Tales of High Fevers and Failed Plans

A week ago today I was curled up in a ball, running a fever, hallucinating and barely able to take care of myself let alone my family.  I felt sad and overwhelmed.  Starting at about 3:00am on Thanksgiving morning until now we have had at least one sick person at our house constantly.

We’ve had everything from influenza to ear infections.  And poor baby Ruth she had pneumonia and then got croup on top of that!  I was freaking out.  Literally this past month everything has taken a back seat to just making it through the day—feeding, medicating, humidifying, changing sheets, changing clothes, checking temperatures…it was kind of a lot….and to top it all off my mom was in the hospital having surgery.

It all suddenly seemed like too much and I threw myself a pity party.  This holiday season we had missed every family and neighborhood party….and all those great plans we had for the season were not going to happen. 

My girls getting to wear their fancy holiday dresses?  Nope.  Gingerbread men made and eaten together?  None.  Car rides to find Christmas lights?  Nada.  Family gatherings attended together?  Zip.  Warm cups of wassail sipped in fancy tea cups?  Zero  Gifts finished, purchased, or wrapped?  Zilch.

Just make it through the day.  Survive the nights.  Repeat.

But last Friday I was tired of the cycle and I wanted the parties and the gift making and the memories and I had a melt down.  I don’t remember falling asleep but I do remember waking up the next day in a pile on the floor.  I was covered in blankets and surrounded by toys (put there by my husband and kids).   It was then I realized I needed to change my attitude. 

What did I want for Christmas?  To be together.  And was I going to get it?  For sure—no one else wanted to get within a mile of our family and it’s accompanying sickness.  So the pity party ended and I decided from that minute on we were going to have a very merry Christmas no matter what.

I’d like to say from there everything went well…but not so much.  Fevers continued, nausea returned,  my husband was called into work on the holiday, and I had to run to the store on Christmas day to get more toilet paper for my kids digestive issues…but we made the best.  And we were happy.

And I guess that is the point of my post and why I’m even writing down this long story.  We were happy.  My husband and I took down the Christmas tree and put away all the decorations yesterday and he ask me if I was sad about this year.  To my surprise, I wasn’t and am not.  And neither is he.

Sure I love the gift giving, craft making, wrapping, sparkly craziness of the holidays just as much as the next guy (probably just a bit more actually) so I should be devastated.  But yesterday as my family played around in the house in their pajamas (old ones—not the new homemade ones I had planned to make) I realized that I was indeed very very happy.  I had my family and we were together.  And if I have that, what else matters?  Not a few white elephant gifts, that’s for sure.

It’s a funny thing, this past holiday season.  I feel like the Grinch who was shocked that Christmas came without presents, ribbons, or bows…and I felt like writing it down.  Even if I’m not explaining it very well.  (Still a bit sleep deprived…)

Christmas night after opening her less that a handful of gifts Grace announced that this had been “the best Christmas ever!”  I’m not sure that this Christmas will go down in my memory as the best ever but it definitely will be remembered.  I only hope I’m smart enough to remember the lessons that I learned this year about the importance of attitude—and of remembering what is really important.

Have a good weekend.
We’ll see you soon.

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  1. says

    Hope everyone is better at your place. We’ve all been sick, too, though not to the same extent. But high fevers? Check. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea? check. Colds? Check. Everybody getting it in both households (we take care of my brother’s kids)? Check.

    And the short periods between illnesses when we would have done holiday baking and such? Well, the oven broke down just before Thanksgiving. And we had it fixed this summer and the repair people knew that they should order a new part, because the one they installed was defective, but didn’t do it, so our oven won’t be fixed until tomorrow… after the majority of the baking holidays are over. And my sewing machine broke, so I had to borrow one and discovered that drop in bobbins STINK. Through the stint of many late nights, I did manage to finish my Christmas sewing, including two matching pink and purple nightgowns with sparkly buttons, a giraffe, a pangolin, a pink dino (by request!), one Georgia Institute of Technology old gold bow tie, two pairs of mustache pajama pants, one train conductor’s outfit complete with hat, stripey overalls, shirt and neckerchief (To which the recipient said, “Oh not more clothes!”), three pairs of pajamas, and two matching fancy Christmas dresses. Many, many late nights and pushing through illness later, as well as a wrapping marathon, I’m glad it’s over. The tree and decorations go down this weekend.

  2. says

    Hope you all are feeling better soon! We, too, had a low key Christmas. It was our choice. With age, comes perspective. We had a lovely Christmas, with family, and that is enough.

  3. says

    Oh, boy, your holiday was worse than mine, and I thought mine was bad! Both daughter and I got flu which turned into pneumonia, and managed to just get better before Christmas, but then my dad got it, too. So many things were left undone, but like you, I realized that the important things, like being together, mattered more than what we missed. Hope you are all getting better.

  4. says

    You poor thing – but you found out that life goes on – I love that you made a conscious commitment to make the best of it. And guess what? Gingerbead men and new homemade jammies are just as fun in January, maybe even better, without all the rush. Hope you all are well soon – this year seems to be especially nasty with the flus and colds. It’s stressful for a mama to worry about her babies getting well – give yourself a break, too.

  5. says

    Hugs to you liZ! It would be so awesome if mothers never got sick. So glad you were able to change your attitude and have a better holiday; such a good example to me. There were lots of things I wasn’t able to do this holiday season either but, like Stef said, they will still be fun in January or February or next year. Hope everyone’s finally better soon!!!!!

  6. says

    We’ve all been sick on this end – but luckily just colds and sinus infections -so not nearly as bad. It hit me this year that I could do without ALL of the traditions – all I wanted was to spend time with family, snuggle with my husband, and smile at the new memories. The gifts, cookies, and parties are awesome – but nothing when compared to watching my boys learn to throw and ‘catch’, or listening to them talk in gibberish with real words thrown in, or seeing just how far baby girl can make it in her army crawl quest for the lost cheerio. Hugs to you and all your family -hopefully the new year brings health and many more amazing memories ;o)

  7. says

    Thanks for sharing. I really hope you all get better soon. It’s funny how we can give ourselves so much to do over the holidays that it can take the joy right out of it! Way to make the best of a bad situation.

  8. says

    Liz–I am so sorry that things hadn’t gone as “planned”. I know I would be frustrated, upset, etc. if I were in your shoes. Mom being sick is the hardest. I suffer from migraines and every so often one gets me and I have to leave the action. It is a downer and can get very frustrating. I do know that regarding plans made, in the end I am always happy to be back to square one–healthy, the routine, schedule, fun. I am so glad you were able to come around. Just think of how happy you will all be when this all passes. The joy will have returned and it will be a memory–hopefully one of strength, commitment to family, and a memory of what is most important–the health of our children and family. Here is to a wonderful 2013.

  9. says

    I’m so sorry. This post was great for me. Too many commitments and too little time and holiday colds all around left me a little bit Grinch-y this year. Hope that everyone is on the mend at your house and that you have a Happy New Year!

  10. says

    Thanks so much for sharing this story with us all Liz. I had the same realization myself this past holiday season: it is what you make it.

    I had to work Christmas Eve so my family decided that they would leave me behind in the Christmas traveling and celebrating. They left both my grandfather and I behind. I woke up Christmas, down I was alone and then I decided just because my whole family wasn’t with me didn’t mean I couldn’t still celebrate. So I got up and made Christmas breakfast for myself and my grandfather. I know he won’t remember the memory and I know he wasn’t fully aware of what was going on, but I will always have those memories of eating pancakes and cinnamon rolls together and him laughing at me trying to make a gingerbread man 🙂

  11. says

    uggh. so glad you are all on the mend! what a crazy christmas, but you are right…i am never so grateful for health as when i am sick…never so grateful to be with family as when i am not…and this christmas you will remember forever, and be grateful for the rest!:) hope your new years celebration is rockin.

  12. says

    Oh no liZ! I have been terrible this past month at keeping in touch with people, and am so disheartened to hear that you & your lovely family have been ill. Even through our challenges, I am always amazed that we can try to find the best of the situation and let there be joy. Kudos to you for realizing what is truly important! Get better soon!!!

  13. says

    You poor thing!! Isn’t it terrible, especially during winter? I feel like once someone gets sick, we just keep passing it around the family till spring, eventhough I keep the house clean and make them wash their hands and gargle all the time. Thank you for the lovely post though, I am gonna remember what you shared with us. 🙂
    Take care and have a happy new year!

  14. says

    I love this post. I mean, I am very sorry you are sick, and your family, too. That you have been through such a rough past few weeks. But I love the reminder of perspective and finding joy no matter what. You are amazing!

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