I’m sad to say that it almost literally hit the fan.
We are on day 5 of the kids recovering from what I’m pretty sure was the real influenza. Unfortunately it has taken me till this evening to realize that the reason I’m failing miserably in coping or helping them get better is because I’m trying to do everything myself. Here’s what I mean. I’ll give a little recap of the last few days.
Sunday we celebrated Charles 1st birthday with all the cousins on my side of the family. (9 were present.) Andrew was playing so well with his cousin of the same age it was somewhat bizarre. When everyone went home and Andrew got up from his nap we realized why he had been so quiet and non-confrontational – he was sick. He woke up with a fever and was not going to eat supper. It sat listlessly in the recliner while the rest of the family ate and had dessert. While sitting and doing absolutely nothing, he threw up. Great. Later that evening while the kidlets were in bed and us bigs were watching Les Miserables (yes it was pretty ironic in hindsight) we heard Andrew start bawling at about midnight. We went down and he had thrown up again due to having the highest fever he has ever had in his short life. He was so hot that even in the dark I could tell he was beet-red. He is still getting rid of the freckle-like spots on his cheeks from blood vessels breaking. Needless to say, he spent the rest of the night in our room on the love-seat. Next was Charles turn to get a fever and throw up twice. (At 430 and 8 am.)
Monday was spent caring for the sickies (which included regular doses of Tylenol since the fevers would never quite break), doing the three loads of laundry that accumulated over the course of the night plus one regular load from the weekend, and cleaning/prepping the house for our departure the next day.
Tuesday was the most depressing drive back up north to date. The roads were good. Traffic was decent minus the many huge mods we had to pass. The weather was beautiful and we were stuck in the car for 5 hours. The cold-like symptoms were now hitting Andrew so sitting in the car with the sun glaring was brutal for him. He could hardly keep his eyes open so thankfully he did sleep on and off. However, we heard many feeble pleas to “get out of my seat/car”, and lots of sad whimpers and cries throughout the drive. Charles was good until we accidentally induced his fever again. He was wailing and wailing and would not stay asleep till finally I ordered the car to be pulled over and his sweater, socks and shoes taken off. With a dose of Tylenol, he finally cooled down enough to sleep and then was mostly peaceful the rest of the way.
Wednesday was sort of a blur. I remember it involved lots of whining and crying for no reason thanks to foggy brains and runny noses. Everyone was out of sorts. Charles was totally fine externally. You wouldn’t have known he was under the weather looking at him but he was clingy and a bit more whiny all day. And whatever was in his little body, it was doing nasty things to his gut. I don’t know if it’s the bug or the Tylenol, but he went through three outfits. And I mean EXPLODED out of these outfits. It was awful. Andrew was upset most of the day and very sadly said he no longer liked his nose. I felt awful for them both but I was getting to the end of my rope so my mood certainly didn’t help much. Hearing whines can really grate on my nerves. Add on top of that the fact that I had everything from our weekend to put away and supper to get ready for two guests, I was a bit busy.
This brings us to today. I thought it was all going to be better. Everyone would have better appetites, more energy, less whines… but no. I was wrong. First thing I hear in the morning was a very sleepy boy come crawl into bed. It was great. He fell back asleep and I got up by myself and had coffee. Great start to the day right? Wrong. The next thing I heard that morning, was the same sleepy boy start bawling since I wasn’t in bed next to him ready to say good morning. (Even though ‘good morning’ was the first thing I said. Apparently my location when saying this makes all the difference.) From then on it was down hill. There were cries because I had a secret ingredient in the milk shakes (peanut butter for protein… not alcohol which I had contemplated). There were cries because the show ended. There were cries because I brought the little buddy out of his room. On and on it went. (Oh and don’t forget three MORE poop explosions…) By the afternoon I had enough. Patience lost.
When Andrew was down for his nap, Charles woke from his. I sat with him on the couch and he snuggled in close. He squeezed me and looked up into my eyes and smiled. I never felt so good and so awful at the same time. I felt so good that my children love me and I felt so awful that I treated them so terribly today when they needed me the most. I thought I had tried to cut everyone some slack since I know how sucky it is to be sick but clearly I was doing a lousy job. I realized that I had tried to do everything on my own. Not once had I asked God or anyone for help. Not once had I prayed (other than for my kids to not be sick the next day, although as I look back, it was more of a selfish prayer than a selfless prayer. I was praying more that they wouldn’t be sick the next day so that the whininess and the extra work was over.) I sat there on the couch feeling so empty because I was so completely drained. Finally, with that smile and the little snuggle that thankfully lasted a long long time, I got a little more fuel in the tank. I said a few quick prayers for strength, for patience, for grace and for my children’s well-being. I also managed to get an “I’m sorry” in there. These prayers were answered quietly. When Andrew woke up he was still as miserable as ever and Charles still wanted to be with me just as much and I still had lots to do but I have managed to do it all a little more peacefully. Yes, I am tired. Yes, I did somewhat cringe when Andrew cried for about half an hour because it was too bright in the house and he couldn’t see. But I managed to chuckle when I gave him his sunglasses and he wore them in the house for supper. Yes, I was frustrated when Charles didn’t seem to want to eat anything I gave him but I kept offering graciously and patiently. Yes, I hesitated slightly when Andrew remembered I had earlier suggested baking banana muffins after supper but we went ahead with the plan and he was a great little helper and we had lots of fun.
They are now in bed and I can hear Andrew playing with his Scout puppy. Night has come and so has some peace. I’m ready to say a few prayers of thanksgiving and another to reiterate my sorrow for failing miserably before. I’m ready to watch a little Downton Abbey before my hubby comes home with hopefully some good news after his late meeting with his boss. I’m ready to start tomorrow off better. With some prayers for help as I can absolutely not do this whole parenting thing on my own.
On Saturday, before everything went down, I attended a wonderful conference centred on the feminine genius. In the last talk, the speaker stated 4 things that women need to be.
1. We need to be joyful. So tomorrow, that is what I will be. I will be joyful that my children are getting better. I will be joyful that it is Friday. I will be joyful that we are simply alive.
2. We need to be fearless. When I hear the first signs of whining tomorrow I will stand tall and rooted in patience instead of crumble and lose it as if I were the three-year old.
3. We need to be prepared to suffer. That is why I am typing this now. I needed to make sure I was aware of how much God can take care of us if only we ask. My suffering is really nothing compared to what others go through. I am not very strong and so whiny toddlers and being mostly alone all day are enough to throw me into deep waters. It is my “suffering” at the moment and I will take it head on tomorrow. And…
4. We need to be women of prayer. As the last few days have shown, this is probably the point I struggle with the most and therefore should be what I work on the hardest. I know growing a prayer life usually happens slowly and so I need to be patient with that as well. Little bit by little bit, I will try and turn my daily activities into small prayers and try to take those quick moments to throw a few thoughts and prayers up to heaven. Our Speaker (Colleen Carroll Campbell) also talked lots about how the saints have influenced her life. Over the next little bit I think I need to spend some time finding some saints who touch and inspire me. I think I need to find some new friends.