Sunday, February 6, 2011


Inventory of Week:

Saturday: trip to ER where Josh is diagnosed with kidney stones
Sunday: skiing with the kids
Monday: Ben wakes at 4 to throw up and spends the day home sick
Tuesday: school cancelled due to near-record low temperatures; we spend morning in urgent care because Josh's pain is unbearable
Wednesday: school cancelled again; the kids and I visit the Denver Museum of Art
Thursday: full day of school, spin, volunteering in Ben's class, and ski lessons, punctuated by Abby's cries of pain through the afternoon and night due to ear pressure created by lingering congestion and elevation changes on our mountain roads
Friday: doctor's appointment for Abby (no ear infection, at least) and pancake dinner to celebrate Ben's completion of another box in his reading series
Saturday: quiet day of play and errands
Sunday: skiing with the kids

It's been quite a week.  Epic in its absolute lack of reliability, predictability, stability, stasis, or any other semblance of normalcy.

And yet all the more memorable for the moments of fun and sweetness in between the crises.

After soothing Abby back to sleep for the third time Thursday night--her tears upon waking nearly inconsolable as she waited for the latest dose of pain medicine to take effect--I lay in bed exhausted, yet thankful.  I found myself praying, gratitude overflowing from my heart: that our challenges are temporary, that our family is generally healthy, that I have the freedom to be home to take care of my family when they're sick, that I was able to find subs for my spin classes, that even though it had been a hard, hard week, we managed to ski and enjoy the art museum and read books together.

That when the pain in Abby's ear grew intolerable as we drove down snow-packed Squaw Pass from Ben's ski lesson Thursday, Benjamin--concerned and desperate to help--counted down the minutes until she could take more medicine in his most empathetic, big-brother voice.

Seeing someone you love in pain is all-consuming: it taxes every emotion, focuses all your energy to survival--theirs, and when it's over, depletes you of everything but overwhelming love, and gratitude that it's over.

It was an easier week for me than for them.  I did not have to feel the pain; I merely witnessed it.  Yet we all shared in this experience of family, of bearing together the sorrow and frustration of not being able to fix it, of not knowing what's around the corner, of not being able to count on the daily routines upon which we rely.  We lived minute-to minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day, holding our plans loosely, not knowing whether pain or illness or weariness would topple our finely crafted agenda.

Instead, we said, "Maybe we could...if everyone's okay...we'll see how we're feeling..."--and then accepted each moment as it presented itself.  It felt strange, almost irresponsible, to cancel plans one afternoon and hit the slopes the next. Yet this was our week.  One day we're rushing to the doctor, and the next, all is tranquil again.

Only one thing was constant: in each circumstance, we shared life in all its messy glory.

And at the end of this tenuous week, my heart aches and bursts with love so fierce, I know I can slay life's dragons with it.  For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, they are mine, and I am theirs--and this is enough.


  1. Perfectly written. Our weeks sound similar, minus the kidney stones. Give Josh our love and know that we are thinking of and praying for each of you. Sending hugs :)

  2. So sorry to hear it's been a hard week for you, too. Sending hugs right back. May this week bring calm and renewed strength. Love you guys!


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