On Saturday I woke up, nursed the baby, and shuffled my way downstairs. Joel looked at me over breakfast and suggested that I go back to bed. (Oh, I love him. I won't even bother to think about what I must have looked like to prompt him to make the suggestion.) I headed back upstairs and slept until 11.
Apparently after holding things together for the 16-week semester, my immune system had enough.
I'm trying to sleep this sickness off, but this is easier said than done. Last night was one long attempt to breathe through my mouth because I can't breathe through my nose. I was hot, then shivering. Once I finally got positioned just so after struggling to get comfortable, I had to use the restroom. At various points throughout the night two out of our three children conspired against us and alternated crying, one simmering down and another picking up. When morning came, the floor beside my side of the bed was littered with twenty-seven used Kleenex that I had tossed over the edge in my delirium.
Still, instead of staying in my pajamas and covering myself with a pile of blankets, yesterday morning I put on real clothes, made myself as presentable as possible, and headed to church where my oldest daughter, Reese, performed in the children's Christmas musical as an angel. We arrived early so she could get fitted for her costume and have her hair sprayed with silver glitter. (I'm positive that we'll detect remnants of this until New Years. At the minimum.)
The sanctuary's windows were covered with black gauze for ambiance. The music swelled. As I sat in the second row watching her, everything -- my exhaustion, my cloudy thoughts, the atmosphere, the ridiculously cute display of off-key singing -- hit at once. I started to tear up.
Crying while you have a head cold is the kiss of death. You might as well stand on your head until your brain explodes from sinus pressure. But there I was with a camera in one hand and a Kleenex in the other, my eyes brimming over. My daughter was the smallest child in the performance, a good head shorter than most other kids in her row. Her glittered hair glinted in the overhead lights. Her white tights bunched around her knees. She swayed side to side and drew her hand to her mouth, a nervous gesture that those who know her well can identify, and sang.
Although she told me in advance that she wouldn't be allowed to wave to the audience from the stage, I couldn't help myself. I had to wave to her.
Still singing, she locked eyes with me, smiled, dropped her hand away from her mouth, and gave a quick wave.
It was joy to my world.
Then I came home and slept -- nearly in heavenly peace, except for that whole inability to breathe thing.