Today our church had a "teddy bear picnic" where the kids were able to go and take a stuffed animal for a morning of crafts and snacks.
(WARNING: I am about to tell stories about throwing up. If such things offend or sicken you, either don't keep reading or at least turn your head away from the keyboard.)
Except that poor little A started the morning by puking all over herself, so she didn't get to go. It was, as puke stories go, a pretty good one. She was lying on the couch and I could hear her retching and I said, "SIT UP!" but she didn't and she puked on her own face. I felt simultaneously sorry for her and, I must admit, I thought it was sort of funny when she shouted "I got some in my own eye!" as I carried her off to the bathroom.
One of the things you quickly learn as a parent is that vomit is not as bad as you always thought it was. God has created the parenting experience to slowly teach you this. It starts with "spit up" which is another way of saying that the baby is puking up milk. But as puke goes it's pretty inoffensive.
Then one day you are across the room from your kid and you see that she's about to puke. And this bizarre urge takes hold of you to run toward her into firing range, to scoop her up and carry her to a place within the house that will be easier to clean. In fact, if you know it's too late to get her to a toilet, a sink, or some other surface made of porcelain, you cup your hands and try to get as much of the puke as possible onto yourself. The reasoning in the parental brain says, "I could spend hours cleaning vomit from that couch, or ten minutes cleaning it off myself." And this, so near as I can tell, is right thinking.
Anyway, when that magic moment finally happens, when you leap toward your child and let them slather their undigested giblets all over you, something wonderful happens. The Barf Fairy appears and says, "Now you are a True Parent." It's a nice feeling, and in the moment all you really think about is how bad your kid feels. You're sticky, and you stink, and that's okay if for one minute you could make your poor little girl's stomach ache go away.
Of course this is all followed with a great deal of showering in water too hot for a human being to touch on a normal day, and a lot of laundry. This is also followed with the dim certainty that you, yourself are now fated to be sick.
And you are right. One cannot entertain the Barf Fairy without receiving her kind attentions. She has hovered beside my bedside all this long day. Only this evening has she finally flittered away.
Fare thee well, dear Barf Fairy. I hope your journey to the next home is a safe and prosperous one.