WE NEARLY RAN OUT OF saltine’s, ginger ale and Lysol over Halloween weekend.
My youngest son vomited on my husband at a pre-sunset Halloween party; my oldest son vomited in our kitchen sink 5 minutes after he got home from trick-or-treating; and my middle son got the whole ordeal started 48 hours earlier by stumbling into the bathroom around 3:30 a.m. to do this nasty, splashy business 2 inches from the porcelain rim instead of 2 inches inside of it.
He then stepped in the mess.
“Ahhhhhh! Freeze, Andy!” I shouted, still half-asleep and bewildered by the bug’s first strike on our family.
This son, my first grader, then just shivered and wept uncontrollably.
“Mama? Do you still love me,” he sobbed as I stood in my nightgown wondering what to mop up first.
There I curled up feeling wretched, racked, and worried about how I would ever take care of my three young boys and write my stories for work with my husband gone all week on a business trip.
I am not the only person to panic when health and wellness vanish.
Lots of people feel that way, feel that open-ended sense of being powerless and stuck — be it in illness, unemployment, a dead-end marriage, a checkered past.
Oh, what to do?
The black and white options include: a.) chronically panicking and complaining about challenging circumstances or b.) expressing thanksgiving for one thing and then moving on to more things.
Practicing thanksgiving may not buy robust health, financial stability, dreamy marriage or an expunged criminal record.
However, like rungs on a ladder, this discipline guides me out of the basement for a looksee at what else is going on besides my problem.
Perhaps this is why November’s flagship American holiday remains as uncontroversial as Arbor Day.
We need this fall celebration to ground us — people all subject to reversals of fortune — in the reality of what we can control.
I would not wish our Halloween weekend on anyone.
But just before the pageantry of the holidays from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day begins, my time offline from usual routines renewed my appreciation for the beauty of marriage vows — “… in sickness and in health…”
The familiar phrase reminds us, no matter our marital status, of human frailty.
We can count on that in many forms. How thankful am I that we can count our blessings, too.