Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Gift of Carrion

Dead meat.
Squashed and mangled on the side of the road. Smelly and bruised and bloodied with bristly hairs sticking up at odd angles; bits of leaves and trash stuck to it. It used to be alive, vibrant and vital. Now it's just a distasteful lump. Avoided by gazes and by passersby. Don't want to get that on you.
This is me today.
Someone brought a cold home from school last month. And she shared. She's a loving girl, generous to a fault. Snuggly and sweet and shared her snot. And because we're a patient and caring family, we all took turns. Not everybody all at once. We savored the cold, passing it around like show and tell. Round 1.

It's all a haze of tissues and Tylenol and hot honey lemon tea now. Coughing, coughing, coughing. Eucalyptus steam baths in the middle of the night for little koalas who can't breathe to sleep. Stir crazy monkeys. Well enough to be grumpy, not well enough to go to school. Round 2.

Aching, spinning heads, wonky brains. Chills, exhaustion. Someone touched something somewhere. Didn't wash their hands. I'm positive of it. Someone thought that making blowfish on a glass door in a public place was a good idea. Or some such nonsense. A preschool holiday party that sounds like a TB ward. Sends me crawling out of my skin. Don't touch that kid, he's sticky. Someone shared again. Round 3.

Finally mending, first good night's sleep in weeks. Coughing has abated, color has returned. Personalities back to normal, whining ceased. Looking good for our impending road trip. Until yesterday afternoon, the Hooligan: "Mom! Mom!" an edge of fear in his voice, "Come here! I can't stop shivering!" I could feel the heat radiating off of him before I even touched him. Into the tub, onto the couch swaddled and Tylenol-ed. A night in fitful delirium, doing math problems out loud in his sleep, talking of trains and something is "f-f-f-fresh". Obviously not me.
I'm carrion.

But I will carry on.
This is the job I signed up for when that extra line showed up on the stick. This is part of the mission. This is the onus of parenthood.
 To carry on.
Without resentment, but with gratitude for strong and healthy children whose illness is only seasonal; for a faithful, dedicated partner in this endeavor. With purpose: to create a warm and safe and comforting place for little people to feel so bad. With one foot in front of the other.

To carry on.
Even when you feel like carrion.


  1. Ah, the days when you couldn't help thinking of the world as a petri dish full of microbes...

    Hope everyone is feeling better soon. And loved the carry on/carrion thing.

  2. VERY well written. Love the carry on / carrion thingy too. and, let me assure you, I suspect the fun has only just begun.

  3. Aw. Gross, but totally funny. And heartwarming. Here's hoping everyone feels better soon. There's only so much hot dog lemon tea carrion can handle.



  4. Best closing lines ever...carry on, carrion! Love it. And a preschool class that sounds like a TB ward? Heaven help us. Sounds like you have been through it. Best wishes for a healthy Christmas, glad you can care for your sick little monkeys. xoxo Feel better.

  5. Wow, you continue to amaze me. That was beautiful, but I'm leaving now, before I'm the one being tylenol-ed! Hope everyone gets well soon!!

  6. I think all teenagers who have sex should have to spend a week or even a day with sick kids. Might make them more careful!
    Hope you make it through the holidays unscathed!

  7. It is what we signed up for isn't it? Someday I will share my idea for an alphabet book with you. But not until those little ones are better! Great post!

    **mogistes - that's a good one.**

  8. After the munchkins are better, I think you and faithful, dedicated partner should take "carry-on" to the next level, and embark on a journey which requires another type of carry-on: luggage.

  9. How very true! And how well-written- loved the play on words, very clever:)

  10. Thanks everyone! It seems sort of odd for me to say this, but my little blog world is one of the things that has kept me going through a pretty stressful couple of weeks. Thanks to all of you.


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