When crappy things happen (oh, you know, like miscarriages, failed IVF cycles…those kind of things), I often wonder, "What did I do to deserve this?!" It was a hypothetical question, not one I ever asked aloud expecting any kind of logical answer.
My daughter had her four-year vaccinations a couple of weeks ago. Five vaccinations, in fact. Five syringes, five needles, and five brightly colored band-aids and a nurse who delivered all within five seconds. I was instructed to hold her hands down, but I knew if I had she would have panicked before the first injection was done, so I just rested my hand on her chest and leaned over her, filling her line of vision. It wasn’t until sometime between shot number two and three that she started to cry, the initial surprise of what was happening was washed away by the pain.
She looked up at me, her eyes glassy with tears that had not even had time to spill, and cried out, "What did I do wrong, Mama?!"
My throat tightened up, tears came to my own eyes and I used the palm of my hands to sweep away the tears off her face, brushing her fine, blond hair off her now hot and sticky skin. "Oh, baby. You did nothing wrong." How could I possibly reason with a four year old on the very day of her birthday, that I was doing this for her own good?
This weekend Aitch had a sudden case of the stomach flu and started throwing up violently and without warning. As she sat there with it down her shirt, in her hair, on her legs while I tried to contain it before moving her to the bathroom, she wailed again, "What did I do *dry heave* wrong, Mama? *dry-heave* What did I do?!"
Bad things happen to people who don’t deserve it, and most of the time there’s no answer to why. In Aitch’s case, if she was older she would understand the logic and science behind the vaccinations and a stomach virus, but by then other bad things will likely happen. The question will remain the same, but I still won’t have an answer.