I have had a house full of sick kiddos lately, and what’s notable about this particular situation is that it takes some time to get over illness when you have multiple children. Basically one gets sick, and then another, and then another, repeat. You get the point. Bring out all the Lysol and hand sanitizer you want. It’s only by the grace of God if anyone escapes the shared germs flying around our loving home. And by loving I mean a preschooler who doesn’t understand the concept of “this is my drink, and this is your drink,” or a five year old who is incapable of not kissing everyone she encounters on the lips. Sorry Gold Bond man.
So why was I surprised when our six-month-old tossed and turned all night, wanting to breastfeed on demand (aka, continuously), and kept waking herself with a strangling cough every half hour? I shouldn’t have been. It was Murphy’s Law of parenting, and I accepted the fact a second doctor’s visit in a single week was on the agenda for our day.
Needing liquid courage to make it through such a trip I made my typical morning cup of joe, and as I sat in bed guzzling hot coffee with Sesame Street in the background I thought to myself, this is nice. The chunky baby saddled up beside me coughed intermittently with a questioning yelp as to why she did such a thing, and I pulled her closer saying “there, there” while enjoying the feel of her in the crook of my arm.
About that time my 3-year-old awoke and tiptoed like thunder into the room. Her eyes sparkled bemused even as fresh snot poured down her face, and she tried eagerly to kiss her baby sister who had already succumbed to the sickness she was pedaling. As I gazed at her crooked smile, and I took in her musical laughter I thought, this is wonderful. It really is.
Even my eldest wasn’t up to par, and could see an overflowing laundry basket from the corner of my eye. On any given day I was 10 steps behind, but I was quite sure this week it was closer to 30. It was all I could do to keep up in the midst of grumpy young ones, a river of crocodile tears, and the mound of crumpled tissues and sticky medicine cups. My husband, being the great thinker he is, had solved the dishes-not-done dilemma by buying more spoons on his way home from work; God love him. So to say I was close to sinking might be scratching the surface just right.
Yet in the midst of it all I realized something very peculiar to me. It seems I didn’t feel sorry for myself one bit. No, not even once. The baby coughed, I pulled her closer, and I thought to myself, thank you, Lord.
You see, here’s the thing about sick kids. They’re still these wonderful little creations, and as I looked at their tired faces I knew they would get better. The virus would pass, the temporary sickness would end and I would have my healthy family back. I really was so blessed, and perception goes a long way in the end.
I just couldn’t get down about the kind of week I had because I also knew the future that awaited. We’d get through the muddle of this week like we always did, and most likely without a scratch or any worse for the wear. I’d have my chunky baby to hug, minus the cough, and musical laughter as the soundtrack of my day. Not having any clean spoons seemed to kinda pale in comparison to that.
For now I’m rocking cranky babies, soothing sensitive feelings and still wiping plenty of snotty noses, but I can think of no higher calling than to be right here, right this moment, loving my daughters back to health. That’s the thing about sick kids; they need you. And if I’m lucky they always will.