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.