merging this spring from a cocoon of winter illnesses, I confidently prayed that the Lord would spare me disrupted nights for a nice, long while. There had been a couple of colds to deal with, and many nights of listening and soothing Baby Isabella as she struggled through bouts of coughing/runny noses each time a tooth popped out of her gums (she must have 50 teeth in that tiny mouth!).
We departed for a five-day trip in good spirits, and returned relatively unscathed. Parked in our driveway, the misery started as soon as we opened the car door and our oldest, Alessandra, sneezed. And sneezed. And sneezed.
Briefly, here’s what transpired during the next 45 days:
Day 1: Daughter jumps out of car, is immediately hit with a wall of tree pollen. I sigh, realizing that spring is in full swing—the air is full of allergens. We go inside and eat sandwiches for dinner. Baby is fine. Older one’s eyes are red and itchy. Sneezing continues past teeth brushing, prayers, and tucking in. Sleep occurs for two hours; next three hours comprise nose-blowing, crying, bathroom breaks, coughing. . . .
Day 2: Sleep happens from 3:30 a.m. to 6:15 a.m. Then the sneezing, et al., begins again. Breakfast is served, kids are strapped into car seats and dropped off at sitter’s home. I go to work, tired but optimistic that in a few short days all the trees will be done pollinating.
Days 3 Through Day 6: Same cycle.
Days 7 and 8:
Lots of night-waking to blow nose. Finally, I get smart and put the tissue box in bed with daughter. In the morning there is a mountain of barely used tissues strewn on the bed and across the carpet.
Day 9: Doctor’s visit. He confirms that she is suffering from seasonal allergies, healthy otherwise. Looking for comfort, I stop evening Bible reading plan in favor of studying the Psalms.
Days 10 and 11: Baby starts cutting a new tooth. Fever, coughing through the night.
Day 12: Not to be outdone, older daughter’s allergies morph into a cold. Lots of nose blowing, crying, etc. We are on our fourth box of antiviral tissues. I try to take 20-minute naps during meals. I continue to read, to hope. . . . I am comforted by Psalm 44, even if I see hints of irony in verse 23.
Days 13 through 27: Same cycle, one day of rain, five hours of sleep—cumulative—as I dash from room to room. I begin using a tissue box of my own.
Days 28 through 34: Progress! Daughter finally realizes she doesn’t need to wail for my assistance every time she sneezes messily. Baby’s tooth is out.
Day 35: Baby is worse, fever, lack of appetite. Older daughter suffers from the same. Doctor’s visit again. Antibiotics are prescribed. Psalm 77 helps as I struggle to remember His past workings.
Day 36: Baby is remarkably better. Older daughter marginally better, tissue piles in the morning continue to remind me of snow drifts. The cold I thought I’d beaten digs in its heels.
Days 37 to 42: Same old, same old. I battle a fever; so do the kids.
Day 43: Slept well (five straight hours). Both girls recovering nicely. Nose-blowing down to twice a night.
Day 45: Dare I hope? A night without congestion, whining, crying, coughing, bathroom breaks. . . . I rejoice with Psalms 94 and 136.
The summer arrived with hot temperatures—outside—and renewed energy for my family and me. As Isabella took her first precarious steps, and as Alessandra prepared for “big girl” swimming lessons, I realized that through all the strange days we’d gone through, the piles of crumpled tissues were a constant. But so was Christ. And what is a stack of Kleenex compared to Him?
Ellen White wrote: “The Son of God gave all—life and love and suffering—for our redemption. And can it be that we, the unworthy objects of so great love, will withhold our hearts from Him? Every moment of our lives we have been partakers of the blessings of His grace, and for this very reason we cannot fully realize the depths of ignorance and misery from which we have been saved” (Steps to Christ, p. 45).
So thanks, God, for crumpled tissues—and redemption.
Kimberly Luste Maran, an assistant editor for Adventist Review and Adventist World, is contemplating a Kimberly-Clark stock purchase.