Maybe it was the fever, but being sick this week made me think about my family in an oddly morbid, yet thoughtful way. I was on the second floor of our house trying to weather the storm of what ever virus had grabbed a hold of me. My back hurt, my stomach was in one giant knot, I was feverish and for a number of hours had a genuine concern that I was more then just sick. At the height of my worry my children began to arrive home from school. Kelly worked from home this day so she was on the main floor to greet them and take care of the afternoons events. I was trying to find a comfortable position and get the sleep that I hoped would drive away all of these terrible aches, pains and concerns when I heard Cole come home from school.
I have these great conversations with my son Cole each day after school. He walks in through our garage, most days full of energy, then we talk about his day. He almost always tells me about some silly thing that he and his friends did, we go over test and quiz results and there is always a moment when we hug. Frequently we take the talk outside, throw a baseball around for a few minutes, and wait for Arden to get home. It's one of my pure joys as a stay-at-home dad. On this day, my sick day, Cole came in and found that I wasn't there. I don't get sick often so it was a bit of a surprise for him to hear from Kelly that I was upstairs in bed. He came up to check on me, but I was too ill to talk. When he returned to the first floor, I listened as he and Kelly had the conversation that we have together each day. I loved that Kelly was getting a chance to enjoy one of these moments with Cole. I heard him find a snack, get out his books, and begin his homework just as he does everyday. A little while later Arden and I made the last adjustments to her BG via text message, and I sent Kelly a note telling her that Arden would be home soon, where I thought her BG would be when she arrived, and that I was done for the day managing diabetes.
Arden soon arrived home, all of the noises and movement that I experience each day as a stay-at-home dad began to fill the air. I don't know why, and as I said maybe it was the fever, but I started imagining their lives without me. I guess I felt pretty sick, because I was pondering my mortality on a serious level.
I've been the type of person throughout my life that thinks scenarios out to their end. What would I do if the house was on fire? How would I react if someone grabbed my child in a store? I have a contingency plan for all kinds of reasonable, yet unlikely moments. Here is a true, yet embarrassing admission, now this is sharing... I know what I'd ask a genie should one pop out of a lamp. I just wouldn't want to waste a wish, ya know?
Anyway, I spent the next few minutes listening closely to my family, and even though I already have a huge heart full of gratitude for what they mean to me; this moment took that feeling to a new, and higher level. I thought about throwing the ball with Cole, and how sad it was to consider never hearing one of his stories again. I wondered how Kelly would handle the afternoons with me not there? Who would help Arden with her diabetes when she was at work? I didn't realize that I would miss making them dinner or breaking up one of the ridiculous disagreements that they seem to have around 5:30 everyday.
My family means everything to me. I am sure they would eventually move on if I was gone, but it wasn't the idea of leaving them that made me sad, I mean it did but I was most struck by how difficult it was to consider not having the conscious notion of them ever again. I couldn't believe how much listening to them go about their day filled me with love and joy. It was obviously the concern in my mind about my health that led my thoughts to something unpleasant, but I am glad that I considered them. Life is so short, and it's easy to take the little stuff for granted.
My fever has passed, and I'm no longer worried that I have something significantly wrong with my health. I decided to tell you this story in the hopes that you may take a few minutes and listen from another room to your family. Little moments and the pauses in between, that's where life and love live. We could all use a reminder of that now and then, this was mine.