I hate puke. I hate to puke. I hate cleaning up puke. Puke and I are not friends…and that will never change. Can I get a “Holla”?

Random Junior High Confession: Parents were out of town. Friend and I convinced older teenager with fake ID to buy us wine coolers. Drank as much as my skinny friend. Woke up in middle of night needing to puke but pleaded with God to spare me just this once and let it come out the other end…and promised I’d never get drunk again. At that time, I really meant it. Had diarrhea all night. Next time I got drunk I puked. (My mom just read/heard this story for the second time in the last 25 years…sorry, Mom, as I’ve mentioned, I wasn’t/am not perfect…but I don’t get drunk anymore, so that’s a good thing (smiley face))

I’m not sure how it happens but no matter how hard we try to emphasize manners and clean table talk, bodily functions like puking, diarrhea, gas, and burping always emerge at the dinner table. Even the threat of “Manners School” doesn’t do the trick…for Em or Jason. Does this ever happen at your house or do you only discuss the beautiful weather and sweet baby animals at your dinner table?

On Friday I was volunteering at Em’s school, sitting in the hallway listening/watching/trying to discern/decipher short shadow puppet plays that the kids were expected to make up on their own. Really, I was trying not to punch myself in the face, if I’m going to be honest. It was grueling…literally. A whole lot of squeaky voices with virtually no plot, sequence, and way too much conflict.

Anyway, Em hadn’t had breakfast that morning because her “tummy hurt” and her throat was sore. For the most part, Em’s not a faker when it comes to feeling lousy, but since she’s not currently a fan of school, we’ve had to decide which “tummy aches” and “sore throats” are stress related and which ones are genuinely gut wrenching.

The problem was, she knew she had to go to school on Friday because her Nana was flying into town and then we were headed to Mary Poppins for girls night out.

Seeing as how I was enthralled in my hallway job of watching 3 second grade boys repeat their shadow puppet play seven times, I missed Em slip by on the way to the bathroom. I had already warned her teacher that she had told me her “tummy hurt” that morning and hadn’t eaten breakfast but that I couldn’t tell if she was just too excited about the days’ events.

Em came out of the bathroom as the group of boys was changing the name of their play and characters for the umpteenth time. She was a palish greenish whitish color…Em and I headed into the classroom and I told the teacher I was going to take her home, that she really didn’t look well…the teacher agreed wholeheartedly.

I had a meeting with Amy Sampson (Amy’s recently written a book and is doing a national launch where a portion of the proceeds on April 27th for purchases on Amazon.com will go to my non-profit organization, Bevy, Inc. more on that later) and Lauren Miller (who has also written a book, is an inspiring woman with a great will to live after she conquered cancer in the midst of a divorce) in a half hour and it had already been rescheduled, with the help of babysitters, so I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do, but obviously my sweetie girl was my priority. I called Jason. Jason had the day off, (thank you Compassion International for observing Good Friday) and had just finished up at the gym so he and I coordinated to exchange Emily in the parking lot where he was. I called the doc just in case to schedule a sick kid appointment because, with that face and her throat now hurting, I had a hunch. Jason would take Em home, I’d run to my meeting and then we’d meet at the doc in two hours.

Thankfully that morning I had grabbed a couple reusable grocery bags for running errands. But, of course, the ones I grabbed weren’t the “moisture proof” type, if you know what I’m sayin’. She kept saying, “Mommy, I don’t want to throw up. My tummy hurts. I hate throwing up…” What can I say? It runs in the family. I gave a bag to Em in the back seat and told her, “this is just in case…just in case.”

As we pulled into the parking lot next to Daddy…you guessed it…my sweetie girl puked…on the canvas Trader Joe’s bag and in the back seat of my friend’s car that I was borrowing! And, as you may have guessed, she felt a little better once that was over.

Long story short, we met up at the doctor’s office a little later where they did a quick strep test that quickly came back positive. She was put on antibiotics immediately and the color came back to her cheeks. She even had enough energy, like bouncing off the wall energy, to make it to her second viewing of Mary Poppins in her little lifetime. The first time she saw it was when she was a month shy of 3 while in London on business…well, she wasn’t there on business, of course. It was great and she’s been great ever since!

All this occurred at the end of last week…over the holiday weekend. Earlier in the week I had my second counseling appointment, but first with the new counselor. Changing to the “neutral” person made all the difference for me. It felt safe and I spoke completely unreserved.

I puked right there in her office. It felt great! Of course, I’m talking figuratively now, but the release of all that was in my heart and on my mind and in my guts…for years…was one of the most liberating things I have ever done. I realized that after being in women’s ministry for 20 years, even though I’ve talked with family and friends about this and that, I’ve always protected the identities and even defended the culprits in my life for the sake of sparing and protecting them. I’ve never had a neutral. Jason, of course, listens to my heart, but he’s a man so wants to fix and repair, which is okay, but not necessarily what my heart needs at the moment.

God has obviously known my heart my whole life and none of this is news to Him. He knows every hurt, every tear, every problem that I try to stuff down and ignore. He’s the Guy I go to first…and obviously He’s the One that cares the very most and does the heart repairs. The true healing.

But baby, talking to a woman that doesn’t know me or any of the people in my life was one of the most profound and therapeutic experiences EH-VER. Why more people don’t go talk to counselors, I don’t know!? I mean, they get paid to listen to whatever the heck you want to tell them. It was awesome!

Group counseling for grief was great, too, especially for learning others’ stories and having the comfort of not being alone. Being able to be completely candid for the first time in my life, without hurting another person’s heart or feelings, and without being judged…that was priceless. Hearing an outsider’s perspective and then getting a game plan was the best puke I’ve ever had…and I didn’t even need a bucket!



5 Responses

  1. This really hit home. Carli also has had the pukes over Easter weekend and I am such a proud mom to announce that she has hit that major milestone of being able to tell me exactly when she needed a bowl. It’s the little things, I tell ya! Thanks for sharing – purging in front of a total stranger might be just what I need too!

  2. I’ll give you a “holla”! I hate puking too…but it is great when you can do it with years of emotions and grief. We’re all for counseling too.
    Glad to hear that Emily is also feeling better after a case of strep.
    Continued love and prayes,

  3. Oh, holla, holla, holla. Thank the Lord we don’t have pukers in our family. Every once in a while. But my poor sister. Her kids get sick just looking at a trash can. Yikes.

    So glad you got to see a neutral counselor. And glad Emily is much better.

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