I left the social services office with a very heavy heart. I knew from my years as a police officer that a lot, a whole lot, of bad stuff happens to children. In fact, seeing so much of that was one of the reasons I decided police work could not be a career for me. But seeing it again at the social services office had no less of an impact than when I was an officer.
During the meeting with Corey’s social worker, she told me that the health department, just two buildings away, might have H1N1 shots available. My children have appointments this coming Monday for their shots, but I have not been able to find one yet. So, I decided to give the health department a try.
As I approached the building, I noticed a father and his twenty-something daughter also heading into the building. The daughter had some obvious physical disabilities – I would guess cerebral palsy – but she was able to walk, albeit very slowly and carefully, next to her father. The almost vacant, innocent look in her eyes and the expression on her face led me to believe that she also had cognitive impairments.
They entered the building ahead of me, and once greeted by the receptionist (and I use the term greeted very loosely), the father said, “My daughter, Louella, needs a flu shot.” The receptionist said, “We are only giving flu shots to pregnant women. Is she pregnant?” Louella’s father said, “If I say yes, can she get the shot?” The receptionist said, “Like I said, we are only giving shots to pregnant women.” Louella’s father said, “Well then, she’s pregnant.”
Louella seemed to find this exchange quite funny, and when she looked at her father and grinned, the room seemed to light up like the sun bursting forth after a week of rain. Her father returned her gaze and the love in his eyes seemed to say, “Don’t worry Baby Girl – Daddy will take care of you.”
The nurse was called to administer the shot. Louella stood very still and strong while her father wrapped his arm around her waist. He thanked the nurse when she was done, and I swear, if he had a hat on, he would have tipped it.
Louella’s father offered her his arm. She linked hers in his and they left the building. I knew I wasn’t going to get a shot that day, so I left after them. As they were walking back to their car, Louella’s father said, “I love you, Lou.” She looked at him and I knew he understood that she was communicating similar feelings.
As they pulled away in their car, I noticed their license plate. It read, “ILOVELOU”.
Today I am thankful that when my heart is heavy, God chooses to lighten it with a very special message.