You might think I’m referring to this season of parenting little children, but we already know that won’t last forever. We don’t need to be reminded that the days of diapering and bathing, bedtime stories and morning cuddles are fleeting.
But this season of perpetual illness? This season that we have endured from the last days of summer to what is now the beginning of spring? We’re both wondering if it will ever end.
It’s been seven months of vomiting, diarrhea, sore throats and fevers. We’ve dealt with coughs, colds, strep, and flu. Over and over again. It’s been an intense season that has left us bare-boned and weary. And I for one, am wondering if we are in the midst of an epidemic.
We’ve cleaned up what must amount to gallons of vomit and diarrhea. Yours, mine, and that of our children.
I’ve thrown up in the car, and you at work. We’ve washed soiled sheets in the middle of the night, done our best to clean puke out of carpet, and wiped diarrhea off the bathroom walls. We’ve comforted children who were woken in the darkness by their own awful retching, and we’ve tossed out numerous toys and books that were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
We have lost countless hours of sleep due to coughing fits and fevers that have left us chilled, even with 80 degree heat blowing from the vents. We have spent nights shivering on the bathroom floor and bathing sick children who didn’t make it to the bathroom in time. We have spent hours upon hours holding a sick toddler and stroking the hair of a sick child.
I’ve stumbled through Wal-Mart with puke in my hair and the sweat of sickness permeating from my pores. You’ve gone days without showering or shaving. At times, we have given up on feeding the kids real food, and have allowed them to eat popsicles and ice cream for days on end.
You’ve missed numerous days of work to not only care for yourself, but also to care for me and the kids. We have given up on making plans because we know that we likely won’t be able to follow through with them. Our social life has diminished, along with our energy.
We’ve cleaned the carseat a hundred times, but the stench of sickness remains. We’ve bleached the entire house, yet noxious germs continue to take over our lives. We’ve seen doctors. We’ve isolated ourselves for days on end. We’ve washed our hands until they’ve bled. And yet, our home continues to be invaded by disease.
This endless cycle of nurturing sick children and then neglecting them when we ourselves become too ill to move has broken us, but it hasn’t buried us.
I know it’s been a long season, husband. A season that has yet to end. But it won’t last forever. We’ve experienced enough difficult seasons to know that even the worst ones come to an end. We already know that we are survivors and just like those other hard seasons, this one will leave us better, stronger, and more connected.