Health for Granted

Years ago, way back in 2004 I had an opportunity of a lifetime to meet and speak with the Dali Lama in Bodh Gaya, India. It’s an experience I will never forget and one that has shaped my life and how I try to live it. I was engaged at the time of our meeting, but had not yet joined the parenthood journey. It’s amazing how God prepares you for what life may bring. During my exchange with the Dali Lama, I asked him what we need in life and he gave me a list of three things, but I am trying to save some for my book, so I will only share one thing he told me; health. He said people take good health for granted and my how right he is.

For the past three weeks my family has been plagued either one at a time or all together with numerous illnesses. From the flu, to allergies, to ear infections, it seems like someone has been sick everyday. I have spent hundreds of dollars on copays, prescriptions, old school remedies, juice, water and pedialyte. I have been plagued with exhaustion from late nights and long days. I was at my wits end of runny noses, itchy eyes, tummy aches, vomiting and hacking coughs and had started to complain. I don’t like complainers and I don’t like to complain and in the midst of one of my down moments I heard the voice of the Dali Lama telling me directly not to take health for granted.

At that moment I became grateful, grateful for our illnesses being temporary; grateful for financial resources to pay for my babies copays and medicine, thankful for the ability to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables and locally produced honey for hot tea. I am grateful for a flexible schedule that allowed me to stay home with my babies most of the time. I am thankful my mother was close enough to watch my sick babies when there was something I couldn’t re-arrange. I am so thankful for our dear friends the Andersons coming to my house while I was at urgent care with my daughter and making a big pot of gumbo for us. I am thankful for a partner that took turns and was in the grind with me giving breathing treatments and holding barf bags in the middle of the night and the list goes on and on and on.

Now, maybe it’s psychological but seems to me my gratefulness was simultaneous with their recovery. Within 24 hours, my house and the people in it were on the mend. Fevers were down, mucus stopped flowing and appetites picked up. And after the dust began to clear it was time to do some major disinfecting. As my whole family joined in to clean, I couldn’t help but smile because in the midst of a short sick spell, I was reminded not to take our health for granted.

So three weeks later there are a few lingering coughs and stubborn stuffy noses, but for the most part all is well and once again life has reminded me to be grateful and thankful for our support system and I will try my best not to lose sight of the importance of maintaining overall good health.

Dali Lama

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He asked me to dance

Each month I visit the local library and pick up a calendar events. I peruse it and make a mental note of all the wonderful free activities they have that I should take advantage of and I seldom get around to making any of them. So this month, I was determined to put the bedtime story telling night on my calendar.

Now I must say I was little concerned because as much as I thought my toddlers would enjoy an opportunity to wear pajamas out in public, it didn’t start until 7 and our bedtime is 7:30 p.m. I kept contemplating if Baby G would hold up. At 16-months, he is very regimented and will go upstairs by himself at bedtime if I am not moving fast enough. Plus, storytelling didn’t begin until 7 and then I had to come home give baths and prepare for school on Friday, we’re talking close to 9 p.m. before lights out.

With all this negative internal noise, I decided not to worry about any of it and pack them up and figure the rest out later and man am I glad I did. We arrived about 5 minutes late and the first story had already begun. When we walked in we joined about six other children and their parents. So apparently, I am not alone in not taking advantage of free library events.

We pick a corner and the children spread out. To my chagrin, I quickly find out that it’s not cool to sit on your momma’s lap during public story hour. They each grab a mat and face the storyteller. As always I’m amazed at my youngest imitating his sister’s every move.  The crowd is small enough that I feel comfortable giving them their space. For the next 20 minutes they listen to different stories about snow and winter.  Then it’s time to dance to a slow “sleepy” song. The girls in the audience grab hands and make a circle and I find my son trying to figure out what he should do. Instead of breaking up their circle he peruses all the mommies standing on the sidelines alone and not dancing, chooses one, walks over to her and extends his hand asking her to dance. The entire room, myself included join in a harmonious “awwww.”

So for the next minute my son dances with a stranger and then without notice he drops her hands and walks to me and asks me to dance. Man, do I love this kid and these moments. It’s a constant reminder that I was born to be a mommy. As for the storytelling time, my children had a ball and I would definitely recommend it.

Yes, bedtime was later than usual that night, but lifelong memories were created.

library