Wednesday, October 17, 2012


We hosted our first party here on Friday night. Dirk's workmates, staff and their families were our guests. It was so much fun to make everything pretty and really put this house (built to entertain) to the test. I think my favorite moment was sitting out at one of the little cafe tables in the late evening. We were out by the pool, me and a couple of really lovely ladies with whom I was just getting acquainted. Candles lit our table as the moon hung high above us. The kids took turns bounding off of the jumping rock as we chatted and sipped our autumn sangria. Pure delight. We had a great time and were all spent with exhaustion at the night's end. I suppose that's why Mr. Gastroenteritis figured it was an ideal time to viciously attack us from the depths of the earth (or wherever he lives).


We went down like so many dominoes, succumbing to his ruthless blows. Ainsley was the first culprit and got hit pretty hard. She was over the worst of it after one bad night. I was next and am not too proud to say that this bug kicked my rear all over big Texas. Of course that really means it was well worn path between our bed and our bathroom but it felt like a lot of space. Have mercy, Lord. After about twenty continuous hours of nauseated misery, He did. I never knew the stomach flu is really a misnomer. It's not the flu really. When your stomach feels like it's stuck on the spin cycle you have what is called viral gastroenteritis. Dr. Google told me that. The two of us got pretty close as I consulted him in the middle of the night to find out how much longer I had to live.


Gastro-mastro - all I had was a stomach bug. That's it. Yeah, it was pretty awful and unsettling to say the least but after about a day it was gone. I'm alive. I'm well. Then Dirk got it (of course) because sharing is caring after all. He got it worse than I did. Or different anyway. He had this unbelievable fever/chill combination paired with intensely painful muscle aches. He shivered beneath four heavy quilts with the pain of (as he describes it) what felt like a Mack truck sitting on his thighs. Bad gastroenteritis. Bad, bad, you.

So while the poor man was trying to stay alive I felt it would behoove me to get the few healthy ones left in my family out of the germ nest. We went to the cleanest place we could find: the Juju Bee covered floors of the dollar movie theater. Yes, that's the place every kindred spirit of Howard Hughes goes when they want to feel fresh. But, hey, they were playing Ice Age: Continental Drift for a buck and it would kill a few hours of our afternoon. So off we went.

The girls and I treated ourselves to a popcorn the size of a small continent and plodded our way through the stick-fest of the floors to a row of seats to our liking. As we settled into our theatre seats I turned to look at their faces in the dimmed lights of the room. And there they were: miracles. Living, breathing, gorgeous reflections of the glory of God sitting on either side of me. Of me. I tucked their favorite blankets (which come with us to every movie) over each of their little laps. Their faces were aglow from the screen revealed their milky faces. Skin free of the presence of a single pore, a solitary crease. Their lashes thick and full silhouetted their eyes blue as the sea. Their expressions excited, hopeful for the story yet to be played out before them on the screen. As I pushed the edges of their blankets under their warm thighs I was overcome. Overcome. This is it. The very reason why I am indeed till alive. This is the reason I was born. To love these people. To mother them well. To tuck them in and warm them up and let them know how very much they have to give lots of God's love back to this incredible world we call our home.


I have no idea what happened after that in the movie. There were talking sloths, and a cheetah who sounded an awful lot like JLo but I still got the plot. Not of the movie ('cause I'm pretty sure those are optional when the main characters are cartoons) but of my life. I am ridiculously, wonderfully, incredibly blessed to mother these little loves. I am full. So full that the love is spilling over everywhere I turn. My job is to spread it around. To share it with those who are feeling empty today. Of course it's not perfect. This life. Nothing is. It's easy to count up the pain or broken dreams or heart ache or the frustration with the seemingly endless amount of energy it takes to keep the crazy away. The real strength comes in looking around and realizing that it's really, really good to be alive. To have breath in your lungs and no pain in your body. To know that to be alive and well is more than a little something. So for this new lease on my precious life I thank you Mr. Gastro. Thank you very much. You don't have to come back again. We got it. We know, we're the lucky ones. Not taking it for granted anymore. Thanks for that.

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