Those first week of school pictures were adorable. Each of your precious kiddos stood with their outfits, backpacks or sat at their home-school tables ready to go. Parents kept social media and stores busy with shopping lists, large purchases and offers of school clothing swaps. Oh, the preparation represented!
Whew. Now that the first week or so is over, it’s time for the a new school preparation. I’m talking about stocking up on vitamins, immune boosters and cleaners. Let me show you how I prepared for school. I turned into the ‘OCD-cleaning-frenzy mommy’.
Now we must prepare for the REAL back-to-school onslaught. Prepare for the Crud. The Plague. The Pink-Eyed Monster. The germs are here. After only TWO DAYS Jonathan’s teacher has called in sick with pink-eye. William’s Physical Therapist cancelled on account of illness. Playdates are being cancelled right and left. The sound of sniffling is breaking the silence. Our kids are going DOWN, y’all. They will be snotty. They will cough. They will use us as human tissues and towels. This is the joy that will ensue and continue until Christmas, when we all visit other states and spread our strains of viruses to others and bring it home, infect others and then suffer until Spring Break.
Sick kids were a problem before, but now I’m in a new world that I only vaguely knew existed.
This is a very crucial problem for us this year because William the Conqueror’s immune system is very low and compromised. It’s making into a New Mom. With my firstborn I was careful, but didn’t sanitize the pacifier when it dropped. I thought eating a handful of dirt was an ‘immune system builder’. I was once told that I was ‘a first time mom that acts like a third time mom’. I took it as a compliment. Then cancer happened and I am now turning into a super-germ-destroyer because I’ve seen what happens to William when the usual illnesses hit his defenseless body. His suffering is drastically disproportionate to ours.
The 24 tummy bug that was passed around was a serious issue when William caught it. 7 days caused a 4 pound weight loss and ultimately sent him to the ER. With a brother in school bringing home the Elementary-Influenza, this house is on lock down.
All toys get washed every two days. I also wash the toys at church. Everything is on the ground and touching mouths.
At the door we have a shoe station. Shoes are shed at the door to avoid tracking outdoor germs where Will crawls. We have hand sanitizer and wipes to clean the doorknob. We even have face masks for people to ‘just have allergies’ or ‘have a little tickle that is probably nothing’ for when flu season hits.
Overkill? Yep. Am I terrified that he will get sick? Nope. It’s going to happen. He is in the Lord’s hands…and mine, which are clean.
It reminds me that things outside my doors are different. We have changed circumstances and changed lifestyles. We seem like masters of overkill, unusual and even trapped in a bubble. It’s what we do to protect our children. There are a lot of things out there in the world to protect our kids from and to face head on. We can pretend like they don’t exist, or we can confront them. More importantly, we can’t let fear control us or over-influence our actions. If the Lord saw fit to bring my boys through serious illnesses and challenges, there is purpose. Nothing is wasted.
What is threatening your home and or your children? Physical threat? Spiritual attack? Emotional issues? Anxiety? Starting over? The unknown?
I have found that my friends and neighbors not only seek to understand our situation, but are very eager to enforce the shoes off-hands washed rule. The kids as great questions about the body, immunity, cancer ,chromosomes and vaccines. These kids are brilliant and their hearts are open to William. They are compassionate learners who are eager to show love and patience. We are training our children to be compassionate and to protect one another and in so doing, we mothers are protecting and encouraging each other. When someone we love is susceptible, it is our job to rally the troops and protect. It may seem counter-intuitive to some, but this is where love shows. This is how we are truly strengthened.
Wash your hands and say your prayers. Jesus and germs are everywhere.