I Have No Mercy for Kids With Mono and Other Tales

I found out last Saturday that my five-year-old daughter has mononucleosis. Of course like any good parent, I felt sympathy for my poor little girl who didn’t feel well. Then I felt relief. And guilt.

For the month prior, my daughter’s behavior was beyond horrible. Even asking her to put on her clothes was a battle. She would throw uncharacteristic temper tantrums, screaming that she was so tired and couldn’t do it. Her room remained a condemned area, as she refused for two weeks to clean it. She was grounded from a birthday party, the playground, dinner with the family–anything else I could think of–and yet she still refused to put even one dirty shirt in the hamper.

Hannah Grace has always been stubborn; refusing to do chores or taking forever to get ready in the morning was not beyond her capabilities, but she had reached such an impressive level of defiance that my visions of her future all involved jail time.

I spent nights crying in bed. All of my prayers started with her. In fact, I spent many nights after the kids had gone to bed walking up and down the hallway, prayer walking, casting out the demons that surrounded her room in Jesus’ name.

In fact, one night the urge to pray was so intense that I went to her room and laid hands on her sleeping body, assuming God wanted me to perform a mini exorcism. That night, Hannah Grace climbed into bed between Matt and me, and we could feel the heat emanating off her limbs as she snuggled next to us. She clearly had a fever. I figured God was giving me a sign that He was burning up the demons.

A few hours later, the fever was gone, and Hannah Grace was back to her defiant self. She said she didn’t want to go to school with venom in her voice, and I knew it was just another of her evil ploys. After all, I had already picked her up from school previously when she said she didn’t feel well, and she bounced around the house all day. We had gone to the doctor another time when she said her throat and stomach hurt, but her strep test came back negative. Clearly, I lived with a manipulative little faker.

So when the nurse called on Saturday and said, “Hannah Grace has mono,” I felt immediate relief that my daughter was not possessed by Satan. And then I felt guilt that I had thought my daughter was possessed by Satan. And guilt that I didn’t renew her gymnastics classes due to her defiant behavior and refusal to do chores.

Yep, that’s motherhood–doing my best to raise my kids well, seeking the Lord, only to realize that I wasn’t reading the signs He was giving me correctly; having to kneel before my child humbly, asking her forgiveness for not understanding.

And, yet, motherhood, is experiencing the biggest smile in my soul, the kind that runs from my stretched cheeks to my toes, as I watch my son round home plate and jog towards his dad who scoops him up in celebration. An in-the-park home run caused this little boy to run to his dad, his coach with tears streaming down his face because, as he explained, “I was just so happy.” These days are what make motherhood, life, amazing; the constant swinging of the pendulum through guilt and relief and compassion to joy and feelings that I don’t even know how to describe.

But I want to try.

I’ve know for some time what I’ve wanted to do, but, honestly, I’ve been afraid. A few weeks ago, God stirred in me that desire again. I attended Hutchmoot with my best friend Wendy, and I fell in love with the story, God’s story. His amazing Creation. His love story told through the pages of the Bible, a story that doesn’t end with Revelation but is just beginning.

I want to tell part of His story; I don’t know what part or where I’m starting, but I want to tap into the creative spirit that He’s given me, that’s He’s shown all of us by every beat of our heart, each breath that we take.

In order to write, though, to capture these moments of life that point toward God’s bigger story of hope and redemption, I have to give myself permission to let go of my blog. I already haven’t written as much as I would like, and that fact hovers over me and actually causes me guilt and disappointment.

The fact is that I want to write without the need to hit publish. I want to write and continue to write and see where my story takes me, but I can’t unless I release this need to write in this space.

These words are hard for me to type because this place has been such a significant part of my life for the last three years. I have shared my joys, my struggles–most of my heart–right here. And while I don’t have a large following, I am very aware that I have a great following of some of the most loyal and faithful readers out in this strange and wonderful world of the blogosphere. I call many of you my friends even though I’ve never seen you face to face!

Thank you for sharing this journey with me, and, perhaps, one day I’ll have a more substantial work to share with you again. In the meantime, I’m sure I’ll visit this space from time to time as my kids always provide the best material–after all, if I don’t write about it, I”ll forget it. And since I don’t scrapbook, my writing really is the best record of my kids’ childhood that I can provide. And now that I’m freeing myself from this space, perhaps I’ll be better at visiting each of yours.

Please pray for me that I would have the discipline to keep writing. And please continue to pray for my family–especially now that I have two kids with mono (Caleb was diagnosed yesterday…I’m hoping my tiredness and headache are just allergies)!

Three years ago when my husband bought me this laptop, I was angry that he spent this money. However, now I can only thank him. He gave me a gift that I never would have expected by renewing my passion (But please, please, Matt, do not buy me another one…even if parts of  this laptop are cracking).

May God bless each of you as you continue on in His story….


9 thoughts on “I Have No Mercy for Kids With Mono and Other Tales”

  1. Loved this along with all your other blogs…..hate to see it go and hope you will continue from time to time!!!!

  2. I get this – all of it. But I'll still miss seeing you pop up in my inbox about once a week. Please keep us posted as your keep on writing. You do it so very well. (And listen to me – you want to hear about guilt? My son was 9, a happy-go-lucky kid not above manipulating me if he didn't feel like going to school. He played in band concert and limped a little entering and leaving the stage that night. The next morning his foot hurt and he had a little fever, so I 'gave in' and let him stay home. BUT I told him, he'd have to run errands with me and entertain himself. He dug an old crutch out of a cupboard and stuck it in the car and I thought, "Oh there he goes, being over-dramatic again…" I went to the church to practice a trio with slides that was happening the next Sunday – it was Advent. And I watched this kid crawl happily back and forth all across the balcony while I practiced. BECAUSE HE COULDN'T PUT ANY WEIGHT ON HIS FOOT. Hmmm., I thought, maybe I should get this checked out. So we went to see his pediatrician, a large, mama-like, very calm woman who always was very patient and almost blase about any ailment. Immediately, she said. "I don't like this at all. The pain in his foot coupled with the fever. I'm calling an orthopedist immediately." Chagrined, I piled him in the car, took him to that doctor (who came back from an office Christmas party to see him – and he said: 'Yep. Osteomyelitis. I'm admitting him to the hospital for IV antibiotics. Count on 3 weeks." SAY WHAT? This kid? The sloppy, strong-willed-but-never-angry-just-impossible-to-threaten one? Yeah. Thanks be to God, the doc guessed right on the IV med combo and he came home one week later, on Christmas Eve. But I STILL feel badly about that one. Oy vey.

    1. I will definitely give updates from time to time. I have just had trouble carving out time to write, and I found that if I didn't have an hour straight to write (what I typically need for a blog), I wouldn't write anything. I was afraid to let go of my blog, so to speak, because I didn't want to let go of my community of readers, but I realize now that if I want to try writing a novel, I have to put the blog aside for a little while.Thank you for sharing about your little boy. I had to look up the illness–I had never heard of it! It sounds like it could've been much worse, so your mom instincts kicked in just in time! I guess that incident made for a memorable Christmas. :)Diana, I always look forward to your comments. I am very thankful for your insight; no matter what I am going through, your perspective always gives me hope! Thank you for being a faithful reader!

  3. That's my daughter! Taking another giant step forward but I'm sure our little mons… Er, I mean cute kiddies will give interesting info that just beckons documentation in your blog. I'm very proud of you. Lisa and i were talking about you and she gave ME a great compliment…. That you and I are so much alike when it concerns achievement, challenge, etc. well, who knows, if I find the time to take a few courses in journalism we might just have "THE BATTLE OF THE WRITTEN WORD." (proper grammar will play no part in this challenge.)

    Love
    Dad

  4. I so appreciate your blog! It enlightens me, encourages me and most of all challenges me! You are wonderfully blessed with a God-given talent to reach right into the very hearts and souls of your faithful readers, several of whom have already commented! I too will miss you popping into my inbox. I will continue to look forward to those emails. May God richly bless you as you pursue your next writing. May God Bless you as you have richly blessed me!!!

    1. Angela, thank you for your sweet words! I am so glad that God was able to use parts of my story to encourage you. I'm finding that, really, most of our stories our quite similar–God gives us different challenges, but our human nature is more alike than not. I'm sure it won't be too long before I visit your inbox, but I hope that in a longer stretch of time, I will be able to say that I have something more substantial in the works!

  5. Jennifer, I will miss your blog! I often save reading it until I can sit back and enjoy it while sipping on a warm drink. It isn't unusual for me to pass it along to family and friends who are in the same season of life as you are, it encourages them. Thank you again for sharing yourself and your family with us. I hope to hear from you down the road….

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