Thursday, February 7, 2008

Back in the Picture

I missed out on three days of my sons' lives.

Yes, I was here, in the same house, but totally out of the picture. Being balled up in fetal position with a fever and intermittent chills and sweating does not make for great fun-with-mommy time. Mac Daddy, along with our beloved nanny Miss Emma, held down the fort. Mac Daddy had to bear the brunt of it since he had to enterain the kids all weekend while tending to my needs: chicken noodle soup, tea with honey, water with a straw, Chapstick, Motrin, tissues, remote control, blanket, socks, more water, juice, bread ever so slightly toasted, apple sauce, tissues. Of course he tended to the kids' needs too: apple sauce, tissues, Spiderman bandaids, water with a straw, blanket, potty training, M&Ms, grilled cheese. You get the picture. Mac Daddy has been a short order cook, waiter, nurse, professional wrestler, housekeeper, and best-in-show entertainer. Somehow he managed to do it all while still keeping close tabs on the Rasmussen Reports.

The official results are in: I won the husband jackpot. Crackpot and Jackpot, we make the perfect pair.

While I was in bed for three straight days I missed out on a lot. I find that the magic is in the humdrum of our Sisyphus lives. I missed out on celebrating Deal's potty training successes and Bird's mastery of the letter B. I missed out on silly time together, nonsensical knock-knock jokes, and messy peanut butter and apple snacks. I missed out on meal time thank yous (Our dinner time tradition is to take turns saying something we're thankful for from the day. It makes for some heartwarming material.). I missed out on bath time when the boys' excrutiatingly long eyelashes are glistening with water droplets and their little bottoms and tummies are scrumptiously soft. The I-just-had-a-bubblicious-bath smell puts me over the top and makes me want to gnaw on Bird and Deal's ears. I missed out on goodnights, story books, and our ritual butterfly kisses.

Between my fits of sleep I heard the boys happy (and sometimes not so happy) noises downstairs. There was a chorus of "He hit me!" mixed with "NO! NO! NO!" peppering the pandemonium, along with some hearty laughter and giggling. All I could do was lie in bed and feel my family's presence but be totally disconnected from it all. It seemed as if I wasn't even there and I didn't even matter. Life went on without me. I've been told I have a flair for the dramatic, but work with me here. For three days I was not a caregiver to my children. I was nothing more than a feverish blob with mucus breath and a red swollen nose. Sure, Bird and Deal greeted me each day with a kiss to the forehead, but then I was out of the picture. It reminded me of the book I just read for my book club, "The Ghost a the Table."

In the book the mother is an invalid who lies in bed upstairs for pretty much the entirety of her girls' childhood. In reading the book I sympathized with the children and gave little thought to the mom. Now that I spent a few days bedridden myself, I totally sympathize with the mom. What torment she must have felt. What torture to hear her children's tears and laughter and not be available to hug away the sadness or partake in the joy. Her heart must have cracked a bit each day. Her sense of purpose was diminshed. She had no way to show her love. I feel her anguish now. It's palpable and still fresh.

Today is a gift.

We're enjoying spring temps in the middle of winter. Now if you'll excuse me, I have two delicious little boys to tickle and squeeze.
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