Friday, February 15, 2013


Somewhere around 1998 I had an MS relapse.  After three years of nothing, I decided to go see the doctor.  He prescribed to me one of three MS medications (there are more now, but these three were fairly new).  It was injected intramuscularly on a weekly basis.  That meant that a home health nurse had to come out to our house and teach me how to inject this medication into my body.

I felt very confident that my sweetheart would be able to do this for me.  But when the nurse came, she made me do the first injection on myself--she said Spencer could do it next week (lucky guy).  So with all of my little ones gathered around, I put a big needle in my leg.  It hurt (just sayin'), and out of instinct, I pulled back on the syringe a bit. That just meant that I had to stick it back in again.  (I never made that mistake again, lemme tell ya.)

It was a Sunday when all of this happened.  Later that day my mom called from California to see how it had gone and how I was doing.  When she heard that I had given the injection, she exclaimed, "YOU did it?!  Wow!  Big girl!"

It made me laugh, which was--BTW--exactly what I needed at the time.

I've thought about that many times, because in the end that "Big girl!" was exactly what I needed.  It wasn't that I needed to be told I was big or grown up, but that I needed to hear that I was brave. 

I've always tried to be a cheerleader for people.  It's easy for me, really, because I feel things intensely; so when someone succeeds, I really WANT to cheer for them.  But since the day of that first injection, I also want to be SPECIFIC about the encouragement and kudos I give to people.  Instead of just an "Atta Boy," I want them to know they are brave and strong and good and smart and kind and helpful; and sometimes they just need to know that I love them and that everything is going to be OK.