Thursday, November 19, 2009


I've been so lucky to have my wonderful Mom and a talented physical therapist Aunt here helping our family out during this difficult time. I really don't know how we'd have managed without my Mom here, holding fussy sick babies and cleaning up puke, taking temperatures and making chicken soup, exuding confidence that everything would be okay, that Miles would pull through.
Miles, you know, is 3 years and 9 months old, full of fire burning bright, the one who jumps headfirst into every experience, and pulls all the rest of us along with him. He is so funny and sincere and beautiful that he gets by with a lot that a more serious, less antic-filled kid wouldn't be able to get away with. Of all my boys he's the one always in the center of the action, making everyone laugh, causing trouble, and smoothing things over with his incredible sweetness and generosity. He is healthy and strong, positively glowing with youthful health and rosy cheeks, sparkling blue eyes and cheerful laugh. Glowing, I tell you.
But Miles is the one I always secretly worry about. Always. I imagine it's because of the worry of my pregnancy with him (preterm labor and 4 solid months of bedrest) and how sick I was after he was born, at least that's what I tell myself. The other boys, though of course I worry, I feel more confident about, healthwise. Miles is the one I am sort of irrational about, the one I really have to talk myself down about. Every bruise might be a sign of some awful thing, leukemia or a clotting disorder. Every cough whispers pneumonia. I know it's crazy. I talk myself out of it all the time, or else we'd be in the emergency room more often than we already are (and Lord knows we're there for legitimate reasons often enough that it's a joke among our friends).
So you can imagine how I was feeling this week, with Miles trying to recuperate from an appendectomy and swine flu at the same time, lying in his hospital bed pale and feverish and still, not wanting to eat or drink, not wanting to talk or watch TV or even respond to us. I spent the whole time talking myself down, trying to trust that he would be well. And he is.
He is well. He is bouncing off the furniture, climbing the walls, shrieking and laughing and running around. You've never even know he'd been sick, except around the edges. That raggedy cough, a low grade fever that hasn't gone away just yet, the quickness to anger, the quickness to tears, the length and restlessness of sleep-times.
And so, last night, when my Mom and Aunt were talking about all the phone calls between the extended family, and how worried everyone was, when I asked "Why was Grandma crying?" they were shocked. As though I didn't understand how dangerous this all was, how close we'd been to Miles slipping away from us. And I couldn't correct them. I couldn't bear to just say that I have lived four years with the constant fear of him slipping away, and I am so used to constantly telling myself I am being silly, he is fine, HE IS FINE, that the knowledge that other people, rational, reasonable, intelligent people were as worried as I was more than I could deal with.
But he is fine. He is funny and sweet and energetic and you wouldn't know he'd been so sick. And I feel no choice but to keep on reminding myself of how fine he is.
He is not slipping away anywhere. He is jumping off the couch over a giant pile of cushions and onto the coffee table. He is running away and laughing, and I am so grateful. Running away laughing is as good as in my arms. He's definitely not slipping anywhere.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

... and holding... again

Yep. Holding my breath again, just waiting for this week to end.
Thursday Miles developed appendicitis, Friday was spent at the pediatrician's office (first thing in the morning) and the emergency room (the rest of the day). Who knew the health insurance companies require preapproval for CT scans, unless it's an emergency room doc? Yep. So, ER, then surgery. Is anything more heart rending than a three year old being rolled away to the operating room screaming and holding his arms out to you? (If there is, don't tell me, please!) My Mom arrived just after the surgery, and thank goodness- having three adults meant someone could stay with miles, another could stay with Avery and Ansel, and the third could do errands and travel back and forth.
Saturday started with Miles spiking a fever and developing a cough, and getting sicker and sicker. Guess what? Swine flu, that's what. And we all got it.
The pediatrician at the hospital prescribed Tamiflu for us all, which definitely seems to help shorten and lighten the impact. But it wasn't the nicest way to learn that we have an entirely separate $600 deductible for name brand prescriptions, and that for the four of us (plus the last three days dosage for Miles) would cost us $412. Cash.
Some dear friends turned their house over to us and the convenience of having a crash pad directly across the street from the hospital was a blessing. Especially since the hospital has a ban on visitors under 14, which meant that the nursing baby couldn't come in to the hospital, and I had to leave Miles' bedside to take care of the other boys.
Back at home Miles has asserted his anger at the pace of his recovery in many dramatic and awful ways, shouting and throwing and generally acting out. Including kicking the computer off the couch and killing it. We just got word from the shop. Dead. With the whole entire year's worth of school lesson plans painstakingly written out but not backed up. When will I remember to do that?
I won't even mention the pipe under the sink bursting and making a big mess everywhere.
Or the baby's ear infection.
Anyway, I'm glad I took that good long breath last week. I needed it more than I knew.
This week seems to be all about holding it again. Holding and hoping.... please, God, let nothing else go wrong, at least not this week....

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Good Deep Breath

Ah! Doesn't that feel nice?

I realized, in the midst of messy house, screaming children, unfinished school work, yet-again-still-at-work-way-too-late-husband, utter exhaustion and unbidden tears streaming down my face at a simple question ("How are you?") that I've been holding my breath through all the busy-ness, celebration, and even the simple routines of autumn. I've missed out on really being present for my favorite season, my grounding and hearth-warming season. I have been holding my breathe so long and tight that I've started floating away, my head in the clouds, busier imagining all the brighter futures we could have instead of doing my work, making THIS life, here and now, as bright and beautiful as possible. Unfortunately children and housework, school work and all of the day-to-day couldn't join me on my dream-tour, and had to make do here on earth without me.

I've been holding my breath for fear of crying out loud at the terrible prospect of MORE job losses, ones that could directly affect our little family, ones tied to the whim of voters. Holding my breath for fear of saying out loud all the ways I've been worried. One person in the family being stressed out is enough, and worry is my husband's job. My job is eternal optimism, unshakable confidence that it will all work out just right, no matter what IT is. Anxious weather watching, sunny-day umbrella carrying, that's his job. Silver lining shining, pot of gold finding, that's mine.

But election day is over, the voting is done, all those opinions have been counted. The sales tax that pays 1/3 of the office budget passed, overwhelmingly. Overwhelmingly! Jobs are a little safer, for awhile anyway. Mortgages can be paid, groceries bought, Christmas and oh! all those birthdays maybe not so bleak. I can breathe.

I can take a deep breath, let it go, take another, and come back down to earth. Back down to the house full of boys and chores and laundry. Landing on a mountain of laundry, it turns out, is a pretty soft landing after all, and is a great vantage point for scoping out rainbows' end. And silver linings are a lot easier to see when the storm clouds are just passing over, not dumping down on your head.

I can take another breath, an even deeper one, one full of gratitude and thanksgiving. Here I am, here we are, and it is wonderful, right here and now!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

Avery as "Teen Vampire". Scary was his top priority this year.

Miles as "Spider". Miles was adamant about his costume choice- every single time he decided!

Ansel as "Gnome". He wasn't very excited about his costume for some reason....
In any case we had a great time, some good friends and family came over for pizza and trick or treating and it was all just good, easy fun. big boys running from house to house, little kids trailing, everyone falling to a deep sugar-coma sleep and waking up WAY to early this morning. Yay for Halloween!