Sam got sick for the first time last week. It was horrible. His face was flushed and slick with tears, snot, and drool most of the day and his glazed eyes revealed the depths of his otherwise uncommunicable misery. He refused to play, longed to be cuddled, held, and carried, and cried like he'd lost his best friend. Karl and I followed Dr. Sears' recommendations to the letter, treating Sam's symptoms with an arsenal of acetaminophen, saline drops, and warm baths, but the cold was stubborn. It was a full week before Sam's easy laugh returned.
I felt pangs of guilt following the worst moments. I thought about past instances when friends' children got sick and how poorly I had responded. Had I known how traumatizing the experience can be, I would have sent flowers, baked cakes, offered massages... Well, maybe not all that, but I would have been far more sympathetic. Now that I know the depths of exhaustion and frustration that are visited upon the house of an unwell infant I feel somehow better, wiser.