She had to take those pills! I remember saying a quick prayer, asking for the solution that God intended for this mess.
I was reminded that I believed and had told my children, that their brains were more powerful than the computer I use to write these articles. I reminded her, gently, that 'your brain will take whatever you say to be true! So say what you want to be true about you and these pills, and it will become so!'
So I asked her to bow her head as I gave thanks, praying, "Lord, thank you for making this pill not only taste much, much better than the others, but for making it much, much easier to swallow, too. Amen."
With a look that said I must be crazy, she looked at me and hesitated. She put on a brave smile and said, "Dad, this pill tastes okay, and is easier to swallow than all the others!" She put it on her tongue, and drank again.
2 gulps later, it was gone, and I had a little girl go back to sleep. She had a small smile as she said good-bye.
It has now been a whole week since then, and this morning, I woke her with the cup and pill, saying with a big smile, as had become our routine, "Here I am with another great tasting, easy-to-swallow pill!"
She looked at me with her half-closed eyes, and a tired smile. She put the pill on her tongue, drank some water, and laid back down to sleep. She probably couldn't tell you if I kissed her on the forehead before leaving her room. Or if I stayed a few extra minutes, with my eyes tearing up.
I hate struggles.
No, to be more honest, part of me is embarrassed that I still need them to remind me of reality.
I am grateful that God trusts me and my family with struggles. Not to make us strong, but to remind us of His tender, personal love. To remind us that He is always there, and it is sad that I need the struggles to remember to look to Him, but that's because I am human and my ego and pride want me to be the answer to all my problems.
I do not try to protect my children from the world, I try to let God prepare my children for the world.
The members of my family are blessed, not lucky, nor better than others. Just blessed, by God.