The first clue was Saturday night. At 5, Pk got really whiny and went into her room. I invited her to come and cuddle with Baby Bean and I while I nursed him and she refused and went into her room to play. It was quiet and then Dh came to tell me that she was in a deep sleep and he didn't know what to do. With her asleep, we were able to get her into her jammies. She slept until 8 yesterday morning. She seemed fine during the day but just before bed, I thought she felt a teeny bit warm. She fell asleep on the couch and I had to carry her to bed. At 10, the first crying bout arrived and at 3, she came into my bed and promptly woke Baby Bean up. The night went downhill from there.
I have a real fear of fevers. I know that they are supposed to be the body's way of healing itself but I have heard too many scary stories of febrile seizures. As soon as fever arrives in one of my children, I dose with Advil and Tylenol, alternating, so that we never have a time that the fever can gain an upper hand. Normally, that works well. Last night, not so much - Advil was fine but when it came time for the Tylenol, Pk decided that it was "disgusting" and promptly threw it up all over the duvet on my bed. That, of course, awoke Baby Bean. Nothing like changing bedding at 4 a.m. with a screaming baby and a crying 3 year old. The universe did not look like a happy place to me at that moment.
I sank into a really low point of despair mixed with self-pity. Really, haven't I dealt with enough this fall? Hasn't my plate been full enough? I wanted to throw something and yell and generally, just be really selfish. I prayed a bit, tried to soothe both children down and finally, it was quiet. And I couldn't sleep. I closed my eyes. I waited. And waited. And waited.
Then, out of the blue, like a bolt of lightning, it hit me. While I am lying here feeling so sorry for myself, I have both my children beside me. I have two children. I have two beautiful children who I love more than anything. Two children who fill my arms and my heart. Two children to whom I can demonstrate that agape love that I have been reading about in my Beth Moore study. I am such a rich woman. Yes, sleep is eluding me and I will feel exhausted in the morning but I am not alone. I have these two precious gifts and their wonderful father asleep downstairs, which is so much more than so many people that I know. I found myself almost in tears. It's amazing what can come in the middle of the night.
The day that followed was complicated. Today, we were planning to drop Pk at daycare and then, after Baby Bean's morning nap, finish the Christmas shopping, in particular, give Santa a hand. We had to keep Pk home but the shopping had to be done so off we went. As Dh said, the lying that parents do to children at Christmas had to be stepped up a bit ("We can't afford that" or "We'll have to ask Santa") but it actually went fairly well. Pk looked glassy eyed and the nose began to run and we felt pressure to get home as quickly as possible but everything did get done. We are now as ready for Christmas as we have ever been.
It's been a melancholy kind of day. I have had to face the fact that most likely, we will not have the family "Christmas" that I was expecting. Due to my father's health problems, unless Pk makes a miraculous recovery, Christmas with my side of the family will not happen. Normally, my parents and brother come up Christmas Eve day and stay until the 27th but Dad can't risk being exposed to another virus. It's hard not to be really sad about that. We will still have some time with Dh's family but it will feel like a diminished Christmas (especially if any of the rest of us get sick). I'm trying to view it as a chance to get in touch with the real meaning of Christmas, a chance to slow down and focus on Jesus instead of on the festivities but I would be lying if I said that I wasn't disappointed.
Oh, well, this will just be another of the stories added to our family Christmas lore - the Christmas of the illness or, as I have started to call it, The Christmas of Plan B.