of a great gift but barely seen

Having referred in the most recent rambling to my inner struggle of to blog or not to blog, I inadvertently staged a Brett Favre retirement. Now I feel like an idiot. But a thankful idiot. I didn’t mean to provoke any one to write but thank you to those that did. (Thanks, Mom.)


All three of my children had check-ups this week. It has been at least nine months since any of them have been to a doctor. Due to the different medical practices in the UK, Harriet and Hugh have never had a check-up and Norah’s last was four years ago. It was an interesting week. In the course of the experience Norah made the nurse cry, I learned that Harriet actually believes her last name to be “Bean”, and that Hugh is off the charts for height. I’ve already nicknamed him “Huge” and I promise you Alex already has his sights on the 2034 NFL draft.

Getting back on track with vaccinations plus rejoining the American immunization scheme meant four shots apiece. The girls were in together and Norah went first. Then it was Harriet’s turn. Harriet had watched Norah’s ordeal with the greatest interest, assisting in the application of glitter Band-Aids. She then climbed gaily up on my lap, declaring happily that it was her turn for “da shots.” After the first one, she changed her mind. Here’s where we made the nurse cry. Norah, who had cried briefly when she had her shots, couldn’t stand the sight of Harriet’s pain. She dropped all the glitter Band-Aids all over the floor and burst into hysterical tears, clapping her hands over her ears so she wouldn’t hear Harriet crying and backing into the corner. “I don’t want you to hurt my sister!” she said to the nurse. I was holding a weeping Harriet, and could only look helplessly at the nurse, who began to cry. “That’s so sweet,” she cried. “That’s never happened before.” It was an emotional morning.

One of several vaccines my younger children missed was the rotavirus vaccine, which is not offered in the UK. It basically protects against what Americans call “the stomach flu”–or diarrhea and vomiting illnesses. It is now too late for Harriet and Hugh to have it. “The risks are very minimal to children with access to good medical care,” the doctor had said. Then he added matter-of-factly, “If they become dehydrated, they can always go to the hospital for an IV. Without that we see millions of young children lost to it world-wide.” I cannot imagine watching my child lose the battle with a treatable illness and be powerless to help.

Which brings me to the point. My children had their eyes, ears, growth, development, reflexes, blood pressure, spines, hearts, and lungs checked and seem to be fully healthy in every way. (They had a minor virus last week, from which they will fully recover.) For their entire lives my children have had access to the best medical care in the world. For some reason this time it just hit me: there is so much for which to be grateful in those simple statements! What an astonishing, incredible, amazing blessing from our good God. I have no trouble listing things for God to fix when they’re sick: when’s the last time I really thanked him for their rosy health? Have I ever driven (or walked) to a doctor’s office blessing God’s name for his goodness in giving us such medical care? Or am I mostly whining about having to go and wondering if we’ll pick up chicken pox or something from the waiting room furniture?  How many mothers would trade places with me in a second?

I’m going to go get the children, line them up in a row (okay, herd them into a corner) and thank God for every wiggle and holler.

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2 Responses to of a great gift but barely seen

  1. Barbara C says:

    What a great post. We are American citizens currently living in Ireland. When in America I went to get my youngest at that time vaccines. I as talking to the nurse, as I was so thankful for vaccines. She said that moms that come in and are adamant about getting their kids vaccines are the ones that are from less fortunate foreign lands that have seen the effects of the having no such vaccines. We are truly blessed, thank you for helping me to remember that.

  2. Jenna says:

    Bets , I just now had a chance to read the last two posts… And can I just say what I’m sure has been echoed by many others— don’t stop! I truly am brought such joy and encouragement every time I read one of your posts! I have them send to my “special” email address that I reserve for things I actually want to see and read! Love to you and your sweet family! Xo! Jenna

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