Of course today was a good day to come down with an ear infection. He must have known it somehow, perhaps creeping into the living room last night and turning on the computer, scrolling through my high aspirations and deciding to take a swing at them, see how long it would take to make me crack. I didn't crack though, and I think I could end my list right there and it would be enough. But there were other things, and maybe they too would like a few moments to share their story. They may be small, but here I offer them as something for which I was thankful.
1. I couldn't believe it was light already, having been up several times through the night with a sniffling sore throat and a desperate cry to "blow my doooose!!" But the light is creeping in earlier and earlier these days, one of the only signs of spring in these parts it seems, besides the milky white buds I saw huddling bravely today against the stormy rain. Yes, it was also a rainy day. The light came regardless, and there was gas to heat my shiny red kettle of hot water and there was enough fresh grounds to heap in the bottom of my gifted french press and there was thanksgiving. There were also two who slept on, in spite of one who woke early. But the two who slept are the neediest when awake and so we, the early two, sat on the couch and sipped steaminess and read. And I was thankful.
2. After the rest had crept out and toast had been made, and made again, and made some more, we huddled on the couch together again. I wondered why I was letting them rain crumbs on my furniture but felt happy to because Daddy is gone this week and it's nice to do something different. Sometime eating toast on the couch can be so different it even feels special. We sat there and read One Morning in Maine, which seemed far away from my Morning in Rain but was sweet because Sal's tooth is loose and so is my boy's and there are lots of trees and gulls, and mussels and boats, and I could almost smell the sweet, cool air of the upper East Coast. But mostly it was that they were all sitting there with me, quietly drinking it in and playing with each others hands, which is not something that happens very often, if ever-- at least with all three at once. And so I was thankful.
3. The peaceful couch moment ended and the screeching, writhing ear pain wrestling began, and continued for a couple hours until he finally fell asleep in a heap on my bed. I don't think the boy has ever had an ear infection (at least that I have known of) in his life, bless his heart, and I knew from his wails that something must be up. But medical care here is not always the most wonderful thing and I have somehow avoided taking any trips to the clinic since moving here three years ago. I resolved however, to go as soon as our Ayi arrived, and then he fell asleep right before she walked in the door, so instead I took the other two out for a walk and a romp, telling her to call me in as soon as he woke up.
Because of that, I happened to be outside when my next door neighbor headed out and told me she was off to the Korean Clinic for her son as well. I had been planning to go to the International Clinic but when she told me this place was far more thorough, and that the International one had no device to check the inner ear, I gratefully thanked her for offering to book me an appointment as soon as she arrived. A short two hours later, walking out with a bag of antibiotics, and a brightened (though clearly infected) little boy, I was struck by his question of whether poor people look the way they do because they don't have money to go to the doctor, or the dentist. I was thankful, but felt how meager it was.
4. Later a friend dropped by for tea and we talked about books and South Africa and child development. It was nice and companionable and somehow made me feel less alone through what can be the most difficult part of the day for me, especially when Josh is away. Sometimes when you are trying too hard to really talk, instead of just be, when the kids are around, it can be frustrating and stressful. But she is just the kind of friend that will leap in and fill cups of water, or hide in a closet, or help color a handwritten newspaper project. Then we ate Chicken Korma and Naan and a Shawarma to boot. The boys ate all their pears and didn't whine much over their meal, so that when she slipped out the door it was already bath time and I couldn't believe how the evening had flown by.
5. Her fresh, baby soft curls nuzzled content against my chest and that busy little hand played along the lines of my face, and I thought of how much she continues to burrow her way into my heart. When she came out I was, to be honest, aghast, but now I have trouble playing humble when her older brother asks me if I think she is the cutest baby in the whole world. Quite simply I do, even though I know she is not. A few weeks ago she figured out how to throw her 17 month old body over the high walls of her prison-bed and so we took it down and put up the side rail guard. Tonight, though she whimpered a bit and voiced her defiance, she never once climbed down but slowly nursed her sorrows until sleep overcame. And once again, I was so thankful.