Field trip prep
It has never been my job to administer medication as a teacher. But, whenever I planned a field trip for a group of students I would meet with the nurse at my school to complete any necessary training. The goal was to make sure I was prepared with a medical bag to meet all of the needs while we were away. I loved the nurse but I dreaded the medication bag. I felt such a heavy worry knowing that I had inhalers, EpiPen’s, and medication that had to be remembered and used correctly at designated times or in emergencies. This meeting led me to applesauce on a spoon.
Applesauce on a spoon
If I had not planned one particular trip with one particular group, I would not have been in that office at lunchtime to see how medication administration worked for one student who would be attending. The nurse explained to me that the student had a certain way of taking the medicine. She wanted me to see how to do it so I would understand. The medicine wasn’t simply swallowed. I would need to open the pill, sprinkle the tiny dots of medicine onto applesauce on a spoon, and then cover it with more applesauce so it would look just like applesauce only. The student entered and we went through the process together so I would know just what to do when the time came.
6 years later I’m in my kitchen, every morning, with a little spoon. I squeeze some applesauce on it. I open a pill, sprinkle tiny dots of medicine onto the applesauce. Then, I cover it with more applesauce so it looks just like applesauce only.
Preparing my heart
I’m telling you – I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t imagine that I would ever be doing this ritual act of so carefully separating the pieces of the pill to keep the tiny dots from scattering all over the place. It was never what I would have chosen, but God already knew. And he was preparing my heart 6 years before in an office with a nurse who was gentle and patient, loving, encouraging, and filled with faith, and a student who was amazing despite the incredible challenges faced.
I sat in a lot of IEP meetings over the 14 years I taught in public school. I sat with parents of my students as they cried. I couldn’t see it for my own life. There were no thoughts that I would be in the other seat, that I would be the one crying in the parent teacher conference.
Ground me & help me get up
The patience I gave to so many students doesn’t always come so easy at home with my own children. The grace I gave to other parents I don’t so easily give to myself. I was blessed to form relationships with wonderful guidance counselors over the years in every school I worked in. They helped me know and understand the importance of mental health. God was situating me for what I didn’t predict. He was doing a slow work in me so when I found myself on the floor with my own child I would have something to both ground me and help me get up.
Some might say my applesauce on a spoon was a coincidence. It brings to mind the Einstein quote: “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
I believe in God because I feel Him and see His hand in my life, not because things are easy or the way I wish they were. I believe not because I’ve read the Bible, not because I sat in church, not because other people told me to. Those other supports are vital but we all know that no one can make you believe anything. No one can know and see all the times God showed up for you when you were at your lowest. We like to hide those low times. We don’t want to be a burden. I believe because I can see where He went before me.
I was pulling wet clothes out of the washing machine yesterday and there it was – a memory slammed in front of me of applesauce sprinkled on a spoon. I’ve been sprinkling applesauce every morning now for 8 months. This never hit me until a quiet moment in the laundry room.
Thank you God. It isn’t what I want. It isn’t what I imagined. In no way would I ever have chosen our morning routine. I have struggled with it for a long time. But, there is no doubt you prepared me and molded in me a greater compassion for others. You gave me a greater ability to be the mom my daughter would need. Even when I didn’t realize it, you were there in the nurses office. You were there in the middle of the toughest fits when I had to hold my little one down against her will to keep her safe. You are here in this kitchen every day as I sprinkle applesauce on a spoon.