Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cold, Flu, and Birthday Season

My poor big kids have the lamest birthdays. Not only are February and March the most grey and wettest months of the year (disclaimer: I might be making this up, I have no professional meteorology training. Let's call this hyperbole and move on), these birthdays fall right smack dab in the middle of cold and flu season. So even if the birthday boys are lucky enough not to be sick themselves, chances are the guest list will be thinned by the latest phlegm producing epidemic.

Jack's birthday always falls close enough to a three day weekend that we manage to escape town for a mini vacation. This year we spent a snowy long weekend in Black Butte and Jack got to go snowboarding with Brent and Uncle Nick while Sawyer and I broke a sled and crashed into a tree within a matter of minutes.

So Jack's actual birthday was a quiet and peaceful affair with chocolate brownie cake and take out pizza. But as soon as we got home he was all about planning a real party.

Another lame thing about my kids' birthdays is that they have a mom who really can't be bothered to plan a decent birthday party, unless she wins a ridiculously under priced birthday package at the indoor soccer field, and they say lightning never strikes the same place twice. Ahem. Last year's party totally ruled.

This year, not so much. Jack wanted another soccer party and so we eyed the weather forecast for a few weeks until a sunny Sunday was promised. I quickly rounded up everyone on his guest list who was not suffering from the bubonic plague and we set a date at the park.

As we were loading the last of our party gear into the car, right on cue, it started to rain. "No one's going to come!" Jack wailed through tears as we drove through the downpour. Thank god his friends are true Oregonians who braved the deluge and slid through the mud to play a soggy game of birthday soccer.

A week or so after his party, Jack came down with some sort of feverish headachy super sleepy flu. He languished on the couch for a few days, whining for Recharge (hippie Gatorade) and watching way too much TV. Gradually he began to look perkier, until Brent threatened to send him back to school and then he suddenly relapsed.

Meanwhile Sawyer's birthday was approaching. Sawyer would be easy to please since he only has two friends. "Let's go bowling!" he said. Perfect. Except that by the morning of his party, Brent had succumbed to Jack's feverish headachy super sleepy flu.

So he missed Sawyer's birthday, spending the day curled up in the fetal position, sipping Recharge, thanking his lucky stars that the house was quiet as we partied down at the bowling alley with french fries and birthday cake.

And the next day Sawyer woke up sick with the feverish headachy super sleepy flu.

I was a rock. I was the glue that held us all together. My immune system and I could singlehandedly pull off a birthday party, care for the sick and downtrodden, restock the Recharge supply, fold laundry, wrap birthday presents, chase toddlers, and fight off this feverish headachy super sleepy flu bug.

Was it the daily yoga? Was it the probiotics in the yogurt I eat every morning? Superior genes? Excellent hand washing? Steely determination? I was the lone soldier left standing while those around me fell to the ground. I was the picture of health in the gallery of the infirm. I was...

Well, I was starting to feel a little chilled. And then I was hot. And then my head started hurting. And my eyes wouldn't stay open.

Another one bites the dust.

Two days later I was fine. But then the next weekend my superior immune system and I went down with a stomach bug which announced its presence with spontaneous vomiting in the car while Brent was driving us home from Portland. So that was also awesome.

Aaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnddddddddddd, Jack was in a play!

My mumbling, awkward, painfully shy now seven-year-old memorized his lines and stood on a stage in front of a crowd and was a talking horse. Who spoke French. And in that moment all of the shuttling and carpooling and carbon footprinting involved in getting this kid across town to the elitist immersion school was all so very worth it.

So happy birthday to my toothless horse and to my fearless bowler. I might not throw a great party, but I can sew you a horse costume in 24 hours while battling fatigue and nausea. That's almost as cool as a pinata, right?