Our baby has been home with me this week, both of us sick. I am mostly fine. My throat hurts. That’s all. She is mostly not fine. I am fairly certain her throat hurts, though she’s not able to tell me so. She’s not able to tell me if she aches. She’s not able to tell me how much her cough hurts her. She’s not able to tell me how her breathing is going, if she’s hungry, if she’s desperate for milk even though the doctor told us not to give her milk because it could coagulate her mucus and make breathing harder. She’s not able to tell me anything other than she’s generally unhappy with the state of things.
2019 has had a rough start. My lost my Grandmom. Phoebe has been out of school for two weeks, first the polar vortex, now croup. And I’ll be the first to tell you, I know how things could be much harder for us. All in all, we are well. But good lorde, can I please have some time to get my feet under me?
Baby girl is napping, which means I have 45 minutes, maybe more, to do something productive. I’m starting here, because this is the year I’ve learned that writing is a spiritual practice for me.
So, unless she wakes up in the middle of writing this, I’ve got a list. Now, the list of things I don’t get to do when I’m home with a sick kid is long. The items on that list swirl around me like a swarm of gnats. But the list I’m sharing now is a list of things that were only possible this week because I stayed home with my daughter.
We discovered her curls.
Her hair has been slow to grow. It is fine and wiley and flies in little wisps over her ears. She has croup now, so we’ve been sitting in the bathroom with the shower running and – BLAMO – her curls tightened up in little ringlets all over. We had no idea she was hiding curls in there!
Family slumber parties!
The doctor advised we stay in the room with her over night. The dangerous part of croup is that her airway can become inflamed which would restrict her breathing. We’d be running to the emergency room if that happened, so we got out the futon matresses and made a pallet by her crib so we could hear if her breathing became labored. The thought of a possible emergency is horrible, of course, but the small silver lining is feeling close. Seeing my husband asleep next to the crib, I feel close to them. This is what family does – we bear down, we change everything for one of us who’s in trouble, we come together, we watch out for each other.
Phoebe did not feel those sentiments at all. She was asleep when Charlie and I entered the nursery to lay on the pallet on the floor. At 4 AM she woke up screaming at the two giant lumps of blankents in the middle of her room. It took some reassuring and then a few rounds of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to calm her down.
My heart is up to something
I don’t know exactly what it is that I’m feeling. But this week, I’ve had to take a step back.
Before I left the traditional working world, I was working 60-80 hours a week. I loved the purpose I felt, the fire to run into complex problems, sort them out, make them better. I loved flying all over the world, working with teammates from places I’d never knew the names of until my work brought me there. I loved the camaraderie, the creativity, and the feeling that my days mattered in big and mighty ways.
In the first days of 2019 I had resolutions. As a freelancer, as a dad, as a podcaster, as a husband, as professional, I was ready to go bigger, do more, aim higher.
There’s a lot of year left to do so much more. But the past month has held me back in a way that’s made me busy at home but free of mind. I’ve had to think a lot about what’s important to me, what I hope for, what I wish for, what I plan to do next. I’ve had to look another person in the eyes, a tiny little person who can’t tell me what she needs but who needs me completely. I’ve had to look her in the eyes and remind myself to do my very best by her, that the rest will come. In this season, I need to be still. I need to be here, sitting in the bathroom with the shower running, reading board books, savoring now, dreaming of the future.