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Sick Week

The sharp cough interrupted my late-night tidying of the family room pillows.  It came again while I was mounting the stairs and a wailing cry followed.  Croup.  I would know that sound anywhere.  Two of my sons are prone to that horrible seal-bark cough and on this night, I knew it was our youngest, KC, crying out for me.  

Throat swollen, each breath is audible, a dragging in with great effort, an exhalation that often turns into a coughing fit so hard he gags with the force of it.  We have our routine down.  First the comforting hugs and kisses, wiping away tears and assuring that all will be well soon.  Then the sip of medicine to reduce the swelling and lower the flaming fever.  And finally, the rising from bed, draping ourselves in fuzzy blankets while padding to the front door to step into the fog-chilled night and seat ourselves on the stoop.

It's kind of fun at that point.  We listen to the silence of our sleep-shrouded street.  Water drips down the gutters and plops onto the rocks below.  We peer into the fog wondering if anyone else is stirring at this hour and if so, why?  I imagine what I would do if a mangy dog came loping toward us, or if we witnessed those naughty teens who have been raiding parked cars overnight, stealing forgotten iPods and wallets.   Nothing happens.  KC just breathes deeply, filling tiny lungs with moistened air, relieving the stress and softening his cough.

Back inside we snuggle on the sofa, and watch Downton Abbey.  KC follows along and I am grateful for a show that is clean enough for him to watch beside me. His only concern is why they talked about having a picnic but end up sitting at tables outside and no one has a picnic basket!

Afterward we turn to SproutTV, a 24 hour toddler TV channel and find that Caillou is just starting.  KC perks up and sits nearer the fire and tree.

I am growing weary and he seems to be getting a second wind.  Oh well, it seems like the perfect time to pull out the new book I have been dying to read, so I do.

Perhaps you are familiar with Katrina Kenison's earlier books, Mitten Strings for God  and The Gift of an Ordinary Day.  Each came into my life at the right moment, she being about ten years ahead of me in her life experience raising boys, and I soaked in her wisdom and prosaic writing about the everyday life of a mother. Her latest, Magical Journey, is at the top of my 2013 to-read list. Thanks to this flu I am now half-way through!

Yesterday the fever and tickly throat hit me hard and I was able to stay quiet while my husband worked from home and supervised KC.  During the night I heard that same barking cough from ZJ and we went through the Croup ritual as well. We had fun sitting outside, alone in the neighborhood, not a light on in a house in our view. We giggled picturing all the neighbors we know by daylight now snoring in their beds, pajamas on, make-up off and oblivious to our outdoor presence.

 And now I have two sick boys at home with me today. And in a weird way I love it.  Taking care of sick boys has always made me feel the most motherly.  It's so fun to snuggle and soothe and meet such basic needs.  All worldly obligations fade away and simplicity of life is all that must be done.  Chicken soup for breakfast?  Sure!  More Caillou and cuddling?  Count me in. It's sick week at our house we are making an adventure of it.


  1. I think that when we're taking care of sick ones we know exactly what God wants us to be doing! There are no doubts, no activities. Nothing is more important than snuggling close while the world waits.

  2. Amen. It's in these details of everyday life that we find the true story.... the true need. God bless all of you as you heal and enjoy these quiet days.

  3. You are such a sweet mama! Makes me think of my mom... she still cares for us sweetly when we are sick in any way she can. You mama's are such a gift! Hope everyone is feeling better soon! xo

  4. Isn't it kind of a nice side effect of sickness, that it forces everyone to slow down and enjoy a slower pace of life? I have always thought that illness is nature's way of reminding us to take it easy. I pray everyone gets better soon. And thank you for your sweet and thoughtful comment on my blog. =)

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  6. Oh no!!!!! I hope I didn't give it to you over the phone...? :) I hope and pray that you all recover soon. It's no fun. Your post reminds me of a 'soul fever' - those happen all too often, and like a real fever, they force us to just pay attention to ourselves and our loved ones. Snuggles, that extra TLC, and the rituals of what you do when someone is sick...these are memories in the making, too, just like going on vacations and other more exciting things. You are the BEST mama! On a related note, a tub of as-hot-as-you-can-handle-it water with some Apple Cider Vinegar and salt takes away the aches and helps the fever to break faster (make sure to drink lots of water in the tub!), and we've been taking a teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar to help with our coughs. It is like the miracle cure! And it only cost us a Hot Wheel car and a necklace from the dollar store to get the kids to take it. :) LOVE YOU!

    1. Never heard of the apple cider cure! Might have to try it around here. And yes I think we caught it through the phone from you!! :) xoxo

  7. Poor little boy :( My baby had croup a few months ago; it was awful!

  8. Oh I'm so sorry you all are sick!!! But I totally know what you mean about enjoying the extra snuggle time.... I'm the SAME way. Hope you all are feeling better soon.

  9. Sick days are so bittersweet aren't they? I hope your family is healthy again! Thank you for introducing me to these books!


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