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Team Family July 13, 2009

Posted by markgeil in Family.

When the kids are squabbling, I sometimes like to declare, “We’re all on the same team here!” Campy, I know, but the idea is sound: a family should work together, look out for everyone, and seek a common goal. Victory!

Well, I can’t get carried away, but it is nice when it actually works out that way. Like the other night. Or morning, actually. 4:13 am, precisely, since I can’t forget the blurry red numerals that so brazenly insulted my sleep. Rebekah, the youngest, was up with a tummy ache. A bad one, in fact, that had her crying and writhing and pitiful. It was the night before the day before Amy’s birthday, and therefore within the range of her annual multi-day birthday festival event, so I decided to try to take sick kid duty. I managed well, I think, until Rebekah finally decided she was going to throw up. (Sorry. These unpleasant details are necessary to make my point. Trust me.) I could have handled that, too, except that our children are hopelessly incapable of throwing up in the toilet. I even had this conversation with Rebekah:

“Do you feel like you’re going to throw up?”

(Weeping) “Yes.”

“Okay, let me help you to the potty.”

(Weeping) “But I don’t have to go!!”

It never once occurred to her that if she throws up in the potty, we don’t have to clean it up later! So, there I am, kid half-reclining on the floor, half laying on me, me holding the throw-up bucket, trying to manage. That’s when our kids’ other insidious throw-up problem surfaced: they’re all girls, and they all have this beautiful long girly hair that, during the throw-up process, rests gently and dependably in the throw-up bucket, with the throw-up. Ugh. That’s when I succumbed to my weakness and made the reluctant call for reinforcements. “Amy?”

Birthday girl sprung to action, doing that amazing one-handed pony-tail bobby pin thing that only females can do. Hair was properly relocated, kid was eventually moved to the aforementioned potty, and one crisis in a long night passed. Teamwork.

I eventually moved downstairs with Rebekah, who was feeling no better. Fortunately for me this was just abdominal pain, and no more toileting was needed. I comforted her as best I could and looked up the hours to the urgent care place. By about 7 am, her two older sisters wandered down the stairs. They looked at me, then at Bek, then I met their quizzical faces with an explanation. Without prompting, they sprung into action as best they knew how. They pulled out the craft supplies and quickly fashioned lovely homemade get-well cards. The purple paper and drawings and glue did little to comfort a moaning Rebekah at the time, but they sure made me smile. Teamwork.

The urgent care place finally opened, and we got Rebekah all straightened out. While we were there I fielded calls from the family checking up on the youngest member, and I was again gratified by the way the team was working together, placing a common goal about personal interests.

I’ve sometimes pondered that every wrongdoing, every sin, can be traced back to one thing: selfishness. When we place our own desires and ambitions above those of others, or of God, we’re headed for trouble. That’s why family teamwork is such a beautiful thing. It means each of us deemphasizes ourselves so we can emphasize everyone else. And it almost always means less trouble.

We need trials to see how we perform under pressure, and today, I’m proud of how my family performed through this little trial. I know another one will come soon enough, so I’ll keep up my campy coach-speak, just so we’re ready.



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