Just over a week ago my oldest son came to me before school telling me that he was not feeling well. I took one look at his pale face and felt his hot forehead and realized he was indeed sick. I sent him back to bed and told him to try to sleep it off. That usually works for him. My first thought should have been "My poor baby!" but that was my second thought. My first thought was, "Oh no --The flu has invaded our home and none of us are safe!"
Two days later, thinking maybe the other kids had dodged it, I went to wake up my middle son who was shivering under two blankets asking for water and even more blankets. Apparently, another one had dropped. I gave him medicine, tucked him back into bed and hoped that he was simply exhausted. (It is amazing how your mind can try to convince itself of something you know is not true when you are desperate to believe it.)
Day three came and sure enough, my youngest was too sick to go to school. She, too, had been struck with whatever had invaded our home. With a kiss, a cool drink and a hug, I told her to go back to sleep and silently closed her door.
I sat down on the floor outside her room and was near tears. Three kids. All sick. All of them most likely struck down by the flu that was taking over the local schools. Thirty minutes later I woke up still sitting there on the floor.
I was shivering, feverish and had a headache to rival any migraine I had ever experienced. Those germ-ridden carriers I call children had infected me as well. I called the doctor and off we went for a flu test.
It came back that we all had type A flu -- "the bad one" as they were calling it. The type that doesn't really have anything that can help speed it along and make you feel better sooner.
I worried about how I would take care of them when I was so sick and my husband was out of town. However, something amazing happened as my oldest son began to feel better. He started taking care of his younger sister. Still with a fever and unable to go to school, he spent his time reading to her, playing with her and keeping her company when I slept. As my middle son began to feel better, he, too, began to take over as nurse to the family.
As I slept one day with my fever making me sweat and shiver at the same time, I felt a cold washcloth placed on my hot forehead. My younger son saw how badly I was feeling and wanted to help.
I saw the care and love between my children that week. As they took care of each other and of me, they were friends. They pulled together as a family to make sure everyone was taken care of and had what they needed to feel more comfortable as we all suffered through this flu.
I would never ask for my entire family to fall sick at the same time, but to see the amazing care and love that my children had for each other made my heart swell with pride. Sometimes it is easy to lose track of that in the daily battle of chores, homework and bickering. Last week, I was witness to the power of sibling love. And for that I am grateful.
As for the flu? I am still holding a grudge. While the children are all healthy and back in school, I developed a secondary infection that has kept me down for the count. Truth be told, I miss the kids. I miss their company and the compassion I saw in them. However, I will always hold on to the fact that when the chips are down, they are there for each other. And for me. What more could a mom ask for?