Let me tell you about our last two winters as a family. In case this is your first time encountering our story, my son Mighty Manny has incredibly complex medical needs due to being born at 23 weeks and spending nearly 11 months in the hospital. Learning to manage his care has indeed been a struggle for us, even with excellent doctors and a care team. His first two winters home, we spent at least two weeks in the PICU with Mighty Manny every flu season. But not this year. You know why? Jesus, daddy, and mommy are on the job like white on rice.
As a preemie mom, I have to go above and beyond to protect my little one. Here are some of the things I’ve put in place to keep my son healthy and safe this flu (AND coronavirus) season:
PRAYER. Prayer, prayer...and then summo’ PRAYER. God has blessed our family with a unit of solid prayer warriors. Once upon a time, I kept all my prayer points and issues to myself. Now, the moment I hit a stumbling block, I immediately look to my friend group and spiritual mentors to find someone who can agree with me. This is because I've learned that sometimes, it takes the prayer of the multitude to cause a shift.
2. Supplemental Nutrition
Elderberry, fresh garlic and ginger water flushes, and vitamins. We in there. I think the third year of motherhood is when you find your stride to understand even subtle changes in your child’s affect, mood & behaviors. Due to having over 13 surgeries, Mighty Manny has become accustomed to high levels of pain. Meaning, it takes a lot for my son to cry or carry on. I have learned to study for even the slightest temperature change before going all-in with Elderberry, Vicks bathroom steaming sessions, a whole lot of Vicks vapor rub on his chest, the use of essential oils, and immediately visiting the doctor to rule out any infection. I go 'balls to the walls' because hanging out at the PICU is for the birds (you have to be at least 30 to get that line). I have also realized that many ailments can be addressed at home if we are attentive and aggressive.
3. Everybody Gets A Mask
Listen. I took it upon myself to stock my home with masks this winter. I wonder why I didn’t do this from day one. There is too much going on. You know how the saying goes, "Better safe than [safe]" (may you never be sorry and live with regrets, in Jesus' name, amen). Yea, the minister in me, came out with that last one.
4. I Protect His Energy
Many people in our circle don’t realize this about our family, but we don’t accept clothing items as gifts for my son. Biblically speaking, garments carry a certain level of grace (Think Joseph, Aaron, Elijah, and Elisha). Due to my experiences early on in Emmanuel’s life, our family decided not to accept any clothing items as gifts. Everything else comes subject to the “anointing” when it enters our home. 🙂 Some call it superstitious; I call it “gift cards and developmental toys only, please." I am infamous for taking gifts that are clothing and either giving them away or going back to the store and exchanging them for the identical one, so I spare our loved ones' feelings. I also carefully observe anyone I allow to care for or have access to him. He is not for everybody. Period. Love him from the family group chat photos, please. For real.
5. ”Wipe Me Down.”
"Shoulders, chest, pants, shoes." LOL! Again, you had to be in the club circa 2008 to understand that last reference. Sis, wipe those surfaces down with disinfectant. I admit, even I don’t always remember this. But it is mission-critical this year!
At the end of the day, I feel entrusted to steward my little one's life and have learned to not care about what anyone thinks about the way I go about doing it. I love being able to share Mighty Manny’s story to inspire other families, but when it comes to real-life access to my baby (I’m working on calling him my son and not “baby")...some people will have to buy the book. I am also super grateful for the mommy mentors who share all their health tips with me. They are so marvelous.
In case you are interested in trying any of the winter health and wellness items I mentioned above, here is a quick list:
Stay safe and healthy.
Love you, boo!
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