Because of our transition from Scotland to South Africa, and then from South Africa to North Carolina, we knew the Bear was probably a little behind on his vaccinations. The Tank was following the South African schedule (every country does it differently) but we knew the Bear would need different things coming here for preschool, and never got around to getting him up to date before the move since we weren’t sure what was what, and I guess we had kindofalotgoingon.

Although the preschool was very gracious in allowing the Bear to venture in with my promise that we’d be taking care of his vaccinations soon, I felt like it was time to bite the bullet {where does that expression come from? Who bites bullets?} and get it done. I don’t fancy pain when it’s my own, but seeing my children in pain brings all kinds of strange discomfort my way.

After a sign in and a hang out and some paperwork and some more hanging out and some chatting with a little boy and his dad (neither of whom spoke English) in the waiting area, we were eventually called back, and a couple of nurses had some important news to deliver: the Bear needed seven shots. He wasn’t just a little behind.

He was still in the first 100 meters of his swim and this was a triathlon.

Call me what you want, {ninnymuggins?} but I felt like the best choice was to get it over with. I didn’t think the Bear would be interested in me dragging him back again the next week for more, especially since he’d know what was coming the second time around.


{Taken just before the first Bear Bear & G-pa outing a couple of weeks ago!}

My eyes were welling up as shot number one finished and the Bear was nothing shy of mortified. His last shot was too long ago for him to remember, so this was a new and wretched experience.

At shot two, things got interesting. The Bear wriggled an arm out from my grasp, grabbed at the needle to get it away from him, and in the process poked the nurse administering the shot. To put it dramatically (because this is a blog, people!)

My son stabbed a nurse with a syringe last week.

I had no idea it happened.

She continued to administer another in that leg and two more in the other, and then left at the pause before the last two vaccinations would poke the Bear’s wee arms.

After a few moments I asked the other nurse if the first one was coming back, and she explained that the first nurse was “rinsing out” and she’d be administering the last two herself. Otay.

So the Bear got the last two — more tears, more awful sadness, more me feeling wretched and full of remorse… and then it was done.

Only, it wasn’t.

We were back out in the waiting room, me consoling the Bear it was over, scrambling for something happy in my purse (thank you, lady at the bank for the lollipop last week!!!), just waiting for the printout of his updated vaccination records so that we could be on our not-particularly-merry way.

Only, we couldn’t.

The nurse said she needed to speak to me about something, and asked that I step into a side room, sort of a conference room, where the head nurse joined her. Since the Bear stabbed a nurse with a syringe that he had already been poked with, they requested permission to draw blood for testing to see if the nurse may have possibly contracted any infectious diseases from our darling three-year-old.

Oh, yes.

They mentioned some things about the nurse’s health and her job and you don’t have to do it, but we sure do wish you would but you can refuse you just let us know what is going to work for you.

They very hesitantly and gently made the request and repeatedly assured me of my right to refuse. By the end of the conversation I was emotionally beside myself. I’d had a Mountain Dew at lunch (special treat, whoo hoo), so my blood sugar had been on a big wave, ripping curl twenty minutes before.

I was now under water with sand in my teeth.

When I thought about this poor nurse who knew we’d just returned from South Africa and was probably very nervous and scared, my heart went out to her. But then I thought about this poor Bear whose Mama just promised him this drama was done. I didn’t want to be a liar.

We could’ve come back another day but did we want to?

Eventually I decided we would let them draw blood, but I first called Hero Hubs to ask his opinion. He asked a few good questions, which I asked them and then answered, and he agreed with the decision, and said he’d be on his way home from work right then. We decided to wait until he got there for them to take blood.

The Hubs was half an hour away but the time passed very quickly. Bear hadn’t the foggiest what was going on, but my heart was sore. When we took the Bear back through to the room for the procedure and he began to understand what was going on, he was very hesitant and I was very thankful HH had come.

HH held him still while they drew blood from his arm.

We had flashbacks to his circumcision, and his painfully clear blue eyes at two months old.

His eyes were painfully clear green this time, full of tears, and I had a million thoughts in a single moment.

The strangest thought to meet me there was thankfulness.

There are people who are sick, or whose children have chronic health problems, or have very painful or potentially terminal illnesses, and these types of moments are a routine part of life.

How fortunate am I that I’ve only seen this little boy in such pain twice in his three years of life? And praise the Lord for the blood he is able to give — healthy enough that this simple procedure will perhaps be a little sore tomorrow, but it’ll be over.

For the peace of mind {and perhaps job security} of a nurse serving the community, if I could reason it out for him plainly, he might make the same choice.

The Lord looked on while His Son shed blood for the good of humanity — and I wonder what His eyes looked like, how they could ever still hold compassion in the midst of such pain.

And praise the Lord He wasn’t my son.

I’m not Mary. And I don’t want to be.

My son gets to receive the free gift her son shed His blood for — and not just for peace of mind, but for peace of soul. That we could be at – one, the task of atonement completed.

Back in the lobby, two lollipops and thirty-some ginormous stickers in tow, the Bear was already recovering from the ride on the drama llama. A little sore and mopey the next morning, but fine at preschool and happy in the afternoon.

His Mama has renewed thankfulness for life, health, and the gift one Father was willing to give, the gift one Son was willing to pay for.

And though his thighs still look a little like pincushions, praise the Lord again, seven shots didn’t take down our Bear.