Over the past two weeks, almost everyone in our seven person household has been sick with fevers, sore throats, headaches, and horrible sounding coughs. Children have missed school, fall parties and birthday parties, trick-or-treating, various lessons, and a field trip. I have had to bow out of volunteering responsibilities at the school and Mass attendance to stay home with little ones and to nurse my own annoying symptoms. One of our sons is being treated for pneumonia, and one of our daughters is waiting for an upcoming doctor's appointment to rule out possible bronchitis. We have come home from the pharmacy numerous times with bags full of cold and flu medicines, pain relievers and fever reducers, cough syrups, and every brand and flavor of throat lozenges. We've also gone through our fair share of herbal teas, vitamin C-rich fruits and juices, and herbal immune-boosting supplements for myself. For some, we've had to resort to antibiotics to fight this thing. Needless to say, I'm not getting much accomplished other than tending to the needs of my children.
At this time of year, we all get busy as we gear up for the holidays with decorating, entertaining, shopping, and cooking/baking. It can be very frustrating to have to put those things on hold due to illness that hits one family member after another. But this is also the time of year to give thanks and to count our blessings. The past few weeks have brought nights of interrupted sleep for us all with children coughing and running fevers and needing medicine around the clock. Schedules are constantly being rearranged to accommodate trips to the doctor and to ensure that an adult is always at home with those who need care. I am "on-call" at all times as I check temperatures, administer medicine, bring juice and tea, and read lots of stories. These weeks have reminded me of the many years I had a house full of babies and toddlers who woke up throughout the night and relied on me to fulfill all their needs because they were too young to do so. I spent so many hours with little ones in my lap as I cuddled, comforted, and read to them. It was an exhausting time, but it was also a special time that we will never have again.
So even though I am sorry that my children are not feeling well and have missed out on some fun activities the past couple of weeks, I am finding the blessings. At a time of year that is usually busy, busy, busy we have been forced to adopt a much slower and simpler pace. Instead of doing and going, we are at home just being. I am once again cuddling, comforting, and reading to children. I am taking care of others and myself. We are resting and simply focusing on getting strong and well. For the most part, we are inside together as a family instead of going in many different directions throughout the day. For these reasons, even if they're not the circumstances I would have chosen, I am thankful.