Thursday, January 29, 2009

Time warp

We were in another dimension for the past couple of weeks. We went to a place where time is suspended, where our old lives are, in fact, put on hold. It was a time of being imprisoned in our house except for a couple of forays into the medical world. We're emerging from our exile now, and I can't believe it has only been about 10 days. It seemed like forever.

On Wednesday Fred suddenly spiked a fever of 103 and with it chills and a horrifying cough. On Thursday, my little Liana fell too, and then Arielle on Friday. My world was confined to dispensing Motrin, cough syrup, and soft foods and cold drinks. The girls had no interest in TV, books, games, or anything. Everyone was in a stupor, alternating between sleep and moaning. Saturday skipped me, but then Sunday morning I ached so bad with fever I could hardly walk across my bedroom. Arielle, feeling a little better, brought me applesauce and water. Fred brought medicine. Monday, we all felt somewhat better. We were still weak, but we were thinking we were on the other side of this. But no, the girls began a new round of fever and coughing. I was especially worried about Arielle. Her cough just wouldn't let up. Another trip to the doctor. He ordered a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia. For anyone feeling smug because you had your flu shot--think again! Our doctor did two tests that came back negative for influenza.

Fred and I joked saying, "Remember when we used to all eat dinner together?" Or, "Remember when we watched a movie and made popcorn on Friday night?" Those days seem remote when you are in the midst of illness. We decided we loved our old life!

Then, just as suddenly as it all began, Arielle's fever abruptly ended. She was fine the next day. For all my complaining, I am grateful. I think of people who live this life every day for a long, long time. People with serious illnesses with no hope of recovery. People who long for the old life when good health was taken for granted and now is a much coveted gift. Love your life, thank God for your health.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Words of wisdom

A strange thing happened on Christmas Eve during the girls' rehearsal. Two days earlier I had been to the hospital for a medical test to rule out a disease that took my grandmother's life. I did not know the results. So this day I was sitting in a front pew of church watching my girls practice their song and other people practice their lines for the Christmas play. During a break an older woman I never saw before came and sat down beside me unexpectedly. She poured out her heart to me and told me she had just been diagnosed in March with this same disease! She had refused chemotherapy and was caring for herself with a special diet. I then told her about my test. She said very forcefully to me, "Stop eating sugar. It causes cancer and it is a big factor in aging. Think of your girls." Then she walked away.

My diet has been an issue for awhile. (This woman, of course, did not know that.) I know I should be eating more nutritious food and not eating other things. I don't have a weight problem so no one would guess my battles with food. Except God.

I take very seriously what this woman said to me. This is no New Year Resolution to try out for the month of January. This is a decision I make now for a lifetime. Not recklessly eliminating specific foods, but being more responsible about what I eat. I will be obedient to this solemn warning. I don't want to leave this world before my girls are grown.

My test came back normal. Our God has been gracious to me.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Reliving the season

I'm not ready to press ahead to the New Year yet. It has been a wonderful season and I want to relive some of the good times. My daughters, this is for you. You two made Christmas so much fun this year! I am grateful to have shared it once again with you and your dad.

First, there was the trip to the farm to choose our tree. Daddy set up his huge train town underneath it and you girls carefully unwrapped the ornaments and hung them on the branches. You both said this day was the very best.

What about driving around at night? I loved hearing you girls yell out, "Beauts!" everytime we passed a decorated house. Remember when Daddy played the CD with "What Child Is This?" over and over really loud and we drove around to find the best houses? What about that one house Helen told us about that was covered in colored lights that were synchronized to blink in time to a radio station playing Christmas music?

We had fun at the mall a couple of times too. Arielle, you helped Dad choose a Land's End outfit for me while Liana and I got gifts for Dad. Then we went to that fancy kitchen store and ate the free samples of peppermint bark they passed out. We saw the old REAL Santa, the same one who used to hold you both on his lap when you were babies. He is still holding babies, but you girls are too big now and you just like to go and watch him for a few minutes.

You had a good time rolling out, cutting and icing the Christmas cookies. What talented girls you are! The cookies were beautiful. But then after you went to bed, Dad ate the best ones! He loves those kind of cookies.

We sat in our favorite spot at the Christmas concert at church, right in front of the violins. All three of us liked the same song the best--the one where Mary and Elizabeth sing back and forth. We finally got to watch "The Story of the Nativity" on DVD and it made us think about what it might have really been like that Holy Night.

You girls had fun watching the UPS man bring all those packages to the door, thanks to Mom and Dad's late-night shopping on Amazon and the generosity of out-of-state family and friends. Stacia and Dominic came and you spent the day making a gingerbread house and snowflake decorations for the windows. Then there were many nights of watching your favorite holiday shows with Dad supervising the two of you roasting marshmallows in the wood stove.

Finally, with the big day almost here, we went to church on a rainy, windy Christmas Eve in the afternoon to rehearse the duet you girls were to sing for hundreds of people at the two services that evening. I was so proud of you. With great poise and confidence you both climbed the stairs right on cue and walked to the microphone. You sang beautifully with all your hearts as I watched your precious little faces up there. You stayed to sing the final carols and then, before you could come back down to us, Daddy jumped up from his seat and grabbed you, Liana, whirling you down from the stage, your poofy skirt flying. Then, Arielle, he lifted you down in his strong arms too. He wanted everyone to know you two were his daughters!

The next morning, all your brothers, sister, and their families arrived for our traditional gift-opening and dinner. I know you girls love being with the whole big family. Every step leading up to Christmas was wonderful this year. Thank you, girls!