I had the nicest surprise today…

But first to set the stage.

Over the last month, I’ve had only two full nights sleep (I wish I was exaggerating!). Our littlest guy has been sick – and I’m his preferred go-to-man. It started w/the generic “virus” – translated no medicine and prepare to suffer for at least a week. He then moved into an double ear infection – translated medicine, but it doesn’t seemed to have worked. So every night, we get to enjoy each other’s company. Jack prefers couch time (rather than simply getting into our bed) plus late-night, really early morning, t.v. Let me tell you, it’s slim pickins at 3 a.m.

As if on cue, last night at three, I heard the call. I tried to ignore him, but sound travels well in our house and I couldn’t afford the others waking up too. So up we got, down the stairs we went and on the couch we sat. Snuggled in our blankets, we flipped on the toob. Disney Channel was sporting a creepy Little Mermaid episode (that’s all I need, nightmares added to whatever else was bothering him) so I tried to distract him with ESPN.

That’s when we landed on X-Games. Granted it was a re-run, but we didn’t care. The tricks these kids do on skis, snowboards, snowmobiles are unbelievable. As I watched the amazing athletes do their thing, loving every minute of it, I was struck by the fact that these kids are working super hard to get to the top of their field. They may have the groovy swag, but there is no way to get to that level without countless hours of hard work, conditioning and sacrifice. It was encouraging to know that great accomplishments can be achieved by a hard-working teen. Find the right thing, and watch a kid go beyond any limits you might set for them.

As I considered each of my kids, thinking about their “right thing”, I heard an all-too-familiar cough. Moms know it. That dreaded one that introduces a nice session of vomiting. So as not to disappoint, the heaving came on cue. And proceeded to come for the next four hours. Huge bummer. Barf on him, barf on me. 1, 2, 3 times … then respite for a spell. I ran upstairs to get out of my aromatic and wet shirt, only to hear him heaving again. It’s a terrible thing at any age, but there is something especially pathetic watching a 2-year old wretch, begging for help that I can’t give. (On the lighter side, we did get to see Dallas’ record setting snow storm before anyone else :)

Anyway, by 5:45, I knew the night was shot. At 6:30, I had to take Jon to a near-by surgical center for a knee-scoping he had scheduled the week before. At this point, I was praying for containment. It really wouldn’t be good for Jon to catch this thing. With my family out of town and not sure of which friends I could call for a sister-favor, I hoped it wouldn’t hit me either. I drive up and basically kick Jon out of the car at the surgi-center as Jack throws up in the back seat, then race back home to get kids ready for and delivered to school. After drop-off, I take our 11-year old to the orthodontist for them to put on her bottom braces. Poor Jack sat in my lap, miserable, as I prayed again … this time that he would not throw up in the orthodontist’s. I felt so guilty taking him in there, I wasn’t sure I could bear cleaning up their furniture.

Topping it all off, the 13-year old comes home with a raging fever, Jon (whose surgery went well) is out for the count, and I keep getting hit with stream of seemingly never-ending requests (from making the valentine boxes we had procrastinated doing to finding all the gloves and coats so the healthy ones could play in the snow). I was hurting — the lack of sleep was taking its toll.

Then I go upstairs. Their rooms, every bed, every bathroom – clutter free and beautifully made. I’m sure it doesn’t seem like much to most of you, but their diligence put a very welcomed rainbow in my stormy day. Without reminders, sans nagging, they had each stepped up to the plate on a day that I really needed a boost.

No need to point out that my room was a mess. I decided that a bed must have been slept in for at least four hours to warrant making. I get a free ride today.

Thanks for walking the road with me.

Ironing Board Tip of the Day:
A couple of terrific books: Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel; Parenting Today’s Adolescents by Dennis Rainey. Great reads, especially if you can get a group of parents to read through and discuss together.

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