By Jami Amerine
She looked pale.
Worse than pale.
She was clammy, sweaty and a greenish-translucent-walking-dead hue. I barked, “Good grief! For someone so smart you are so dumb!” I know, harsh. However, I was tired of arguing with her. Our 15-year-old prodigy daughter (no really, she’s a genius, we don’t know what happened) was deathly ill and arguing with me about how she had 4 tests she couldn’t miss and a dance performance at the football game that night.
I was trying not to completely lose it. I mean, for someone who can move things around the room with her mind, play the piano by ear, and solve for X, Y, Z, and CP3O – she was being entirely… stupid. Next to her Chemistry notes was a festering bucket of vomit. She was shaking all over, yet somehow she thought she would dance?
I threatened, “I am hitting send.”
She wailed, “Noooooooo!” and then she blew chunks into her bucket.
“Sorry sis, too late.” I mocked. “Even if you showed up, you wouldn’t have a friend left in the county, now everyone knows… you’ve been puking.” She mumbled something about working at McDonalds, Harvard, threw up in the bucket and before burying her face under the covers said something about how much she hated me.
How is this fair?
I was only trying to help her? Couldn’t she see that? What good is it to her to go take a test or tests when she was near death? I brushed it off, giving her the benefit of walking the tightrope between life and death. I felt bad for her, wishing she could give herself a break. Most of the day that was my prayer for her, why can’t she give herself a little grace? Did I do this to her? Did I raise her to believe, ‘even if I am staring the Grim Reaper dead in the eyes, I must trudge on!’
My answer to that question came the next morning.
I looked pale.
Worse than pale.
I was clammy, sweaty and a greenish-translucent-walking-dead hue. I could barely sit up. I was covered in a blanket of convulsions, unable to control the shivers. I would completely blackout, which was a welcomed relief but then be startled awake with stabbing pain in my abdomen. Nausea would assault, and I would vomit until I couldn’t any longer and then sleep for what would feel like hours, only to find it was mere minutes.
And in between delirium and unconsciousness, I berated my laziness. I lamented my inability to get the house in order. I stressed over the bills on my desk, the writing assignments that were due, and all the things I was neglected as I teetered between life and death.
Hmmm… I wonder where Sophie gets her unreasonable belief that the world might stop if she does?
Perhaps I haven’t verbally taught her to shame herself in her weakness, but I certainly have modeled it for her.
At this point, I was too sick to change anything about myself, but I submitted to the plague that was attacking my body. I hoped, that if I survived, I could have a conversation with my daughter about giving herself a break and taking care of herself. The world, outside forces, internal forces, habits, and goals shouldn’t ever be sources of shame. If I live… I am totally going to be much kinder to myself from this day forward.
Shame has no place in the life of this superwoman, there is no point in kicking her when she is down.
This is my battle cry… superwoman down.
Grace upon grace…
Jami Amerine and her husband Justin live on a ranch in Texas. They are active in foster care and currently have seven children. Jami’s first book “Stolen Jesus: An Unconventional Search for the Real Savior” launched in October 2017 with Harvest House Publishers. Jami writes about Jesus, life, and lunacy on her blog Sacred Ground Sticky Floors.
Follow Shame on Shanty and be entered to win one of the books in Shanty’s October pile which includes Jami Amerine’s Stolen Jesus and Varina Denman’s Looking Glass Lies. Winners will be drawn from blog subscribers and announced on November 2nd. US and Canada only.