Sunday, October 9, 2005

a smile in sickness

There are two kinds of people:

1. Those that take illness in stride and
2. Those that vomit like they’re undergoing torture.

I’m the second type. Recently, I was sick. Here’s how I described it to Heather in an email: “Started the usual heaving and groaning and coughing around 3.30 in the morning, I think. Then, evil came out my throat around 4.30…with evil's twin following close behind at 5.30.”

So, that's me: the second type. My 8 year old daughter Meaghan, on the other hand, is definitely the first type of person. On the day in question, Meaghan started the morning with a smile to grace the cover of a fashion magazine:

When she came home from school, she went straight to the bathroom, complaining mildly that she was feeling poorly. I laid her down on the couch. Within an hour, she had thrown up twice, but without all the fanfare I always employ. She’s just so dispassionate about it all, as if vomiting were akin to Data Entry. I don’t understand it. I mean, most times she hardly whimpers and, even when she does, it’s more like a mere lifting of pitch in her voice (not volume, mind you). I have a lot to learn from her.

Now here’s what really amazes me: she can actually smile when she’s sick. That’s right: little 8 year old Meaghan smiles when she’s sick.

When I was getting ready to move her from the couch to a bed, she smiled at me. It was as if she was saying, “I’m glad you’re taking care of me, Dad.” Then later, when she was laying down on our bed (in between sessions of let’s-call-it-spleen-removal), she smiled again at me. The room was dimly lit so I did a double-take, wanting to be sure I saw what I saw. Yes, there it was, the whitest, prettiest smile you ever did see. Then, she said: “I love you, Dad.”

Brings new meaning to “in sickness and in health”. She was just happy I was there. She really has taught me how to “count my blessings” in the midst of adversity.

A smile in sickness. Could make a good book title for someone someday, I guess.

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