Monday, February 9, 2009

Sitting in the dark

They very rarely get this sick, so I rarely watch them like this. I take their temperatures and put my hand on their chests occasionally. Every cough and tremble, each sneeze, makes me tense up. I pull up their covers and keep them propped up on their pillows.

Even with my constant fussing, they are both stoic in the face of such a nasty flu, no complaining, no tears. I don’t think I was ever that calm when I had the flu as a child. Even today, when I get sick, I get weepy. Sick, woe-is-me, unadulterated-weepiness, but not these two.

Hannie had the worst of it. She started out by puking repeatedly all night long. Dutifully she would sit up and puke into the bucket, then she would push her head back and mutter “done.” and flop back down on her pillow. In between bouts she would curl up and go back to sleep. We piled her hair into a messy topknot to keep it out of her face, and she smiled and patted me in that bemused way she has with me, sometimes. “Thanks mama.”

Sam skipped the puking and went straight to the high fever and chills. He lay still for twelve hours straight. Sam has never been still for twelve minutes straight, so you know this was a bad one. Still, he mustered enough energy to be happy to be home from school, and take advantage of unlimited popsicles and gingerale. We watched Star Wars Episode II and had lengthy discussions about light sabers, he napped on and off.

The worst, I think, is over. Both of them sleep as I sit studying on my laptop in the dark. Such high fevers they had. It is quiet now, dark and quiet. They breathe in and out, and I breathe with them. I marvel at how they simply exist in the moment. A gift. Funny, sometimes, where gifts come from.

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