Friday, February 16, 2007

Letter To A Sick Girl

Dear Hazel,

Today you are sick. Your cheeks are bright pink with fever, and you have a cough that sounds so bad, it makes my chest hurt. You had to miss your preschool's Chinese New Year celebration, which really disappointed you - you were really looking forward to those chocolate coins and dragon puppets.

On days like today, when you are achy and tired and extra sensitive, I am reminded of how little you truly are. You seem so mature most of the time, so full of opinions and ideas and youthful exuberance. But today you are wilted and pale. Today your big, brown eyes are glassy, instead of sparkly. Today you said, "Mama, will you please hold me?" So I did.

Because you and your sister are both napping everyday again, we had to go out to buy a pack n' play this morning. Getting you both to sleep, in the middle of the day, in the same room, has proved to be impossible. You were a good sport about shopping, but instead of skipping ahead of the basket like you usually do, you sat inside of it, legs crossed, quiet. When we passed a display of cowgirl boots on clearance, and I saw a tiny spark in your eyes, we both smiled. You sure can work a pair of black and teal butterfly cowgirl boots, girl, I'll tell you what.

When we got home, you went peacefully off to sleep. When you woke up, you felt well enough to watch a movie and drink some tea. By the time Dada came home, you were feeling well enough to go out for a "flashlight walk" in the dark. So we did. (I'm sorry the flashlight batteries were dead). You wore your princess nightgown, stripey tights, your new cowgirl boots, and a purple headband with a giant red bow tied on the top, Minnie Mouse-style. We could tell you were feeling better because you skipped a little. And you told me about how "cowgirls ride horses and horsegirls ride cows."

Sometimes it's hard for me to remember how little you are, because you are such a huge presence in my life - your chirpy voice, your loud, crazy outfits, your jokes and songs and made-up games ring in my ears from sun up to sun down. But days like today, when you are soft and still, I see how vulnerable and tiny and new you are. And the love that I have for you rises up in my throat, and catches behind my eyes, and I ache from its intensity. For you, I have a love that is so deep and wide, I'm not sure where it ends and I begin.

I hope you feel better soon, Hazel. But if you are still sick tomorrow, and you need me to rub your back, or make you your favorite noodle soup, or read you an extra story, I will be happy to do it. I will be there. Always.



Blogger Mrs. Chicken said...

How lovely. I accidentally woke my daughter last night and had the pleasure of cuddling her back to sleep. I know exactly what you mean about how they are at once huge and wee.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Something really touched me about this post. I think it's exactly the kind of thing you want to look back on in years to come when your kids hate you (not to say that they will but, you know...) and remember that you are a superb and loving parent, whether they know it all the time or not.

Speedy recoveries...

10:00 PM  
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Blogger ECR said...

Dear Hazel,
You are a masterful piece of work! I love reading about your adventures.

Get well soon,

12:53 PM  
Blogger Ms. Crazy said...

Beautiful, just beautiful.

Hazel, I hope you're feeling better.

4:32 PM  
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