Getting through any season without an illness is something to celebrate and maybe even silently acknowledge, but never verbalize. I made that mistake recently when I told my dad that we had made it through the winter without any sickness in the house. He warned me that I shouldn’t be so proud. Lesson learned.
The next day I had some free time from work and met my wife and kids at the ice rink. It was our plan to skate and then get lunch. When I arrived, my four year old, Noah, expressed his desire to have lunch right away and forego skating. He looked tired and a little pale so I obliged. My wife and daughter went skating without us.
We drove to a fast food restaurant and ordered lunch. I greeted a couple in the restaurant I knew. We began eating when the unexpected happened. One moment Noah had a hamburger in his mouth, the next he was getting sick. It wasn’t even dramatic. He just sat there, helplessly in shock over what had just happened. He looked at the mess on the table and then looked at me hoping I was going to take care of everything.
In spite of the gag reflex that was overcoming me, I jumped up ready to take action.
I saw that he was not finished. I looked for a bag. The fry bag was too small. I saw nothing so I held out my hands in a cup formation under his mouth.
With my hands filling, the gag reflex kicked right in. In my mind I was saying, “You cannot get sick too! Hold it in!”
I scanned the room to see if anyone was looking and if anyone was coming to help. People were oblivious. Didn’t they see this small child throwing up? Even my friends sitting a few feet away did not look up to acknowledge my predicament.
Later they would explain that they had intentionally looked away. The instinct was there to help and they even discussed it, but they knew that if they got involved it would lead to their joining in. I couldn’t blame them.
I got it together enough to grab some napkins and started cleaning up. The first pile of napkins didn’t last long. The next pile helped some more.
Soon an employee joined me. She sheepishly came over and began cleaning up the floor. I profusely thanked her and she kindly told me that this happens all the time.
Noah went home and threw up several more times over a two-day period. Not long after that my daughter caught the bug, resulting in multiple visits to the doctor. Finally, my wife rounded it all off by getting sick, too.
A month of sickness hit everyone but me. The fact was not lost on me though. I will never tell anyone that we went without sickness again. I will quietly, under my breath, give thanks for this blessing.