autumn's blessings

Autumn is here.  The fall season used to be my absolute favorite time of year.  Few things can make me happier than fresh, cool air blowing through the house and the beautiful colors of changing leaves; time for baking cookies and pies, carving pumpkins, and looking forward to the upcoming holiday season.

Then we had kids.  Don't get me wrong, I still love all of those things about this time of year, but it's just not the same. 

This year there was an added element of excitement for the season with Quinn in preschool for the first time.  It was great fun shopping for a backpack and school clothes, even though a little bittersweet as these events mark the beginning of her journey into girlhood. 

BUT.  When you are blessed with children, September and October are daunting months as they provide a nice, cozy, undisturbed harbor for germs.  A cornucopia of germs, if you will.  I should be thankful that in my day and time there are such conveniences as alcohol hand gel and antibacterial wipes for faces and hands as well as household surfaces.  Honestly, I've been using them like a crazy person to avoid the impending doom brought on by lurking viruses and bacteria. 

A couple weeks ago Casey and I had the great opportunity to travel out of town for a couple of kid-free days.  Now I admit I'm not one of those moms who feels horribly guilty once I'm away, or one who needs to call every two hours because I'm worried about my children.  I love them dearly, but I do trust our family as caregivers and cherish time away to rejuvenate.  I believe it makes me a better parent.  My problem is the anticipation of leaving, and an unexplainable severe anxiety that someone will become ill before we leave.  So before our little getaway, I became so worked up about this I nearly became ill myself.  In the end nobody got sick, and we went and had a very nice time.  It's likely this pre-getaway anxiety about sickness will always haunt me as long as my children are small. 

But now the bugs are here.  Poor Liam has been hit the hardest with a never-ending cold, ear infections, and now both kids have been hit with a nasty flu virus.  And I'm quite certain that puke virus is out there waiting its turn.   I hate seeing my children not feeling well.  I hate rearranging schedules, missing work, and paying for daycare I'm not using all because my children are sick.  I also hate that I've spent time and effort disinfecting and making sure cups are not cross-contaminated -- all for nothing.  Who can afford this?  Not I. 

Side story:  Part of Quinn's virus has caused her to speak in a demon-like voice.  The demon has been substituted for her whining voice, and is accompanied by a twisted up scary face.  I'm sure down the line this will be something I can laugh about. 

This week I've spent five full days home with my children without going anywhere except to the clinic twice.  Seriously, how can a person entertain one child and one demon child within the same four walls for that many days?  It isn't possible.  I'm all out of ideas.  Even the illustrious SpongeBob SquarePants has lost his luster this week.  But I must say, I've cuddled and played with my children more in these five days than I have in the last month combined.  That is a blessing, even if in disguise.  We've had some good laughs and good fun amidst the sickness.  If vomit and high fever are what it takes to get some cuddle time, I'll do it once in awhile. 

After this round of the sickies, I do plan on disinfecting-- although I'm not sure why I bother.  I'm not yet hopeless I guess.  After disinfecting, I plan on making time to bake and enjoy the things I've always enjoyed about the season.  We're on the mend, thank God.  And please God, if you're listening, let us stay mended for at least a little while.  It's going to be a long wait for Spring.

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