To Michaela’s Disliking

“Mommy, I don’t like this,” four-year-old Micheala whimpered, reaching for her mother. “It hurts.”
“I know, darling.” Her mother gently patted the frightened child. “It only hurts for a minute, though, and we’ll get ice cream after we leave.”
“It hurts bad, though.”
“I know, but it’s good for you.”
“You’re mean!” Micheala changed her tactics.
“Yes, I suppose I am, but we are still going to do this. It’s good for you.”
“Why?”
“So you can stay healthy and live longer.”
“Nice Mommies don’t do this to their little girls.”
“Yes, they do, all the time.” Tiffany held back a chuckle. “Besides, good mommies do this.”
“All good mommies?”
“Well, most of the good mommies make their children do this. It’s good for them, but some unfortunate children are allergic.”
“I’m ‘lergic, then.” Michaela proudly announced.
“No, Sweetheart, you aren’t. You would have had a reaction before this.”
“What if I get a raction this time?”
“RE action, Darling, and you won’t.”

After the ordeal was finished, Tiffany buckled a wailing Michaela into her car seat. “It’s okay, Sweetie, you are going to be fine.”
“That really hurt, Mommy! You are mean.”
“If I am so mean, why am I taking you to your favorite place to eat?”
Michaela stared out the window. “It still hurt.”
“Quit thinking about it, and it will stop hurting. It’s been long enough.”
“I can’t stop thinking about it, my leg really hurts.”
“Okay, I’ll tell you what – I’m going to take you someplace, show you something, and maybe you’ll understand why we have to do this. When we get there, I’ll take a look at your leg; make sure you aren’t having a reaction.”
“Where we going?”
“You’ll see.”
“Are we there yet?”
“No, it takes a few minutes; eat your fries.”
“They’re too hot. Are we there yet?”
“Not yet. Why don’t you close your eyes?”
“Can’t see out the window with my eyes closed.”

“Where are we?” Michaela asked as she clamored out of the back seat of the car.
“It’s called a cemetery. C’mon, I want to show you something, give me your hand.”
“What are these things, Mommy?”
“They’re called headstones; they mark where dead people are buried.”
“Dead people? You brung me to a place where dead people live?”
Brought me to a place where dead people live. And dead people don’t live, that’s just Hollywood.”
“I don’t like this, Mommy. It’s creepy.”
“Look over there, all those headstones?”
“I see lots of headstones, which ones you mean?”
“Come here, look.”
“Don’t let go of my hand, it’s creepy here.”
“I won’t let go of you, not ever. See these six graves? See how their last names are all the same?”
Michaela nodded silently. “Yeah?”
“Well, my precious little one,” Tiffany explained, lifting her child from the ground. “Your Grandpa’s Grandma had to bury six children, all within a year. These are her children, whom she loved as much as I love you.”
“Why did they all die at once?”
“Because they didn’t have the medicine like what was in your shot today. All six of these children died during a diphtheria outbreak. You get vaccines so you don’t get sick. I would be so very sad if something ever happened to you. Do you understand now?”
“Yeah, I guess, but can’t they make shots that don’t hurt so much?”
“Someday, maybe they will, but your now, you are just going to have to be brave and get your shots. I love you too much to let anything happen to you.”
“Okay, I’ll try.” Michaela rested her head on Tiffany’s shoulder. “But I still don’t like it.”

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