37 Days 'Til 40 (Little Notes)

My daughter Masana is fond of leaving me little notes. The one to the left was scribbled on a page from her dictionary. Masana wanted to point out the second word "retch" which she felt described her brother Mack, his strong gag reflex, and his bad sense of timing. (The words on the left side read "Mack = retch.")

Mack has a slight problem swallowing pool water, so we normally cannot swim for more than 20 minutes at a time or else he vomits. During a recent trip to Florida, Mack threw up in the hotel pool an hour before we had to check out, which made Masana incredibly mad. In her opinion, Mack once again spoiled everyone's good time. I don't think she's forgiven him, and I get the feeling that she has cataloged every instance of Mack throwing up in a pool and us making a premature exit.

When I first discovered the note, it was 7:00 am and I was in full get-the-kids-to-school mode. I briefly read it and erroneously concluded that Masana felt her brother was retarded. (The words on the top read "look what I found" with an arrow pointing to the definition of retarded.) It wasn't until I confronted her at the end of the day that I realized my mistake, which came somewhat as a relief. Masana calling her little brother retarded in such a clinical way seemed cold. It's one thing to name-call to his face, but it's another thing to find the definition in print, rip it out of the dictionary, annotate it, and then submit it to your mother as evidence.

But Masana felt the need to show me the word retch--and to equate it with Mack. She must feel overshadowed by the spectacle that often surrounds Mack when he tosses his cookies (and hamburger and fries), how Dave and I rush around to help him and clean up the mess.

Mack has also been to the emergency room about 7 times in his young life for various illnesses, most of which are related to his food allergies or asthma. There was a time when he looked sick for an entire year, and to conjure up the image of my poor little guy with scabs all over his bony frame gets me choked up. So when he vomits, I can't help but react as if he's sick. He may not really be sick, but I can't tell the difference immediately.

How unfair that Masana must suffer the trials and tribulations of being the healthy one in the family. I often take for granted that she's never sick.

Masana left me these other notes:

I love you, too, Masana. More than a DS!