The Natalie & Alice Fish Story

We are the Fishes. In 2011 two of our five children; Natalie and Alice were diagnosed with a rare gene disfunction called Leaky SCID (Severe Combined Immune Deficiency). Their condition is so rare that only two cases are reported in the U.S. each year. Both girls have endured much, and have spent most of their young lives in and out of hospitals due to common illnesess a healthy immune system would overcome. The required treatment for our girls is a bone marrow transplant.
Although the new marrow could mean a normal life for them, it will be a long and arduous road. This blog is to share our experience as parents and the courage of our children.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ice Cream and My Little Brother

I wanted to write this cute little story of Matthew and Blair in my journal, then I remembered that I haven't actually written in my journal for months because it's all on this blog, so instead I am posting it in the blog.  This journal/blog involves the whole family anyway.

Some days ago I asked Matthew if he could help me deliver some ice cream as a thank you to a sweet family down the way.  I knew that he knew the way to their home and was confident that he would complete the task.  I was anxious to give him this responsibility as he was wiling and ready to follow through.  He put the ice cream in a bag and secured the bag over his scooter handle....ready to go!
 As he was preparing to leave I asked if he would be able to take Blair along.  He agreed so,  I sat him down near his bike and gave him three very clear and important instructions.

#1 No matter what, DO NOT let Blair leave your close proximity. (I explained it in a way he understood)
#2 Never cross any streets without Blair by your side.
#3 Don't let the ice cream melt...if the family is not home hurry back so we can put the ice cream back into our freezer.

Without telling Matthew I gave him these instructions in a particular order, most important to least important.

Without them knowing I would follow them in the car.

Off they went.  Matthew on his scooter and Blair on his trike.  I noticed on the first street crossing that Matthew was far ahead of Blair.  Already, rule #1 and rule #2 broken.  I was very aware of how excited Matthew was to deliver this ice cream...he could hardly go fast enough.  I watched as Blair tried to keep up.   I decided to go around the block and watch them from the other end.  By the time I turned the corner, I saw Matthew heading home in a hurry, and Blair was nowhere near him.  Matthew had already been to the house.  No one was home.  He knew he couldn't leave the ice cream on the porch to melt.  He also knew he needed to head home quickly to replace it to the freezer.  Once Matthew passed on the sidewalk I drove to the family's house where I hoped to find Blair.  He was there taking his sweet time.  I asked Blair if he wanted a ride, he did, so I put his bike in the car and waited a minute to see if Matthew had plans to return.  Sure enough, Matthew came zipping around the corner and ran to the house looking for Blair.  He seemed really nervous and scared.  I got out of the car and asked Matthew if he knew where his brother was.  He looked up at me, then covered his face with his hands and began to cry.

I told him Blair was safe and in the car, a sigh of relief fell over him instantly.  I asked if he wanted a ride as well.  As we loaded his scooter, I asked Matthew if he remembered the three instructions I gave him before he left on his errand.  He said he remembered them, but was worried the ice cream would melt so in his mind he made an alternative plan.  He thought if he could go really fast he would be able to salvage the ice cream and bring his brother home safely.

He learned a very important lesson that day.  I didn't have to do much explaining.  However, I did carefully teach him that some rules are important and others are vital.  I told him to never let the less important things keep us from doing what is most important.  Ice cream is just ice cream and it can be replaced, Blair is most important.

Later we delivered the ice cream, and all was well.

Often I reflect on that example of Matthew and Blair, It's so easy to get carried away doing things that need to be done and do seem important, but in reality WHAT IS IMPORTANT?  Many things are obviously important, preparing food, washing clothes, cleaning...the needs physically, however, the moments that are most important are the ones that come and go with subtle introduction.  The simple things that are observed by little eyes watching every motion and tone, our habits, how we spend our time, our reactions to an action, our words spoken one to another--perhaps are the most important and influential.



  1. What a wonderful lesson and story! Thank you for sharing. Having done a similar experiment with my own daughter I am sure it is one Matthew will remember well through the years, but one that may get tested from time to time. We all need reminders about our priorities!

  2. What a beautiful lesson that won't be forgotten! I am so glad you shared it! I hope things are going well with you!! You are in our prayers!