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The Nickel

By Guest Writer: Melissa Ann Dimick Waller

I was outside in the garage working on a piece of furniture that I was refinishing when my husband stuck his head out in the garage. “Neither of the little two were napping, so I told them they could get up from their nap. I’m going to run to Costco.” Husband left, I came inside to wash my paintbrushes.

“Hi mommy!” My two year old daughter said. “I threw up in my bed.”

What?? Gross. Ugh. Why?

“Did you tell Daddy?” I asked her.

“Yeah, he didn’t hear me though,” she said.

I started feeling annoyed. Annoyed that Husband didn’t hear her and left for Costco and now I have the joy of cleaning up the throw up. Annoyed that she didn’t make it to the bathroom. Annoyed that I have been stuck in my house for what feels like 15 years with the Coronavirus. Just annoyed.

I send a snippy text to Husband about the throw up then go upstairs and carefully take her things off the bed so as to not drop any of the throw up all over the floor. I carry it down to the kitchen sink and start rinsing the small piles of barf off of her quilt. The annoyance continues to grow as I start to find new reasons this is someone else’s fault. I move on to the next pile of throw up and at the very bottom of the small pile of vomit is a nickel. In that moment, my world shifts. Tears of thankfulness begin pouring down my cheeks. Suddenly this very throw up that I was annoyed by and feel agitated over I am suddenly deeply thankful for to the very core of my being.

In that moment I know with every fiber in my being that the only reason my daughter is alive and breathing is because of these small piles of throw up all over her blanket. During nap she got some coins out of her piggy bank and put one in her mouth and began to choke on it. Instead of not being able to breath, she threw up. The only reason my daughter is still here is because of the throw up. If I could choose, I would literally choose to clean up throw up every single day of her life than to find her stiff and blue at the end of nap.

Hard things happen in life. They just do. But what if….what if the hard things that happen in life are to replace the even harder thing that COULD have happened? What if that gut wrenching thing that I am going through right now is happening so that the even worse thing DOESN’T happen? What if, the nickel in life isn’t optional? But the throw up is one choice and the possibility of no throw up is another option? What would happen if instead of looking to place blame, anger, resentment, and hostility I could have an eternal perspective? What if I could see the other choice I would have been given if I didn’t have the throw up? Would I become more thankful for my life? Would I learn to count my blessings instead of my problems? Would I find the little annoyances in my life less annoying? Would I be able to turn my life over to God more often and easier? Would I have peace? What if I could understand that in every pile of barf, there was a nickel? I would be changed.

By Karen Dimick

As a mother of five, a grandmother of sixteen and a teacher for over 40 years I have been interested in writing about topics that relate to children and education for some time. During much of that time I dabbled in writing and did some work as a freelance writer, and then published my first book in 2009, Don’t Get Mad, Get Busy! A Handbook for raising terrific kids!” This blog was born of that endeavor as a way to promote my book and share my thoughts and ideas about topics I felt were important for parents, children and their education.
In 2010 I embarked in one of the most challenging teaching experiences I have ever had, short of the full time job of raising my own children; teaching early morning seminary. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon Church) I am a part of a lay ministry in which we lead and teach one another. Part of our educational program for the youth of our church includes a 4 year seminary program for high school students. Here in OC, CA classes are taught at our local church buildings before school begins, beginning in our area at the unearthly time of 5:45 am. So, for 4 years I spent much of my time studying, preparing, getting up early and catching up on sleep while serving as an early morning seminary teacher. It was a wonderful, difficult, and rewarding experience, but after 4 years I was ready to have a bit of my time back. With my release from that position I had time to resurrect this blog and once again return to writing about topics that I find important to the growth and development of children.
My experience and expertise comes not only from my experiences as a parent, teacher and writer. I also hold a degree Early Childhood Education, a BA in Psychology, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, an Education Specialist Credential and a Master's Degree in Special Education. I currently work as a Resource Specialist and Special Education teacher working with middle school struggling readers, students who have difficulties in math as well as students with organizational and assignment completion difficulties.

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