Tuesday, July 9, 2013


July brought a big surprise visitor to the Sanatorium.

The flu.

He burst into our busy world, announcing his presence with Evie throwing up on our bedroom floor. One by one, he visited all seven of us—aches, headache, malaise, and violent gut reactions.
As bad as it was around here, there is one thing I love about the flu. I love how amazing it feels when he’s finally gone--when you wake up one morning and recognize your old self is returning from a brief hiatus.

Little things in daily life shine more vibrantly.
Sparklers are brighter and better. 

A surprise morning rainstorm stops all planned morning activity.
Somehow Lily slept through the whole thing.

Another funny thing about the flu this past week: I reveled in the small, quiet moments I spent with my kids. 
Micah is nine years old now. He is rough and noisy and crazy and fun, and rarely does he need his mom these days.  He fought off Mr. Flu longer than anyone else, and I thought he had actually avoided him altogether, until the complaining started (at 5 pm) about how tired he was and how much his head hurt. I sent him up to bed at 6:15 to read and relax, but you would have thought I was punishing him for bad behavior when he cried all the way up the stairs about how unfair it was that he had to go to bed early.

 When I made it up to his room forty-five minutes later, he was already asleep with his reading light on and his book open on the bed next to him.  I rubbed his brown back for a moment.  He’s at the end of kidhood, coming up fast on tweendom, and I’m not ready to let him grow up any more.
Hyrum and I were both sick on Wednesday evening, and he climbed up into bed with me—his favorite blanket wrapped around his growing body--for a long snuggle and some quiet talk.  I loved stroking his sun-bleached hair and soft face as we both fought off a touch of nausea. I couldn’t believe how big he’s getting, and the realization that one day soon he will be too big for such moments made this moment that much sweeter.
On two separate mornings, I walked in on my two teenagers asleep next to the toilet with pillows, blankets and pale faces.  Teenagers are sick a little more privately—sleeping their infections away in the privacy of their bedrooms or in front of Apple TV with a glass of water and a big bowl nearby in case of an emergency. Just having them home and still was good for a mom’s heart.
Evie seemed to battle the bug longer and harder than the rest of us.  One evening, almost a week after her first symptoms appeared, she came to me with a glazed look in her eye that I recognized as fever.  Daddy brought us a cool rag, and I sat with her in her tiny bed, holding that cool cloth to her head as she relaxed and fell asleep, the black curtain of her eyelashes casting long shadows across her cheek.  I couldn’t believe how beautiful she was in that tender moment, and I offered a silent prayer of gratitude that she is mine.

A prayer of gratitude that all of them are mine.

Nothing like the Fourth of July, a rainstorm, and the flu to make you wax maternal.

Who knew?


  1. Oh boy does this bring back memories. I remember having the flu for a week and 4 out of 5 kiddos getting it. They all came into my room and it looked like a hospital ward. My husband and oldest son brought trays of food or drinks and set it outside the door. It felt like we were in a quarantine. My oldest daughter was in bed with me and one child on each side of the bed on the floor and one at the foot of the bed on the floor. We each had our own bucket and I swear to you at one point we were all throwing up at the same time. I just laughed, what else could you do, but laugh? I'm glad you are all feeling better. We would have loved to have firewoks for the 4th of July, but for the second year in a row, we have had a firework ban (even sparklers).

  2. What beautiful writing, Jen. I loved reading this one. And I related to it in every way.

    Glad you are all recovered now!


  3. this morning max is covered in pink spots and brennan has a huge sore in his mouth. we are supposed to be leaving for our one and only week long summer vacation sunday. please don't let it be hand foot and mouth. pah-leeeease let it be a regular old canker and some weird spotted viral rash that means nothing. please don't let it be a canker and the chicken pox. fingers crossed:)