Wednesday, July 20, 2016


“Miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree on what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear.” --Lemony Snicket

Oliver with his best friend
Why is it that when I'm supposed to give a speech for 200 people, my kids try to kill me with one of their diseases? 

Months ago I was asked to speak on the "Miracle of Motherhood" at a fundraiser for Oliver's school. The week before the event, I hosted a virus convention in my body. Since my children are in three different schools, they each gave me a unique disease which morphed into an uber-virus, which subsequently brought me to my knees. Literally.

After a week of bronchitis, gastritis, colitis, laryngitis, and hepatitis*, my immune system went rogue and attacked my joints: arthritis. I woke up in the middle of the night and could hardly move my elbows, shoulders, hips and knees. I was in excruciating pain--so I hopped flopped into a hot bath. Mind you, it was 2 am and everyone was sleeping, so when I couldn't lift myself out of the bathtub, nobody heard my hoarse cries for help. 

I was stranded. Thankfully I'd given birth three times, so I knew that I could push through the pain. With the grace of a sea lion, I heaved myself out of the tub and crawled into bed.
"Tired" Cape Town Sea Lion.
Eric took me to the hospital an hour later. The medical staff spent the next couple days pumping me with Prednisone and anti-virals until I could walk again. 
Hospital entertainment.
Three days later I gave my speech about the Miracles of Motherhood.  I shared how each of my children was nothing what I expected, but I wouldn't trade them for the world. My voice was raspy, and my mind was buzzing from the steroids, but I pulled through.

The evening was fabulous, because I had the privilege of sharing my journey with the Jewish community who had welcomed Oliver into their school. That evening they showered me with love as well.

Last November I didn't have much hope that we'd find a school for Oliver.  We were discouraged when Eric and I met with the principal of this Jewish school. She was gracious, and I'll never forget when she said, "Well, we've never had a child with Down syndrome at our school before...but we've always wanted one!"  I burst into tears.  

She was the first school administrator in Cape Town to be excited about mainstreaming Oliver into a Kindergarten program. In turn, the staff, parents, and children at the school have warmly welcomed us. 

I couldn't have dreamed up a better situation for Oliver.

The teachers are very open with the children about Oliver's disabilities. Kids are smart--they know that Oliver is different, but I'm amazed at how, if you answer their questions honestly, they are nonchalant about Down syndrome.

Oliver has been invited to play dates and birthday parties. He loves going to school and can tell me everyone's name.  He has a full time facilitator who pushes him and keeps him on track--and he has a teacher or two who spoil him rotten.

This is why I wanted to speak at the school's PTA fundraiser.  I wanted to share how  my intellectually disabled child continues to be a conduit for divine intervention in my life. 

I mean, he's also an amazing conduit for germs too. But nobody's perfect.  

*viral hepatitis is only an inflammation of the liver.   


  1. Oh, Sarah. You crack me up, which is a valuable skill in this far-too-serious life we live. So sorry you were sick, so glad the steroids got you through the speech, and SO very thankful Oliver has a good school to attend. (Though of course I'd prefer you and all your germs come back to Lusaka...)

  2. Too funny! Just checking in on you and see this is old. Still, it's a funny story. Our children are all blessings in their own right. I love hearing Oliver is doing so well!