I don't do this well...
this hustling back and forth an hour away to town so I can lift one child after another atop the blue exam table for a doctor to shine lights in little ears and throats, put stethoscope to rising and falling chests. All the while, I rattle off every blurry textbook detail of the past five days since we last saw him.
He is a solemn one, this doctor...good poker face as he looks, listens, and nods about wet coughs, fevers above 105, and oldest son talking dazed gibberish when heat makes brain synapses misfire. When all three have had their turn, he writes another script for medicine, but not because he knows much more than I do about this mystery illness that has survived round one of antibiotics. Words "drug resistant" resonate as we set out for home, me fighting traffic while two in the back slump in exhaustion from their battles.
I don't do this well...
these nights spent with alarm clock set every four hours, a reminder for this also sick mother who would otherwise sleep soundly until well past the early lights of dawn, even while her children sweated feverishly a few feet away in their rooms, making wide puddles on bedsheets.
I sleep on hall couch, a sentinel with two kittens curled atop my toes, night guard against fever-wandering children who have lost their way.
At best, I wake with the four-hour siren for a soft shaking of little shoulders to wake just long enough to suck down a dose of Ibuprofen, my pen recording temperatures that this mommy's fogged brain will soon forget, just like I once did with feeding schedules for newborn twins.
At worst, fevers spike early, oldest gags on the medicine so that last night's supper coats PJ's and bedclothes. Midnight sees me giving a second cooling bath and the washer whirring rhythmically.
I don't do this well.
My mother in law tells me she used to almost enjoy when my husband was sick, because that was the one time she was sure to get in all the close in-her-arms lovings he was usually too busy to give. I shake my head in agreement, all the while feeling like a lousy mother because the busyness of three children sick at once just doesn't allow for getting a love-bank full of long cuddles I'd love to receive.
What's worse, I remember earlier in the day, Emerson asking me to rock him (again) but I didn't get around to it this last time, what with the checking fevers; shoving tissues under pouring, snotty, sneezy noses and saying "blow;" putting cleaned sheets on the beds; praying sentence prayers aloud; administering unwanted medicine; and encouraging each to drink more or eat something!
And then I slow to read about storms and symbols of hope, of mercy in a trial. Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary says, "The rainbow appears when the clouds are most disposed to wet, and returns after the rain; when we have most reason to fear the rain prevailing, then God shows this seal of the promise that it shall not prevail. Thus God obviates our fears with such encouragements as are both suitable and seasonable. The thicker the cloud the brighter the bow in the cloud. Thus, as threatening afflictions abound, encouraging consolations much more abound."
The thicker the cloud, the brighter the bow. No matter how well I'm not walking through this thick cloud, He is here with me. His encouragement abounds in rainbows of consolation...if I can only remember to look up.
Photo: One sick boy perches atop couch while another temporarily fever-free boy looks in surprise that mommy has brought out the camera again.