Fa La La La La, La Cough, Cough, Puke

December stresses me out. So much to get done, so much to do.

Addressing holiday cards, baking, shopping, wrapping, cleaning the house for guests, buying gifts for teachers.

Parties, school Christmas pageants, holiday shows, light displays. 

Sometimes I wish all other responsibilities during the month of December would fade away.

Forget the Elf on the Shelf - I need a Laundry Elf, a Taxi Elf, a Shopping and Wrapping Elf, a Christmas Card Addressing Elf. Oh, and of course, a Housekeeping Elf.

I want to be able to enjoy this time. I love Christmas - really I do. The magic and wonder, the music and lights. All good if they could exist in a vacuum.

The faster Christmas comes, the more I'm dreading its conclusion.

The months of January, February, and March rarely bring much to be excited about in Nebraska. The ice and snow, the wind and bitter cold.

And I know, I just know, it is the start of the cold and flu season. Three months of tummy aches, puking, green snotty noses, being stuck in the house with sick and crabby kids, stripping bed linens in the middle of cold nights to change someone's puked on sheets, constantly being out of ibuprofen and orange juice.

Here, it's already started. Someone in my house has been sick since before Thanksgiving. If you have a big family, you know how it goes. They can't all be sick at the same time. That would be too convenient, too easy. Too "mommy-wins-the-sickness-lottery"!

Nope. They just get sick one after the other after the other. Like a twenty-car pile-up on the Long Island Expressway, it just keeps happening and happening.

First, my 7-year-old had croup. He's been getting that since he was a baby. It took him down for almost a week this time. Every time I thought he was getting better, he would cough and cough until he puked. He was home from school for 4 days.

Next, my eight-year-old had a cold. Not bad, but bad enough to make him tired all the time, weepy, irrational, combative at school. Lots of time spent talking him out of sad and weepy thoughts about his deceased twin brother. And one meeting at school to discuss his behavior.

Now, my five-year-old and 17-month-old are sick with horrible coughs, colds and fevers. The five-year-old has missed school for two days now, and the 17-month-old isn't taking naps. He just wants to be held.

My precious two hours of alone time every day? Pfft! Gone. I have gotten nothing done since before Thanksgiving, people.

But you know what?

It's okay. I know it's not their fault that they're sick. I'm trying not to let it add stress to an already stressful time.

Besides the 4 a.m. bed linen changes, I'm enjoying cuddling with them. Sometimes when they are sick, it's the only time they will slow down long enough to be held.

And the other gift their illnesses have brought?

Time. Time with each one. Time to sit on the couch and watch movies or play a game or read a story. Just time to stay home for a change. I feel like all semester every morning I have had to run to this class or lesson or this appointment or that meeting, volunteer here or do this.

Time for the commitments to fade away for a while.

There's something nice about just clearing the schedule and staying firmly planted at home.

Even if it is with a bunch of sickies.

Now if only those damn elves would hurry up and get here. I wonder what's keeping them?

 How's everyone at your house?
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