By Karen Green
My two kids have been sick for five days. If you do the math, it means that we have been surviving on tissues, ibuprofen, homeopathic pellets and syrups for… forever.
Or so it feels. My big girl has croup, my little girl has something maybe one step below that, and I have cabin/sick-child fever. My empathy is still intact, but my house is a mess. My sense of inertia is proportionate to the number of hours of sleep we are getting, which is far less than any of us would like it to be. I am savouring the moments I get to myself, in between fetching cups of water, rubbing backs or wiping noses. A quick trip to the grocery store feels like freedom, like it did in the newborn days.
I remind myself—usually just after I have snapped at my husband, whose minor transgression grates on my nerves the way I cannot let my children’s constant needs—that this is temporary. That we are lucky. That, although we have no way of knowing what tomorrow will bring, today, we are lucky. These brief illnesses will pass, relatively quickly, and we will all once again enjoy long stretches of good health and good will.
We do not deal with the things that so many other families do, day in and day out. We do not have children with chronic illness, debilitating illness, days fraught with “what if?” and “what now?”
We have never had to say goodbye to a sick child.
I knock on wood and spit on the ground and throw salt over my shoulder and try not to tempt fate, understanding that nothing is a given except for my love for my children.
The kids missed gymnastics this week and my husband and I missed our coveted date night, but those small disappointments, the fatigue, the frustrations, are nothing compared to how I felt with my tiny six-year-old asleep on my lap in the emergency room, too tired to be scared about the chest X-ray she was waiting for. She seemed so fragile, and I was reminded that it all is, all of it.
So while I wipe another nose and pour another juice and prepare myself for another sleepless night, I’ll wrap my kids in blankets and cuddles, and thank the universe for what it has given me.
Karen Green recently traded life in the biggest city in Canada for life in the biggest cornfield in Canada. Freed from her full-time job as a writer and editor, Karen now spends her time…writing and editing. And frolicking in the leaves with her two small girls. Karen is a speaker, the founder of Mom The Vote and the author of the blog, The Kids Are Alright, where she has been writing about the humorous and poignant moments of family life since 2005. She is thrilled to be a part of canadianfamily.ca.