J and I watched a few episodes of the show Leftovers before we decided it was too bleak and stopped. But it was a good show. Two percent of the world’s population have disappeared instantaneously without explanation, randomly. The show picks up three years later when people are all more or less dealing with the aftermath. One woman lost her husband and her two children. She gives a speech about a day she remembers, when they were all sick and vomiting—it was a terrible day. And then she says that she would settle just for that day, when they were sick and all together.
That’s how I felt about this vacation for a while. Boston was in the middle of an unusual cold snap, but the former Minnesotan in me didn’t mind. It was basically February weather in Minnesota, and I could handle a week of that. My mom arrived sick and made us a great Christmas dinner; my uncles arrived; my nephew was getting over some sort of bug. Then everybody started getting sick—my dad came down with a stomach flu. My mom was still sick. She somehow picked up the stomach flu as well. Littlest started running a fever. He seemed okay with it till one night—I had gotten terribly sick in the meantime—when it spiked up to 40 and we took him to the ER. My mom was somehow still sick. The doctor told us it was probably the flu and gave both him and me Tamiflu. My mom was still sick. The next morning she took a Lyft to the hospital and they checked her in with kidney failure.
What was I saying? I had been feeling grateful just to have the time together, even if we were sick. We had Christmas together, a snowy morning, lots of French and English presents to share. Littlest hung out with his cousin until he probably caught what he had been fighting, and they became off limits to each other. We missed out on two days with my brother but my parents still got to see a slightly feverish (except for those two 40-degree evenings) Littlest crawling around, playing with the AirBnB baby’s toys and books.
Then my mom got checked into the hospital. We made the best of the last two days once I felt a little better. We got to see my nephew again and went out for lunch the last day. J actually felt fine the entire time and got to walk around Jamaica Pond and go to REI (as we always do when we go to the States). But the last two days something was definitely missing and my take on things wasn’t really cutting it anymore.
It was both a relief and difficult to leave. I was so grateful Littlest and I were feeling fine and that J hadn’t gotten sick. I had been worried about having to push back our flight and find another place to stay. None of that was going to happen. But my dad almost cried when we left, and we didn’t get to see my mom the last day. Worried and sad thoughts kept playing through my mind during our flight back.
But she should be fine. We are learning all sorts of things about what not to do if you’re sick for a long time. All sorts of things about looking after your loved ones and not taking them for granted or imagining that moms’ bodies can hold out through anything. They can’t. Watch out for your mamas like they watch out for you—kidding, I don’t think that’s possible. But watch out for them all the same.
Here are some pictures anyway. I’m trying to put up fewer of Littlest with his face, so that’s why there are mostly photos of the back of his cute head.