It was one of those Oxford days where the sun is brilliantly shining and suddenly a downpour appears out of nowhere, the drops sparkling in the sunshine as they douse everything with rain. Sort of the good with the bad. Like today in other ways. It was a difficult day. I’ll spare you all the bad parts, just take my word for it. Looking back over it I’d rather find a favorite moment. Something of the sunshine to record and keep when the hard parts have long faded from memory. Or how about a top three?
Scene One: Norah’s Rest Time, today held in the study, where we also, incidentally, store bottles of water under the bed. I heard from afar lots of chatter about “the River” and “going swimming” but foolishly assumed she was in a world of make-believe. The River, however was real, as I discovered when she called me in to see her flutter-kick. She had lugged about sixteen heavy 2-litre bottles of water out and heaped them on the bed before finding one with a weak cap. No doubt sweaty from all that work, she took a little dip in the puddle that was created. We put the bottles back and wiped up the water and I returned to the kitchen. A few minutes later, I heard hysterical shrieks of laughter so I went back for a little check. I found every stitch of her clothes outside the door in a tidy little stack. Entering, I found her, naked as the day she was born, leaping around and dancing wildly on the bed. “My clothes were wet so I tooked them off and now I’m TOTALLY naked!” she was yelling. This, I believe, was the best moment of my day.
Scene Two: A sweet friend and neighbor brought a hot, delicious dinner over because she knew I needed it today. It wasn’t only saving the time it takes to form a plan (which I hadn’t done), drag the kids out to buy the groceries (which I would have had to do), plus cooking it all, it was the sense of being cared for that was a blessing. Dinner arrived complete with flowers and a card for Harriet.
Scene Three: Harriet, having been diagnosed once again with pneumonia yesterday and running a continually high fever, has had a low appetite. At dinner we were all trying to encourage her to eat some banana, usually her favorite food. She was just waving it around and smashing it up nastily, but not eating it. Finally Alex got her to put it up to her mouth, so we all clapped and cheered for her. Realizing how popular this decision instantly made her, she crammed in more. We (recklessly) cheered again. So she smashed the whole thing in, completely stuffing her face and fully delighted with her immense success. We stopped cheering lest she continue and plug her source of air. So she retired to chew, covered with banana and glory.
Those were the happiest three. We’ll forget the rest. Tomorrow will be better.
Tomorrow, after an eight-month countdown, my parents arrive in Oxford. It’s impossible to explain what this much-anticipated visit means to us, so far away. Some of you already know. Of all the plans I’ve made for my parents’ visit, realistic and unrealistic, not one included welcoming them with a very ill child. (That was unrealistic!) I’m terribly afraid, when they walk in our door, the first word from my mouth will be “Reinforcements!” Seriously, I’m tired. I’ve been scrubbing mold and baking cookies and laundering laundry for days. But I’m happy. The whole two weeks lies ahead, waiting to be enjoyed, and not one minute of it is already gone.