My children seem to have joined the ranks of those who are down with some stomach bug. Never ones to follow the trends, my husband and I are a little perplexed by this blatant kowtowing to peer pressure.
So far it has only been Gideon (23 mos.) and Abraham (6). But I've been around the ward long enough to know it probably won't end there.
We are following the usual course of black tea, activated charcoal, toast, and ginger ale. Of course, there has also been a seemingly endless stream of "Sing-Along Songs" videos and "The Head and the Heart" on youtube, and the coveted vintage milk glass children's mugs have been pulled out for those convalescing.
What surprises me -- delights me, really -- is the special care that the others are lavishing on the couch-ridden ones. They fetch electrolyte popsicles, refresh ginger ales, and ask, "Do you need a blanket?" while rubbing their heads every time they pass.
And they go further. They change out retch bowls, bring the fan to air out the room, and read story after story after story.
Of course this would happen while Ethan has some meeting to attend every night of the week. But even that is manageable. I don't know if it's some strange kind of denial or simply maturing (that sounds better than "aging"), but sickness doesn't throw me so much anymore. I used to be all bent out of shape, fervently worried for the sick one(s) and unable to sleep except in fits and starts. Last night? I slept better than I have in weeks. I woke this morning to Gideon being sick in his bed, cleaned him up, washed his bedding, and aired out the room. What would I have done differently if I hadn't slept? Well, probably nothing except hollered to Ethan, "Please get up! If I have to deal with this, so do you!"
I'm not saying I'm any kind of hero. (I have too many witnesses to the opposite.) And I'm not saying I'd be a rock if we were dealing with anything truly serious, such as something permanently debilitating or life-threatening. I am saying I know none of this is my doing, and the grace of God through my children astonishes me always.
I'm saying I'm thankful. I'm thankful for a husband with a gentle sense of humor that keeps everyone giggling, even those of us sick and tired. I'm thankful that God has given me children with a natural tenderness I do not possess. In fact, right now it's 47 minutes past when Ben (10) and Lily (8) should be in bed, but they are keeping Abe company as he listens to Mr. Popper's Penguins on CD in the guest room. I can't help but think some kind of sweet memories are being made in there, sort of like those I have of my mother making up stories about a squirrel named Rachel when I was sick.
And I know I'll probably pay for my leniency later this week when others come down with it; but after all, they are building their immune systems.
And I have plenty of nurses on hand.