Sick As A Chien . . .

And just like that, Miss Healthy As A Horse went down with the flu.  And I’m not talking about some weak, little old strain of the flu, as in “I’m kind of not feeling well, thank you”.  I’m talking a big, bad ass French flu that took me to the mat and didn’t relent as I begged for mercy!  Body ache, severe chills, then sweats, nausea, just to scratch the surface.  Some of you still may be shrugging the shoulders and thinking to yourself, “OK, so she was a little sick.” I get that.  Let me just put some additional context on the situation for you.  Flying solo with four small people in a foreign country and unable to get out of bed.

As Monday evening rolled around, and after I had put my sister in law on her train back to Paris, I started feeling kind of not good.  I always say that my knees never lie.  If I start to feel a certain way behind my knees, it’s a sure thing that I’m getting sick.  My uber efficient side kicked in (it’s never far from me, after all), and I marshaled everyone to bed by 8:30 thinking that I would just sleep this little bugger away and feel fine in the morning. 6:30 am Tuesday morning, and all was NOT better.

As I was wondering how I was going to muster enough strength just to get the littles into their classes, M declared that she wasn’t feeling great and wanted to stay home from school. I knew she was really not that sick, but honored her request with my own ulterior motive – – – if she stayed home, then I just had to manage to drive the car to the school, and I could then stay in the car as M took Little 1 and Little 2 into their classrooms. {SIDENOTE:  It was not at all lost on me, that while M might have been coughing a little, and she might have not been dying to go to school herself, she -by far my most difficult child, and the one with whom I entertain the most conflicts – was worried about me.  She really wanted to stay home to care for me.  Moment of silence to soak in the sweetness of that.}

I spent the entire morning in bed and then decided that I really needed to get to a doctor.  I called and the good man agreed to see me at 2pm (remember there is NOTHING going down in these parts between noon and 2). My new friend Marie happened to send me a text as I was waiting in the doctor’s waiting room.  I told her where I was, and she offered to get the littles from school for me.  Ever resistant to help, I kindly told her I thought I would be OK.  Well one thing led to another and before I knew it, I was being sent to the next town over for blood work.  It was 2:40 and school pick up for the littles is 3:30.  I called Marie and told her that actually I would like to take her up on her offer – – – I really had no choice.  I was in and out for the bloodwork and managed to get home and let Marie know that she could drop the littles off immediately. No use in dragging out the helpfulness, right?

wpid-img_20150930_120926349_hdr.jpgThat evening I went from bad to worse. I literally could not emerge from my bed.  My bigs rose to the call.  They made dinner for their little sisters, did homework, managed baths, and did tuck ins.  I just burrowed deeper into my comforter trying to stop my teeth from chattering and wondering how I was going to manage the next day if things didn’t turn around.

In case it’s not obvious, I’m not a big one to ask for help.  Let me rephrase that, asking for help gives me anxiety.  I have a very small circle of friends with whom I have cultivated a safeness and an ability to ask, but that has taken years of friendship.  I’m all about competence.  I fancy myself very competent.  I strive to raise competent girls.  I get energized by challenges.  I can go “judgey” on people whom I deem to be playing the weakness card.  When my husband and I fight, one of my go-to mechanisms is “I can do it by myself anyway, I don’t need your help”.  Part of me loves this aspect of my character, and part of me loathes it.  There’s something beautiful about asking for help and giving in to weakness.  I most generally just pass next to this beauty instead of allowing myself to bask in it.  This little character gem/flaw also results in the constant pushing to do more and more and more and not easily acknowledging my need for rest, restoration, and replenishment.  And as much as I want my girls to grow up to be go-getters, I also want them to become women of balance; who rest just as easily as they achieve.

wpid-img_20150930_085552368.jpgWhen I awoke on Wednesday, I felt even worse than I had the days prior.  I was panicked. I absolutely could not make this work on my own.  The bigs got the littles ready for school. At 7:30 I tentatively texted Marie, “So sick.  Could you possibly take my girls to school?”  Ten words, but so tough for me to write.  Technically, it was probably more than 10 words since the text was in French, but still, just tough.  Tougher even – I was sick and still felt compelled to check and double check my French grammar.  When Marie came to get the littles, she took one look at me and asked if I had a prescription for medication.  I did.  I had been background processing how I was going to make it to the pharmacy to get it filled once I managed to get the girls to school.  She took the prescription, took mywpid-img_20150930_090037276.jpg girls, and told me to get back to bed.  Thirty minutes later she returned – – – medicine, rosemary (just because it smells good, she said), and a baguette.  I never knew that medicine, rosemary, and baguette could be their own love language, but boy did I feel loved.  So much so, that I literally cried after I had thanked her and closed the door.  It was just straight up kindness. It wasn’t embedded in years and years of friendship.  It didn’t share the same culture.  It didn’t speak the same first language. It was just one human taking the time to help another human (who happens to have a bad relationship with asking for help).  Simple.

As if that weren’t enough, she insisted on taking my littles home from school (Wednesday, so they only had half a day).  She fed them lunch, they played, and she kept them until 4:30.

When you embark on an adventure like this, you never really know what you’re going to get.  As an ongoing prayer, I had been continually thanking God for whatever He was going to show me during this piece of my existence.  I can now specifically thank Him for a little more experience in asking for help and gratefully accepting it.   Sometimes love looks like a friendship grown, pruned, and fed through the years, and sometimes it looks like medicine, rosemary, and a baguette delivered by someone you’ve only known 4 short weeks.  I’ll take them both.

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2 thoughts on “Sick As A Chien . . .

  1. James Gorman October 2, 2015 / 11:35 am

    God sent you an angel in the person of Marie. :). Hopefully you feel better and find a way to pay it back/forward.

    Liked by 1 person

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