I have two cure-alls for every ailment my children have:
~ Drink a glass of water.
~ Go poop.

“Mom, my head hurts!”
“You’re probably dehydrated. Drink a glass of water.”

“My tummy hurts, I don’t think I can go to school!”
“You probably just need to poop. Go to the bathroom.”

Granted, it doesn’t always solve the problem, but it works enough of the time that it has become my mama-mantra. Water-poop-water-poop-water-poop. But what if pooping is your problem to begin with? What if you have what my 5 year old refers to as “The Gravy”?

Easy. Drink a glass of water.

My 8 year old was plagued by headaches last year. We kept a little headache diary, trying to identify a pattern. Were they triggered by certain foods? At school? At home? Lack of sleep? Finally, I took her to the pediatrician.

“I think she probably needs to start by drinking more water,” she said. A medical professional with years of training and experience was echoing the very advice I’d been doling out for years! Validation! I became so confident that I began giving this sage advice to everyone who dared utter a complaint in my presence.

“My back is killing me, the doctor has said I have degenerative discs and I’ll need surgery,” says the man next to me at church.

“You probably just need to poop,” I reply. I can tell by his stunned appearance that I have just handed him a medical miracle. “You’re welcome,” I whisper and pat his arm.

I became a walking aid station; handing out bottles of water to people with rashes and poor eyesight, delivering cups of magic elixir to those with dandruff and chronic halitosis. I slip a Fiber One bar to young man on crutches, his left leg in a cast from toes to thigh. “Try to poop,” I wink.

Then one day, I was out shoveling snow from the front sidewalk. One slip and I found myself flat on my back, my leg twisted under me and a deep, sharp pain in my knee. My neighbor saw me fall and called to me, “Are you okay?” Unable to get up, I yelled from the sidewalk, “I need help!” She rushed to my side and I reached for her hand. Instead of helping me get to my feet, she stepped back and furrowed her brow.

“Hold on,” she said. “I’ll get you a glass of water.”