When the News Hits Home
“Well…guess we’re not going back there this year,” was the line out of my son’s mouth.
He stated it, rather matter-of-factly, as the news reported the latest in a series of measles cases. The outbreak, many of whose victims can be traced to exposure at Disneyland, suddenly brought home news events from the world.
Every year, usually, we tend to take off in the last week of March. The kids have no desire, nor do I, to get the sympathetic ramblings of people around us who are reminded that their mother, my wife, passed away on this day. It’s not to be mean, they mean well, but often it’s a reminder for them on one time during the year that Andrea is gone. For us . . . it’s the biggest reminder, but we have reminders all the time.
The first year, 2012, we went to Disneyland.
I took a stand about vaccination writing for Rene Syler’s Good Enough Mother almost two years ago and boy . . . did I get lambasted for it. The anti-vaccine parents came out en masse to express their dissatisfaction with my view. I get that…it’s my view and I made no bones about the fact that it was my opinion. I don’t foist it on my children, though they all got their vaccinations.
I never once, though, thought they should not get their vaccinations.
When my middle daughter came down with whooping cough some pointed to that as the fact that “the vaccines don’t work!” They were wrong, though. I knew, was told, and had read that she needed a booster at age 10. She wasn’t quite 10 when she got it. Had the community had what they called “herd immunity” there would have been no issue. The number of people around vaccinated would have prevented her or the number of her classmates from getting sick.
We get flu shots every year, too, since I have asthma . . . and since my daughter’s lungs are now hurt permanently by her bout with whooping cough. That means any chest cold can turn into pneumonia very quickly. That, in turn, freaks her and her siblings out since pneumonia was the main cause of their mother’s death.
So as the kids saw case after case come down from Disneyland – not the park’s fault, but there you go…the name’s out there – they resigned, all by themselves, that we weren’t going. Even they, seeing their father try to get healthier, their sister eating better, the house filled with homemade treats and little bought stuff…they don’t think the risk is worth taking.
“Well…you’ve have your vaccinations. I would bet by March they’ve sterilized everything,” was my response.
“Yeah…but there are things we haven’t done. Maybe we’ll do something else.”
They couldn’t have been more sincere, either. They were also quite angry. You see, the pictures up there show how happy they were. The anniversary of their Mom passing away could have easily been the most difficult day to contend with but instead they had fun. They ran around to exhaustion. They waited in lines, rode rockets, accidentally went on a roller coaster and scared the hell out of their brother – whom they told would not be jostled around. The more they thought about it the angrier they got that they couldn’t go . . . because some people brought measles to the park. I can’t pretend I don’t influence their thinking, they know my position and they know I believe that vaccination, no matter how you spread it out, helps more than hurts. They’re seeing the result of that firsthand.
“I don’t think it’s their fault,” I told them. “If they had it, I’m pretty sure they didn’t want to get it.”
“But we don’t want to go now. That’s just not fair! Why are the measles coming back?”
What do I tell them? It’s an accident? That it’s a freak of nature?
No…I tell them the truth. Measles has hit a lot of people and areas because a lack of vaccinations has made even more people vulnerable because measles is just that contagious.
Still, the secondary lesson they have begun to understand is that I’ve gotten myself and everyone else healthier for a reason. This just drives the point home. They grumble a little less when I say “no more cookies” and help more when I say we need to clean up the house. They hate shots…but now they accept they should get them.
Still…when the news cycle’s over…they’ll complain again.