A nasty sinus infection left me down for the count recently, leaving my wife to hold down the fort while I did my best to get well. Then, one night around 10 p.m., our son screamed from his bed as if he just found a cobra hiding in his pillow.
We rushed in and he seemed to be sleeping while tossing and turning at the same time. Night terrors? A nightmare? We left the room, and moments later he yelped again.
“What’s wrong, buddy?”
“My clothes are itchy.”
My wife and I stared at each other in the darkness trying to find an answer.
“Do you want to change your pajamas?”
“No, my cheek hurts, too. And my toe is itchy.”
We spent the next two hours going back and forth to his room trying to help him and becoming beyond frustrated. Exhaustion coupled with stubbornness made him a horrible patient as the clock hit 3 a.m. Finally, we coaxed him into taking some Benadryl and he passed out.
The following morning I called in sick to work for myself and went about handling our sickly son along with our 1-year-old daughter on my own while my wife rushed about doing her tasks for the day. I had the kids entertain each other in the playroom while I sat in the corner like a pariah, sniffling and hacking.
I could tell my son was getting bored, and that’s when creativity hit me. We had recently received a few packages in the mail and had some huge cardboard boxes lying around. As I fought to change my daughter’s diaper, I looked at my son.
“Guess what? We’re going to build you a spaceship.”
My son’s eyes lit up.
“Go get your crayons,” I said.
We went downstairs and I gave him one of the boxes while I prepared my daughter’s bottle.
“See this? This is your spaceship. Go decorate it and we’ll make it awesome.”
By the time he finished up, my wife was back and able to relieve me. I immediately crashed.
It turned out my son had an ear infection, but even after he felt better he wanted to finish up his spaceship. As we attached a piece of tin foil on the side, he looked at me endearingly and said, “Daddy, being sick isn’t so bad. Maybe next time we can build a race car!”
Hopefully, there won’t be a next time when we are both ill. But if there is, I can assure you that the race car will get built anyway.