Trigger warning: Vomit.
Our oldest was up most of the night last night throwing up. She was not running a fever, so we are praying today it’s more something she ate than a bug of some kind. Becky stayed up with her, continually cleaning and emptying the receptacle kept by the bedside when sprinting to the toilet was a bridge too far. It’s a special thing, cleaning up somebody’s vomit.
Last night I was reminded of the first few months after our move to Vermont in fall of 2009. Because our house in Tennessee hadn’t sold (and still hasn’t, by the way, although that’s a saga for another time), Becky stayed there, keeping her job to help us keep covering the mortgage, while our girls and I made the long trek northwards. We were 9 long months apart, and it was heartbreaking for all of us. Our girls kept getting sick with various viruses and what-have-you in those months. It was bizarre and trying.
One night our friends Elder Dale and Mrs. Elder Dale were over keeping me company. The girls were already in bed. Our oldest wandered into the living room groggy-eyed to inform me that our youngest (who was in the top bunk) had thrown up her pepperoni pizza dinner (and more) all over the floor. From her prime position, she managed to get vomit on nearly everything.
And then something amazing happened. Elder Dale asked me, “How are you with this stuff?” I said, “Well, I’ve cleaned it up plenty of times but it’s always really rough. It’s all I can do to keep from throwing up myself.” Dale responded, “I’m pretty good with it.”
And then he proceeded to clean up my kids’ throw-up. And there was a lot of it. A lot of it on a lot of things. And this man who I’d only known for a few months cleaned up my daughter’s foul expectorant. It was at that point that I realized we were never leaving this church.
Elders who will clean up your kids’ vomit, who can find? They are more precious than rubies.