Our family was all set to enjoy the three day weekend. Little A was sick on Friday, but rallied on Saturday. We’d go to the park before the snow came, my husband would go snowboarding on Sunday. We’d have a delightful Valentine’s breakfast of heart-shaped strawberry pancakes. Well, wouldn’t you know it, no eggs, so pancakes would have to be lunch.
“Get your shoes on, M,” I called. “We need to go to the store.”
“Hang on, Mama…” she replied. And then, the unmistakeable sound of her breakfast in reverse.
Well, so much for that idea.
Poor M was terribly sick; she lost five pounds off her already tiny frame in twenty four hours. The day was spent cuddling her, running to the store for chicken broth and Pedialyte, comforting her in the bathroom. Little A tried her best to comfort her sister, patting her on the rear and muttering, “Shh…Shh…Shh..” M watched The Lego Movie and Wall-e on a loop while she dozed on the couch and her sister colored her hand with a pen. One one of my husband’s food runs, he came back with a small, heart-shaped chocolate cheesecake. “It wasn’t on sale yet,” he said, “But hey. It’s Valentine’s.”
Eventually, M settled enough to sleep, as did Little A. We cut the cheesecake in half, plopped down on our ancient couch, and watched Better Call Saul. Partway through, we talked about how good the cheesecake was, and that this wasn’t quite the weekend we’d envisioned. But, as we snuggled there, wrapped up in M’s Pepto-bismol pink Princess blanket, we agreed that we were lucky to have each other to make the best out of any situation. Alone, it would have been a long, miserable day, but together, we still had a happy holiday.
We did eventually have the breakfast, several days letter. I found a letter tucked under my pillow, in big, swirly first grade handwriting: Dear Mama. I love you and you are great. I have the best family. Every kid should have a family like us. Love, M.