There are times when the fragility of life is so vivid that it lays on the surface of everywhere you look, trembling like a membrane in String Theory, waiting to be pressed, passed through, and revealed for the tiny and delicate place it truly has in the universe.
Ever has been so sick the last few weeks, a doctor appointment ended with asthmatic complications from a chest cold, so we began her breathing treatments. When days later that worsened, we went back and were told she had a double ear infection and sinus infection, and amoxicillan was prescribed. Wednesday, Lola was holding her outside the house when she tripped on her shoelace and they fell; Lola broke the fall the best she could ( scraped her elbow and knee ) but Ever's head hit the pavement. Thursday Ever was walking with a piece of pastel chalk gripped in each hand, so that when she fell she could not brace herself, and her face and head met the concrete with a thwack. Her forehead, skin around her eye and nose bled and scabbed up. And then last night she threw up. It's the mucus, I thought, and everyone at work agreed. But when she continued to throw up, I called the nurse line, and after discussing her various symptoms, Mr. Curry and I left Lola with Dakota around midnight and headed to the ER with Ever. The parking lot was full. The ER was full of people vomiting, moaning, sitting with masks over their faces and hands over their eyes. I kept Ever's purple heart blanket over her head, praying she wouldn't pick up anything new. After waiting- but not nearly as long as we had feared- we found that she also had a fever. The doctor wouldn't give a recommendation on the CAT scan. It could go either way, he said. But based on the fact that she has a fever, is throwing up, and the fall was X amount of hours ago, it's much more likely she's sick, isn't it? I asked. He agreed. We took her home without the CAT scan. She's lying in my arms now, recovering from an illness she's still taking medicine for, now recovering from another. She hasn't thrown up again. She's alert when awake, but sleeping, exhausted from a long night.
This season has been very rough for many. I know of three people whose children were hospitalized with pnemonia over the holiday, and an extremely stubborn and strong chest cold and stomach flu has repeatedly swept through my preschool.
Monica of The Girl Who had just moved six months ago with her family, and their house burnt down this week.
My friend Carrie has had repeated complications from her ovarian cancer surgery, and began chemo yesterday.
The strangeness of moving, the constant lack of sleep, the constant illness of everyone in my family, missing so much work, so much money, a house in disarray, a job that while including lots of joyful moments also includes eleven babies in one room, including my own, fussy and not feeling good girl, the kids various school demands and paperwork and meetings... I am barely me right now, barely here.
I am here enough to be grateful. To be aware. To feel the winds blowing and taking cover and working to strengthen my spirit, my resolve, my grit. In the car, I turn off the radio. I listen to Ever babbling and watch Lola's blonde head in the rearview. The wind and traffic rumble outside.
"To stay with that shakiness - to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge - that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic - this is the spiritual path."
~Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times