In a gadget world we know the cost of many things and the value of few things.
It’s been a tough week. We’ve been sick. We’ve had bad attitudes, some of us more so than others. There has been too much to do and too little time in which to do it.
Our relaxing weekend schedule involved a Boy Scout banquet Friday and a basketball game Saturday for Soccer Boy, Odyssey of the Mind practice Friday night and all day Saturday for Dancer Girl, an out-of-town gymnastics meet Saturday afternoon for Gym Girl, a Friday night soccer coach’s meeting for Adventure Guy, and a Friday night and Saturday morning leadership retreat for Junior League for me.
And believe it or not, we had that all worked out, the plans checked and double checked. Friday night went off without a hitch, though Adventure Guy and I didn’t end the evening on the best terms since I sensed he was a bit less than enthusiastic about all the kid wrangling he was having to do over the weekend. We worked through it, though, and turned in for the night, alarms set for entirely too early for a Saturday morning.
But the alarm never went off. Because instead of the sounds of my favorite radio station waking me, I awoke to the sound of Soccer Boy crying in pain. He complained to Adventure Guy that his face hurt so bad, and as I slowly entered full consciousness and rolled over to look at him, I realized the entire left side of his face and neck was swollen and red.
Suddenly, all our plans, arrangements, and important commitments seemed meaningless. I couldn’t imagine what would cause something like this to happen overnight. It looked like pictures I’d seen of people with mumps, but Soccer Boy has had both his MMR vaccinations.
Adventure Guy immediately took Soccer Boy in to the emergency clinic, while I made some quick phone calls to change our plans. By the time I met them at the clinic, Soccer Boy had been diagnosed with parotiditis, which essentially is a clogged saliva gland. It’s caused by a virus but then leads to infection. He’s now on some heavy antibiotics and has strict instructions to eat lots of lemon drops as well as to apply heat a few times a day. Oh, and another interesting thing we found out is that one of the causes of parotiditis is indeed the mumps, so I wasn’t too far off in my worries.
All of these events transpired so quickly that, having been assured that Soccer Boy would be just fine in a few days, I went ahead to my leadership retreat. The speaker talked a lot about leadership styles and also about how to lead a successful life. One of the things that really struck me about his presentation was the quote above regarding knowing the value of things rather than focusing on the cost of all the gadgets that seem to clutter our modern lives.
And what I realized is that I’ve got to make sure that the cost of the “gadgets” that make up our lives–the meetings, the activities, the carpooling–doesn’t decrease my ability to remember that true value lies in the people we love and who love us.