There’s something about the relief that comes when they tell you. When you learn that there’s a reason your arms are so tired from trying; that the over the counter medicines and the herbs are having absolutely no effect, when your fingers smell of Vicks; and when he looks so tired, his eyes pink and worn out, that he will take relief in any shape or form, and you surrender. And then they hand you that little ZPak, and you gingerly open those first two pills and give him water, and you hope it works fast, and you say that prayer, “let him breathe easier in just a few hours, please.”

And you can crawl into bed at night with the relief that those antibiotics are working overtime for you… and in a few days that dry, futile and persistent cough becomes less frequent, but so much more productive. You actually find yourself cheering him on.

Each morning you clean up the tissues, exchange the glasses of water and tea cups with new ones, change the sheets and see what he wants to eat — what he’s up for today. You have to run out to the store for more supplies; juice, tissues, and you look and the mirror and realize what a wreck you are; the haircut you never scheduled and that you are now overdue for, and you can’t imagine ever being a person who really cared about how you look. And finally, by day three you find yourself cooking the 15th boiled potato, that he’s smothered with butter, salt, and pepper. And he asks you if you want to watch the latest Lemony Snicket series on Netflix with him. And you find yourselves both scrambling under the wire to get your brackets finished and submitted to ESPN by the noon deadline — and later you watch the games together, seeing who has more points, while you try to coax him to eat another bite of broccoli.

At night, you fill up the diffuser with more essential oils and water, swapping out the Thyme for soothing lavender and just a bit of Eucalyptus. You rest your way back to health. And as you lay your head on your own pillow, you can’t help but remember how close he came to not breathing, and you thank God for intuition, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, tests and stethoscopes that rescued your child.


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