For the past two weeks, I've spent more hours asleep than I have awake.
I will tell you it's very out of character for me. I'm actually quite adverse to naps and did less sleeping during all of my pregnancies combined than I have since getting pneumonia.
The timing was good, I suppose. We had made it through Christmas and five bouts of the stomach flu, with me being the only one in the house not to catch it. I was able to go to my dream musical, even though I had to sit alone because tickets were impossible to come by. As it turns out, I likely caught this horrible virus while in the theatre, and the fact that I was alone (and the only one in the house to be hit) is a good, good thing.
I woke up on new year's day with a sore throat worse than any I've had since childhood. I chalked it up to the all-night vomit catching we had done with our seven-year-old (how's that for ringing the new year in with style?). But it persisited and steadily got worse.
I'll save you the gory details, but about 10 days, and countless nights spent coughing until I couldn't breathe, saw me waving the white flag and heading into the doctor's—who exclamined upon seeing me, My goodness, why did you wait so long to come in?
I think it's part of parenthood. Denial, guilt, the need to charge forward.
Even my pathological association of daytime sleeping with laziness (which drives JB-the-couch-napper crazy, by the way) could not keep me up. As soon as I hear the sound of his keys in the door, I am crawling up to my bed and sleeping for hours.
And I've learned that it's okay. I've seen the caring and loving I put into each day—that I've often felt goes unnoticed—has actually been teaching my children to do the same.
At its worst, the virus had me falling asleep on the floor and waking up to find my three=year=old sitting beside me and one of her tiny blankets draped across my shoulders. I woke a few days ago to see a tea party had been set up on the bed while I slept, because my kids know a cup of tea always warms me. They have pulled their weight and taken care of each other without complaint.
JB would readily admit that my independence and determination to be self-sufficient are qualities he finds attractive in me. And when I first started to get sick, there was a gentle push and pull as we sorted out how much I would need him to take over.
But when I needed him to, he easily let go of any notions of who I'm supposed to be and allowed me to depend on him completely. I've woken up countless times to find that he took my hand in his when he came to bed.
It's good for a relationship to rise to a challenge, and this has been good for us.
There is renewed appreciation on both sides.
This illness will pass, and we will return to our regular routines—for that we are both quietly grateful. We are at an age now, that we have seen friends face challenages that are far more life-altering and heartwrenching; they've been taken to places from which there can never be a return to normal.
I've baked and made soups to keep my body fed as it fights.
A change in routine, can be an opportunity for new perspective. And this has been just that.
I know what this family means to me, and now I can see that I mean as much to them.