Just Write {75}

March 4, 2013

She had been up and down all night, sick and burning up. We spent the day tied together with a sling that she still fits tucked in. Either that, or rocking in a chair, her head on my shoulder, mouth open with heavy sleep. When we’d walk around the house, her on my hip in the sling and her head still on my chest, her arms dangled limp like they were lifeless.

She needed me a lot.

I cleaned up her sickness, from the floor or her crib or her clothes, over and over. I held a towel in front of her to catch her sick over and over and softly repeated, it’s going to be okay, it’ll be okay. And then my heart would follow that whisper with its own prayer for it to be okay. Her fever was 103 and she wasn’t keeping anything down, and it was going on four days.

We were rocking again and I thought about babies, toddlers, children, the ones who don’t have someone to catch them or their sickness or to clean it up. I sniffed Elsie’s hair and I felt a lump in my throat because sometimes you just can’t push it away in denial or compassion fatigue. I closed my eyes and let myself imagine orphan babies or neglected children, right there in our home. How for them it would feel so foreign to be loved and cared for like this.

I let myself get sad about this because that’s how I am more sure to remember to help in the ways that I can.

Every time I started to hum or sing, Elsie mumbled mmm mmm, which I’ll translate as uh uh, as in no, stop that. 

Then I would laugh as quietly as I could because she had no energy to lift her arms, but she could tell me to stop singing, that’s how bad my singing really is.

Last night I dreamt she was feeling better and she was talking more. She’s been slow to add more words, not in a way that worries me, but just in her own time. So I woke up and realized what it had felt like in my dream–a relief to hear her start to put words together, to be able to tell us what she’s trying to tell us. Today, my dream came true. She started to feel better, and she started to talk.  She asked for both cheese and water. cheesh and wawa.

I cheered.


This is the 75th installment of Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments. {Please see the details here.} I would love to read your freely written words so join me and link up below. You can add the url of your post at any time. Just be sure it’s a link to your Just Write post, not to your main page, and please don’t link to posts that are not freely written in the spirit of capturing moments–you know, don’t link to how-to lists or sponsored posts. I want people to remember that this is about writing and not about traffic. Also, please link back to this post in your post so people know where to go if they’d like to join in.

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