Surgery for Mama, and no ice cream for Papa

Daughter Amanda had surgery recently. Her recovery requires stringent restrictions to allow full healing. No twisting. No bending. No vacuuming. No several other things. Worst of all, no lifting. Not a grocery bag, not the family cat, not a load of laundry. Not even one-year-old Ezra. Nothing heavier than a water glass for six weeks. And for months beyond that, minimal increases. Complete healing could take up to two years.

Try that with a family of six children twelve and under. Lifting even a pot of food for eight is forbidden. The three eldest beans help well with their three younger siblings. And the grandson at the top of the bean-chain, Benjamin, keeps reminding me that since he took the course, he is now a certified babysitter. He can fry pancakes, make eggs and heat soup.

The Preacher and I stepped in, as all nearby grandparents do when their children need them. We also prayed much, but concern niggled at me. My work schedule and my husband’s health limitations would prevent us from supplying all the help needed, especially preparing meals.

But I needn’t have worried. God sent (and continues to send) angels of mercy. Some have cheerfully joined the meal train, some through a helpful website ( designed to easily set up and schedule the assistance of willing volunteers and friends.

At least three times weekly, church family, friends, but also complete strangers began bringing in a family-sized meal. Angel food, all of it. Particularly the dessert dropped off by caring church friends one afternoon – a one-gallon tub of ice cream. Their favourite brand. My son-in-law (likely salivating) put the tub in the freezer.

The youngest children hadn’t seen the bucket, so Benjamin explained (probably salivating himself) the afternoon delivery. “Neopolitin! Chapman’s! THREE flavours!”

“No, Benjamin,” Kendall corrected. “Only two – chocolate and white. I put it away.”

“Papa,” explained Benjamin (I love the name he uses for his father), “I saw it. It’s neopolitin.” Some of the girls agreed.

The debate strung on long, all in good nature, with plenty of laughter from the rest. Finally Kendall said. “Tell you what, Benjamin. How bout if I’m right, you don’t get dessert tonight. But if you’re right, I don’t get dessert.” Benjamin agreed.

“After supper, I opened it up,” Kendall told me later, “and I saw pink.” Laughter filled the kitchen. “Daddy was wrong! Daddy was wrong!”

They spared him no mercy. Papa had no dessert that night. The beans laughed all the way to our house to tell the story. But Amanda told me later that after they’d gone to bed, “Kendall REALLY enjoyed his bedtime snack.”

Tonight I thank God for good surgeons and hospital staff. For our daughter’s ongoing recovery and our son-in-law’s humour. For caring friends who give of themselves so healing can happen. For ice cream that fills up the belly. And especially for belly laughs that merry up the heart.


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