The Troutdale Plague

Audrey Rae, Braxton, and Charlotte,

Make it stop.

Seriously, just…make it stop.

It’s been weeks, maybe even months, since our whole family has been healthy. At first, I thought it was just us, that the Valdez family had become a living entity of illness, that viruses came to our home to thrive, grow, and go back into the world stronger than ever.

But even as we healed, others started getting ill, and it has been dubbed the “Troutdale Plague”. Heavy head colds that last two weeks. Stomach flu. Sinus infections. Pink eye. All of these illnesses have come through our town, and not just one per person, no. I personally had three of those four, your mom as well. Charlotte, you decided to add a double ear infection to the list, and you’re the one that’s still sick now, as your mother and I pray that the rest of us stay healthy.

There was a time that all five of us were sick. Your mother and I were trying to balance resting and healing our bodies while also maintaining all of your needs. At any moment, any of the three of you might vomit, cry, have a face streaming with mucus, or just want comfort in a painful time.

The struggle was that at any moment, your mom and I felt we might do the same things. We were all struggling equally, but the burden of care rightly falls on parents. Your mom and I did all we could, but it was a difficult few weeks.

I remember being a kid and thinking to myself that my parents should be able to get me through anything. If I’m sick, they can make me well; if I’m scared, they can provide protection; if I have a problem, they can help solve it. But now, being here and seeing you three look to us with the same expectation of being able to provide a remedy to your suffering, sadly all we can do is give some medicine and suffer right next to you. This fact made it a priority for me to make something very clear to the three of you:

Your mother and I are human.

That’s right, adults are just people. People who get sick, people who struggle, people who have times where they just want to curl into a ball with Nyquil, a hot cup of tea, and binge watch Netflix. There are times that we don’t know what to do or how to handle a situation. There are times when we’ll be exhausted or sick and honestly just won’t be able to make you dinner or help with schoolwork. There will be times when we’re just having a bad day and we may have a bad attitude.

We aren’t superhuman, we’re just people that are doing the best we can to love you completely.

Yes, we have plenty more experience than you, and yes, we will most often know exactly what to do. But for those few times when we’re sick, when we’re hurting, when we’re struggling, know that we could use someone to make us soup and give us a hug just as much as you do when you feel that way. We could use a hug and words of love just as much as anyone else.

We’ll always do everything we can to love and support you three, but please know that we’ll need love and support too, sometimes.

We love you kids.

1 Corinthians 1:4



  1. Have any of your kids shown to have a strong sense of empathy during this? I always find it interesting when I get sick to see caretaker qualities come out in the youngsters.

    1. Definitely. Especially the oldest. She wanted to help give medicine and get blankets and whatnot. It was very cute.

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