There are some nice things about being sick with your family all together. As much as I'm fond of waking up in the middle of the night alternately dripping with sweat and shivering with cold, or determining conclusively that Charmin' toilet paper is gentler on a nose than Target brand tissue, people who wake up screaming because of leg cramps or just over all aches or cleaning up puke, those aren't the nice things I am thinking about.
For starters, when you are all sick, there is a collective lying around, which is easier on a pounding head than perfectly healthy children bouncing off of the walls and your stomach while you groan and hold your head. You give up on having anything like a normal day, the dishes may or may not get done, food may or may not be made, or eaten, school can take a flying leap, and movies may be stared at consecutively, or back to back House reruns downloaded from the internet. Because there's nothing sick people like to do more than watch other sick people be experimented on by a vicodin popping, cane wielding, people hating, and oh so dryly sarcastic former black adder cast member playing a brilliant doctor and watch their organs explode. It makes us feel better about our own inability to lift our head from the pillow without feeling like it might explode. But this is about the only time in the life of a parent when these things can be abandoned without experiencing any guilt at all.
Second, this lying around together leads to all sorts of slow cuddly moments that busy days and schedules don't have time for. I can find myself sitting on a chair, with my head resting on the back of course and flooded with love for these little kids who sit next to me and so bravely face their various symptoms, most of the time, and say such grown up sounding phrases in serious little tired voices that it's hard not to laugh, or melt, and I end up holding them close for a long time instead.
There was the time when I was laying in bed, and the Baby was asleep on top of me, which was the only way she would sleep for a day or two, and the Boy told me he thought he needed to throw up. So in brilliant half awake mommy fashion I yelled, "Then find yourself a puke bowl."
I didn't really think he would, we'd all been feeling off stomach wise, but no one had really puked yet. I drifted of into feverish sleep again. Then I heard him yelling, "Mom, can you get me a napkin?"
"No honey, I can't get up right now. Can you get it yourself?"
I drifted off again and the woke up to the sound of spitting. "What's going on buddy, did you get yourself a napkin?"
"Yes mom, I did. I threw up in the bowl and then I got myself a napkin to wipe my mouth."
And then I listened while he took his own puke to the toilet and flushed it down before tucking himself back in on the couch. Poor kid. I'm almost glad he threw up again that day so we could make up for the parental absence of the first time. We cuddled and coddled and bathed and tucked him into bed.
There's the hoarse laugh of a sick one year old that sound like a baby with a chain smoking habit and it's pathetic sounding and cute all at once. And it's such a relief to hear laughing, even if the eyes are still rimmed in red and the nose is still snotty.
And there's the time laying in bed next to the Genius Husband. He's still cute, even when he's sick and we don't have the energy to do much more than hold hands and smile at each other. But even that is pretty sweet on a Thursday when he's usually gone. And who else would feed the House addiction?
And pancakes, lots and lots of buttermilk pancakes. I was trying to get him to eat when he was most sick and I wasn't yet sick and so ran off a list of things I could make for him. For some reason he fixated upon pancakes, buttermilk to be precise, which I didn't have on hand. But I walked to the store to get him some and made him pancakes at 9pm. The kids had the leftovers for breakfast. (Warm them on a cookie sheet in the oven. Wait, that's my other blog. Where was I?) Oh yes, pancakes. Well, he got himself a craving again. only I was far to sick to make them this time, so he did, and once again the kids had the rest for breakfast. Well, then he made dinner and guess what we had. If you guessed pancakes and scrambled eggs you are absolutely correct. And lots of grapes and oranges and apples for those of you concerned about our diet. And then we put the leftovers in a plastic bag and took them with us for breakfast the next morning when we all awoke at 5am and stuffed the tired and protesting children into the car, drove through the pouring rain, and California drivers who have no idea HOW TO DRIVE in the rain. I get that it's slick and all. I grew up in Canada driving on ice you nimrods, there's only one rule when you are skidding, or hydroplaning, or otherwise feel that your tires are no longer making contact with the concrete. For the love of all that is holy, DO NOT SLAM ON YOUR BRAKES! It's really that simple. That and don't drive quite so freakin' fast. Where was I?
Oh yeah, driving in the pouring rain early in the morning to get to the USCIS office because there is no way to reschedule these types of appointments and we need this little piece of paper for the Boy and Girl that says, "Yes in fact you are a US citizen and have been since birth based on the fact that your father is a US citizen even if you were born out of country so we will make you pay us a lot of money and jump through dozens of hoops to prove all of this and then you get a little piece of paper that says what we all already know, but now you can prove it if you need to."
And that went well, and they now have that fancy piece of paper that will make their lives easier later. Though right now, I think they ought to move to Canada when they grow up, the economy is better right now. The GH's old boss offered him his job back, which he liked and had lots of growth potential, plus a house to live in rent free for a while if we moved. Which we're not because of the whole family thing, but man it looks tempting from time to time, say once a week. Wait. Where was I?
Oh yes, the nice moments about being sick together, I digress. There were many close, sweet, and almost happy moments enjoyed this round of infectious disease while we stared at each other in our little bubble. And I think they will form themselves to a sweet haze of nostalgia in time and we'll find ourselves reminiscing fondly. "Remember the time when we were all sick and you thought your head was exploding and we were all really dizzy?"
"Yeah man, that was fun."
"And then, and then, you were holding the baby, and it was a good thing you were sitting down because all of a sudden you got really nauseous and then you almost passed out because there was suddenly no blood in your head, or something? And I ran to get you the puke bucket? And you had to lean over the baby and put your head between your knees and breath deep breaths so you didn't get unconscious and drop the baby?"
"Yes buddy. Thanks for getting me your puke bowl so fast. That was really helpful."
"Remember the time when we were all really sick and Beema called on that day to tell you that the girls had lice from their trip to the slums in India and that they had probably given it to us since we'd slept at her house since they came back and there was a lot of hugging?"
"Remember how you had to go through our hair and look for lice eggs and Auntie K came over with lice killer oils to put in our hair and we all looked really greasy for a while?"
"Do you remember how Beema advised you that you might want to start that day to put every single things we have with cloth in garbage bags and put it outside for three weeks to kill any lice that might be in it? Do you remember how happy that idea made you?"
"Yes, we should do that again really soon kids, that was a lot of fun."
Wait, where was I?
I was trying to remember the happy moments. I swear they were in there, maybe I've listed them all already. I guess it's a good sign that even when you are all miserable, hanging out together with your family makes you like them more, not less, and you think of it as a stop, a moment, a freeze frame, that you get to treasure the time spent, the books read in bed to little girls, the way your kids are extra helpful and kind to each other, and your husband picks up the slack on the two days when you can absolutely not do anything but lay still and stare and breastfeed, even if the carpet guys have to walk into your bathroom to replace the padding where the toilet flooded last week. At least, if you were me it would have been that way.
But as good at that was, it's better to be on the mend again nonetheless.