I planned on spending the long 4th of July weekend in Minnesota with my in-laws. Going to visit them is a true vacation for me as their home is on a gorgeous lake and my partner Joel’s three sisters all have kids and they run around like a wolf-pack that mystifies and envelops my oldest daughter. It is fantastic.
We have been planning this trip for some time, and the last few months I have been viewing this trip as crossing a finish line into a place of love and comfort.
The day before we are set to leave my little one, Rinnie, starts running a fever and it last all day. I talk to my pediatrician in the night when the Tylenol and lukewarm tubs are only abating the temp and she is throwing up.
In my gut, I know that she is really sick, too sick to get on a plane. So we drop off Joel and oldest daughter, Jaden, at the airport for the flight and I take Rinnie to the doctor. I’m heartbroken but much more preoccupied with how sick she is.
It’s an adventurous day. Blood drawn, pee-pee captured, nap and more fever and more vomit. Turns out that she has a urinary tract infection; likely the result of our potty-training efforts in which I’m so excited that I am remiss in showing her the right way to wipe herself. By that night, she starts antibiotics and my blood pressure lowers a bit. Until 1 AM when her temp is up again, she is disoriented, dry heaving and I’m panic stricken. Two nights with no sleep, and I’m back on the phone- finding the one pediatrician who works the Saturday of a holiday weekend.
My mom, who lives a couple hours from LA, has been kept updated on the situation and when she hears the true terror in my voice, she gets in her car and is at my house in what feels like minutes. Rinnie is on my lap when she walks in my door and I feel something break in my chest and manage to let out a single sob and a big ass smile. My mom cooks, she hugs me, she cooks more, she cleans up and I’m reminded of the six weeks she spent in San Francisco right after Jaden was born when she saved our lives.
I have a complicated relationship with my mom that is really the result of my own obsessive drive to have her approval. And it took years to understand that she actually just likes me better when I’m not trying so hard. So the next three days were amazing. She got lots of playtime with her youngest grandkid, who absolutely basked in the sunlight of her “KiKi” (my mom’s nickname is Sparky, so her grandma name is a derivative of that). And I got to relax and enjoy her humor, perspective and endless stories about her childhood and my childhood. Ones I’ve heard hundreds of times and hope to hear hundreds more.
Believing in a higher power, I wonder if the weekend went sideways in order to upright itself in a way that I would never expect yet still brought joy, love and comfort.