When I was young I loved Cracker Jacks. There was a store just down the hill from my house that used to sell the small boxes. The carmely corn was yummy, but I bought Cracker Jacks for the surprise.
Wrapped in red and white striped paper with the sailor guy on it, I loved the surprise.
Sometimes I would get the magnifying glass, that was my favorite. More often than not, I’d get the tattoos, I think the majority of prizes were tattoos and they were fun. I had a collection going for a while.
Every now and then, I would get the little plastic Indian or cowboy. They were awful, boring and usually had plastic fringe that made them look really cheap. I never wanted to get the plastic Indian.
Thankfully, it didn’t happen often. Most of the time it was a yummy snack and a cool surprise.
I’ve spent the last two and a half weeks with my daughter in the hospital.
She had an infection that spread quickly and seeped behind her skull. They needed to do sinus surgery and intracranial surgery to remove the infection. This is a little girl that starts every annual trip to the doctor asking me if she’s going to get a shot. She’s been sick only a handful of times in her life and never anything serious.
I explained to her that this was really serious stuff and she needed to be brave. She listened. While we were in the hospital Maggie kept tallies. She had 6 MRIs, 2 CT Scans, 6 IVs, 1 Spinal Tap, 1 Sinus Surgery, 1 Intracranial Surgery, and…14 pokes with needles.
Maggie has always been an exceptional child, unique in her own way. But now that we are home and she is healing, I can honestly say she is the bravest person I know.
She asked a million questions of every specialist that came in to examine her. She approached everything with a courage seldom found in adults, let alone 11 year olds. Maggie certainly had her down days, but she stayed the course, did what every doctor told her to do and she is home and on her way to healthy.
A few Wednesdays ago, we had just returned from a camping trip. Maggie was looking forward to her last week of school, summer camp and swimming. Instead, she will need to be on IV antibiotics for another four weeks at home and can not be in the water.
We all asked the doctors how this happened. They all replied, “Bad Luck.” Maggie pulled a plastic Indian.
It’s been difficult for her. As her mother watching and helping her get through this, it is clear that life can not always be magnifying glasses and tattoos, even when you’re 11.
Sometimes, no matter what you do, you pull out a plastic Indian. The key, I have learned from Maggie, is to fight through it, take a lot of deep breaths and focus on the next box of Cracker Jacks.
That’s all from the laundry room. Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite.