Note: This column was published in the Barrow Journal on March 13, 2013.
Last week was my husband’s spring break, so we had planned some family excursions. Unfortunately, the six-year-old came down with a nasty stomach virus, and as I write this, the three-year-old is sniffling and sneezing.
My six-year-old was camped out on the sofa for four days, and more than one day I felt my blood pressure quicken while listening to him moan and try to overcome the nausea. I couldn’t concentrate on anything, and I got so tense watching him lose weight that now I have a muscle spasm in my shoulder.
My heart goes out to parents who are dealing with chronic illnesses in their children. I can hardly stand to think about stuff like that.
My husband dealt with it in his own way. Not able to concentrate on his work, he busied himself with a different kind of work: cleaning out his upstairs closet. Don’t ask me how it is a man gets to claim a whole other closet as his own while my stuff is crammed into half of our small bedroom closet, but such is the case in our house. (Oh, he likes to tell me I have the bigger dresser, but I remind him that he claimed that extra closet as soon as we moved in. I only got the dresser a couple of years ago.)
He also installed new, more efficient light bulbs throughout our house, and now my bathroom is like walking into the afterlife. We have the sun in our hallway too. Still, I appreciate how he thinks about things like light bulbs and how he uses a busted spring break to clean out his closet.
My three-year-old took advantage of his older brother’s illness by getting me all to himself. He had me doing big floor puzzles, throwing balls, and coloring big posters of the Dinosaur Train characters. One morning we colored, painted with watercolors and then made a space shuttle out of clay all in the span of about two hours.
When the six-year-old is sick, I start to realize how helpful Older Brother is regarding spending time and playing with the three-year-old! I promise to never take him for granted again.
I didn’t mind spending all that time with the three-year-old though. It reminded me of the one-on-one time I had with the six-year-old for three years before he was born. Though I wouldn’t trade either child for anything, there is something sweet about focusing your attention on one child. Noticing his every move. Hearing his every word. Just you and him.
I used to spend so much time outside with my firstborn, exploring our yard and taking hundreds of photos with my first digital point and shoot. Flowers, twigs, bugs and sunshine were our toys. Now I try to get both boys outside playing together while I steal time to myself. If I join them, they compete for my attention, and the sunshine isn’t so relaxing anymore.
When they’re both healthy, there’s always a little friction, but I’m lucky that they get along so well most of the time. They are good companions for one another.
The forecast is predicting warm weather this week. I’m very hopeful that we’ll be healthy again once this goes to print, and we’ll be playing in the yard or taking some kind of excursion. Spring is peeping its head around the corner, and I’m running to it, arms flailing, ready to embrace it.
How is your spring break going?