That "shore of health and well being" I mentioned in my last post? The one I thought I could see beckoning welcomingly in the near distance?
It was a total illusion.
After baths on Sunday morning, all three of my children were playing and watching cartoons as I readied myself for Mass, and I was so happy that they were all in such good spirits. In fact, I had to keep reminding them to "settle down and practice being still...we're on our way to church!"
As we took our place in the pew, however, Dylan seemed very clingy, slumping against me and complaining that he was tired. "Mommy, will you please hold me?" he kept asking. His behavior was completely out of character, and I was instantly suspicious. As the Mass progressed, I noticed he felt warmer and warmer, and by the time we got home about an hour later, his cheeks were flushed and his eyes had that glassy, feverish look I've come to recognize all too well. I checked his temperature, and sure enough: 102.7!
He wanted to sleep, and went straight to bed after taking some children's Tylenol. He felt a little better that afternoon, but after dinner his temperature was back up to 102.2. This morning he woke up coughing and complaining of a sore throat, and his temperature was again elevated. (Luckily, though, my girls still seem to be doing better!)
I was feeling really bad for him--for all my kids--and a little sorry for myself this morning, so I decided to try and make today the best it could be under the circumstances. Rather than rushing through our usual morning routine, we played a little longer, ate breakfast a little later, and didn't change out of pajamas until 10:00. We were in the kitchen when I had the idea to prepare a special little Spring tea party for us to enjoy together. My kids were so excited--we love tea parties! Dylan quickly began searching the bookshelves for all his books on Spring, and Caitlyn and I got to work making some sugar cookie dough. My intention was to let the dough chill while we had lunch and cleaned up the kitchen, by which time we'd be able to bake and decorate our cookies. Sweet little Meghan, however, fell asleep in her high chair just as Dylan and Caitlyn were finishing their lunch, so, after gently transferring her to her crib, I seized the opportunity to have a nice long nap with the older kids in my room. We all really needed the rest, but it was so late when we finally woke up that we decided to postpone our little party until after dinner--even better, in our estimation, because then Daddy would be able to participate, too! We went ahead and made our cookies and strawberry Kool-Aid, and read from the pile of Dylan's book selections.
It was so precious tonight to see how excited Dylan and Caitlyn were to be served--on their very own little place settings, with our very special glass dishes--the cookies and drinks we made together this afternoon. I think there is nothing in the world that I wouldn't do to see their sweet faces light up the way they did tonight, and I marvel at the fact that I can do that for them with just a little extra effort and a lot more love and patience.
This was, indeed, a most splendid little tea party.