Like many other churches in town, ours is this week holding our annual VBS program. And like last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, (we’re back to 2003 for those keeping track), I am not at VBS. I am home. With sick children. Not doing whatever it is I’d promised I’d do up at Town North this week to help with our program. Teaching, taking photographs, helping with singing….all my grand plans each year have ended up on the couch, next to whichever little person (or people, in most instances) have taken ill. Oh, I usually end up making it to church for a couple days, to pitch in a wee bit. But, for the majority of the week, I remain at home. Here we are, fourth year in a row, and it’s the same old story.
To the casual observer, we have not much to show for the last two weeks of life — these 15 days immediately following Memorial Day weekend. Our family has experienced a run of illness that is almost unbelievable for this time of year. To say it has been a bit of a challenging time would be accurate. It’s been sad to cancel so many plans, and back out of several things we’d promised we’d do with or for others.
Instead of going to storytime at the Library, swimming in the pool, and eating watermelon in these early (and very hot, I might add) days of summer, we’ve opted for multiple visits to the Pediatrician’s, viewing endless movies from the couch, and sucking down copious amounts of drugs and pain/fever relievers. Not to mention waking up over and over and over each night with multiple children who are sick and sad and in need of mommy’s and daddy’s help. After so many nights of little sleep, plus the amazing amount of germs pervading our household, Jay and I finally succumbed to sickness as well.
The long list of illnesses thus far includes: 2 ear infections, 2 cases of strep, 1 case of croup, 1 sinus infection, 3 bad colds, 3 horrible coughs (these are separate and unique from the colds, I assure you) 1 case of pink eye, and 3 cases of a very tenacious and long-lasting mystery virus whose symptoms are searing headache pain, fever, and sore throat. Not one family member has been spared. Most of us have had at least two maladies.
Some of us are on the mend. Four of us are on antibiotics. But tomorrow, two or perhaps even three children will hopefully be able to attend VBS. I’ll be here still, holding down the fort with those who remain ill. And I am one of those remaining ones.
It is uncanny to me that each year since 2003, when, to paraphrase, the older two had a tummy bug, and little Nicolas almost ended up in the hospital due to dehydration from illness, I have had to back out of teaching or whatever else I’d promised I’d do for our fun-filled week of VBS. Each year since then I’ve felt this weird combination of guilt and frustration as I call our coordinator and explain that yes, indeed, again I will not be there doing whatever job it was I had offered to do. Everyone has been truly understanding, and appropriately sympathetic toward our situation. But after four years, perhaps I should consider that there is a lesson in all this for me. Hmmmm.
Yes, I believe I have without a doubt reached a resolute decision about VBS and my participation therein. Next year, I think that when it comes time for volunteering for the week, I am not signing up for anything. While I hate to be too impulsive, there are, after all, four years of data to back me up. So there you have it. I will not volunteer to teach. Or sing. Or take pictures. Or even be there. At all. There will be no grand plans to upset. No people to disappoint. No expectations, and no letdown. And maybe, just maybe then….we won’t all get sick!!