My twelve-year-old, inherited it all – the allergies, the sensitive stomach, the asthma. And somehow, it just doesn’t seem fair. He’s my athlete. My sporty-guy. The one who will stand out in the rain shooting baskets for hours while the rest of us stay dry inside. The one who will use the twenty extra minutes between being ready for school and catching the bus to hit the lacrosse ball against the wall. The one who will run, full out, keeping up with kids years older than him, if his lungs and the pollen count let him.
About a month ago, my now seven-year-old brought home a nasty winter cold and cough. He didn’t feel well. He missed some school. But I didn’t worry. I knew it would run its course with him and be over. The virus skipped over my daughter, me, and the Rooster but it landed fully on my twelve-year-old.
A week or so into it, he came running into my room in the middle of the night after a coughing spell. He couldn’t breathe.
This happened before when he was a toddler. When we were still trying to understand why he was having trouble breathing. But it had never been so intense or lasted so long.
I was terrified. To have your child come to you for help and to not be able to do anything for him except try to calm him and hope he can get even a small breath with which to use his inhaler. To think even for a brief second, “What if he can’t get another breath?”
I shook the whole next day.
It happened four more times.
I have been absent from my little space here on the web. My thoughts have been fully with my twelve-year-old. Is he okay at school? Should he even go to school? He’s missed so much school. How can he catch up? Am I doing the right thing letting him go to practice? Is that him coughing? Is that what I hear? What if he stops breathing when I’m not around? What if he can’t start breathing again? Why does this keep happening to him?
He is better now. He’s back at school. The worst of it has passed, I hope, even though I’m still shaken.
I find it interesting though, that when I find a quiet space, take a deep breath, and think of my guy going through this frightening ordeal, I can’t help but smile…a little. He remained so stoic throughout everything. Rarely complaining. Taking everything in stride. And really, he just wanted to have someone pass him a ball, and for him to send that ball back. I don’t know, but something about the simplicity of that in such a terrifying situation makes me smile.
I started putting together the attached video attached for my daughter. When you live in the Northwest, you can expect gray skies and some form of rain from Thanksgiving until the following Fourth of July. By about mid-February, the weather can feel oppressive and if you don’t make it out of here for some sun over spring vacation, well, it can be depressing…especially if you are 14 and you feel like you’re the only one not escaping. And I get that. I really do. But sometimes things don’t always go your way. Sometimes things aren’t always fair.
I decided to capture the brief glimpses of sunlight we do get in the winter and early spring…for her. And somehow, seeking those bits of sunlight, here in my “back-yard”, made me appreciate them even more. The rain seemed less omnipresent.
I noticed when I put the video together that it’s my seven-year-old who still lets me take pictures of him. Videotape him. And I’m so grateful to have his sweet face on the screen.
So, while I started making this video for my daughter, when it was finished I realized that it’s come to mean so much more than just searching for the sun. It’s a reminder to me of how some of the simplest things – throwing a ball, finding a patch of sunlight, photographing your child – can be so calming. Can bring out a smile. Can brighten a somber mood. Can make a gray and rainy situation seem less…terrifying. I hope you enjoy it too.