Tuesday, February 1, 2011


:becoming fully developed

K was home sick today.  While I've not referenced it a lot on my blog, we've had crazy weather of late.  School started back in session January 4, but we've yet to have a five day school week, thanks to snow, snow and more snow.  This week looks like one that will accommodate buses running their normal routes, so it will likely provide that elusive gift of five straight days at school - for all but K.

There's never a great time for your child to be sick and I freely admit that we are blessed with generally good health.  A and K didn't miss a single day of school last year and B only missed the very last half-day, thanks to a case of strep throat.  That's pretty remarkable for a family with three children in an elementary school, a veritable petri dish of illness, germs and assorted yuck.  So I've tried to accept K's fever with grace - and no small amount of gratitude.

Perhaps it seems odd to greet illness with gratitude, but as I lay in K's tiny twin bed with her last night, her body fiery beneath her pajamas, I was immensely grateful for readily available fever reducers like Tylenol.  Thanks to the country we live in, the medical advances of those who came before us and our economic means, we can easily obtain medicine to lower a fever.  It's an inconvenience, not an event to strike terror in my heart.  But were I another mom - born a century ago, living on another continent or mere miles from my own home, but with no money until the next paycheck - I could not simply pray for my child's comfort.  I would pray for her life.  If it takes a fever in a family member to jolt me out of my smug complacency, I will be grateful for the high temp and the medicine that reins it in.  As the day wore on and it became apparent that K's fever was not your garden variety, I was given cause to be even more grateful for the blessings I have.  A quick trip to the doctor confirmed strep throat and an injection of antibiotics coupled with a bit more Tylenol has K sleeping away at the moment.

K herself has given me much to be thankful for on a rainy day, stuck at home, missing out on my spiritual direction group.  Because this day alone with K was a reminder of similar days two or three years ago.  Days when A and B were in school and I had more alone time with K.  Back then, I was working part time and had one or two days weekly at home with K.  She was a challenging toddler, talking non-stop, seemingly unable to entertain herself, never able to get enough of being with me.  It was a bit stifling.

Today was different.  K stayed in bed after her sisters were up and moving.  But she emerged for breakfast, ate her oatmeal and then went back to her room to play.  She played quietly all alone there for a few hours, until she finally came out and asked to use the new stamps her Me Me had given her.  I helped her gather assorted materials and K got to work on making Valentine's cards for her classmates.  She made a few before her fever started creeping back up and I offered that rare weekday treat of TV time.

Perhaps a few hours of solo play and crafting doesn't sound like a big deal, but it's a big deal for this child.  K is the consummate extrovert, happiest when surrounded by people, most content with friends by her side.  Yet today she entertained herself in a way I feared she could never do.  It made me thankful, but it also made me realize how quickly and how much she is maturing.  The Kate of two years ago couldn't have played and created without more direction, participation and interaction from me.  Nor would she have wanted to.

K is not only growing up, she's developing skills she didn't have before.  This made me wonder whether I'm maturing along with her.  Am I the same Shannon I was two years ago?  I was encouraged to realize I'm not and one way I know that I'm not is that I was sad today.  Sad that K was sick, yes.  But also sad that I wasn't able to attend my monthly spiritual direction group, sad to not get my Tuesday alone while A is at tutorial.  Being sad doesn't mean I don't love K.  It doesn't mean I'm a bad mom.  Or a selfish person.  It's OK and even healthy for me to mourn life's little deaths and disappointments.  Today brought some of that, but it also brought a realization that I'm maturing and so is my K.

K playing with her toys on a healthier day


EJN said...

Hope K. feels 100% soon. I love the silver lining.
Bless you all!

aimee said...

alright but next time i'm bringing the flu, the coughing sickness with bloody nose, and the stomach virus over to your house :)
so glad you took kate in, and yes, I'm so thankful for medicines when they're really needed.
the sun is shining today!

Anonymous said...

Shannon, you are such a loving and thoughtful mother on behalf of your children and those you love. It's so evident in your writing. What a gift you are!

love, Gail