Walking the Planks
So today was flu shot day. I would tell you that I had completely forgotten about flu shots, but that would obviously make me a terrible mother, so I will tell you assuredly, I did not forget about flu shots. Like any devoted mom, I delayed them as long as possible for the sake of my children.
And so we went. And I don’t do the trick thing. I say we are doing this. And it’s gonna hurt.
But only for a second.
We arrive at the clinic and several other devoted moms were there lining children, one by one; completing forms, two by two; and we are reassuring and we are loving and we are—
Bysounds horrific and loud and full of panic and they were the sounds of a child.
“I’LL NEVER LET YOU DO IT! YOU CAN’T TOUCH WITH ME THAT THING! AHHHHHHHHH! GET ME OUT OF HERE!”
It was a movie. For five long minutes. Surreal. I looked at my children; at all of the children. Waiting, faces, ghost-white and frightened and I look at them lovingly, showing concern for their hearts beating fast and I—
Burst out laughing. Giggling, shaking, laughing, like I can. not. stop. The other moms look at me with horror. The nurses glance and I am telling you.
I could not quit laughing.
It was like a year-long release of tension and fear and anger and anxiety and maybe I wanted to be that kid, yelling at the top of his lungs, but grown-ups can’t yell. At least not in a clinic. At least not in a room full of children.
And so we laugh.
And all of a sudden, there were other nurses, different nurses, other screams, yes different ones and I was back in the maternity wing and we were being ushered around by our “how to have a baby” teacher and I’m remembering how huge I was and remembering how people would say, “Oh you are so cute. You are just carrying that baby all up front” and how they were lying, sweet, precious liars because I am remembering and I am seeing pictures and I know I carried that baby everywhere. He was in my face and my hips and my tush and, oh thank heavens for all the sweet little liars, but we are walking and yes there are screams. You could hear the sounds of total agony echoing from the newly remodeled rooms and I looked at my husband and I thought—
“Well, that’s that. This baby’s stayin’ in”‘
Well first, I thought, why in the heck-o-la did they bring us here? Such not a good idea.
And then I thought, yep, baby’s stayin’ put because I am not. doing. that. That, you know, whatever that is that is causing the screaming.
But the baby came out. Two of them, in fact and without drugs. I’m not some crazy no-drug person, I’m just some crazy-don’t like the idea of someone sticking a foot-long needle into my spine person.
So anyway, I was laughing and yes I had this moment right there in the middle of a flu shot clinic and these moments are important and they make up our lives and they are the ones that remind us of the better; they remind us of the joy and in this really messed up way, the poor kid screaming, wrestling, fighting, kicking made me happy.
Ann Voskamp says, “We can walk the planks of trust from known to unknown and know. He holds.”
And so here in this clinic, here today, I remember. I remember the better. I remember that He is faithful and that He held me during labor and He held my parents as they waited word on their baby, and He held them when they were refused information and refused welcome and yes, I can list the ways of His faithfulness and I can walk the planks and it’s good to remember and it’s good to laugh and there is grace in flu shots and frightened children.
And frighened Mommies.
My children were brave. Stickers in hand, we head out for ice cream. And once upon a time, I remember that their Mommy was brave (and very fat and thankful for liars), and it’s a both-and.
Being brave doesn’t mean we’re not scared. It means we face the fear.
We walk the planks.