I am tackled by a flushed and freckle-faced little pixie as I enter the lobby to pick Reilly up from dance class. She beams up at me, eyes sparkling.
It takes everything within me not to let the building tears stream down my face.
She is simply unaware of the stress and anxiety I have been holding secret in my heart for the long weeks and months of late.
I do not want to give myself away.
Tucking her into bed a couple of hours later, she giggles and showers me with kisses.
All the while my thoughts remain constant:
“So there you are, sweet baby. There’s my Reilly-girl.”
It is overwhelming.
And so very gratifying.
As this year has progressed, we had noticed that Reilly seemed a little withdrawn. With all of the ups and downs that our little family has been through over the last several months, Bryson and I had believed it to be a natural reaction to her medical issues and all of the changes that a new baby brings to a familial dynamic. We were troubled by this change in her demeanor, but thought it was a phase she would eventually emerge from. It wasn’t until we received a phone call from a concerned teacher that we were confronted by the true reality of the situation.
She had become aggressive, even borderline violent toward some of her classmates. On the playground she had screamed relentlessly at a group of children, not even flinching when a teacher approached her.
This was not our Reilly.
Immediately I knew something deeper was at work here.
Something was very wrong.
Racking my brain for possible variables that could create such a drastic change in temperament, I was coming up with more questions than answers. My mind went to dark places, and worries of more sinister causes plagued my thoughts.
Knowing He would know better than I, I opened my heart and pleaded with the Lord.
Please, please… Please let us know how to help our sweet little Reilly.
And then something happened that almost never does in my own personal experience.
The answer came immediately.
It is her medication.
With that, I snapped my head up and looked at Bryson.
“I think it might be Reilly’s medicine.”
After a call to her care provider at Primary Children’s Hospital, we soon learned that in rare cases there had been incidents of irritability and other emotional difficulties associated with one of the medications she takes twice daily. For the last couple of weeks she has been completely off the suspected culprit, and the old Reilly is starting to reemerge.
Laughter fills our home again.
Smiley Reilly is back.
The contrast between this week and the events of late has been so striking, so dramatic, that I am taken with how unaware we were through it all. Of how low our poor little girl had sunk before we truly took notice.
This incident brought the story of Lehonti from the Book of Mormon to my mind. (See Alma 47.) Poisoned “by degrees,” he meets an untimely end that might have been altogether avoided had he been more aware and perceptive.
How often do we fall into bad habits, or forgo good habits that we know are crucial to our well being– be it physical or spiritual? Little things creep into our lives that don’t seem like such big deals– and subtly they begin to change us. And then one day, we wake up and don’t recognize the person we see in the mirror.
I am reminded of a beloved sermon President Gordon B. Hinckley gave while I was in college many years ago. He related the following story:
Little things do matter.