Last week the stomach bug hit our house along with some sort of upper respiratory bug also hitting our house the same week. I had one kid and one husband both down for the count for a good portion of the week. I thought we’d missed the stomach bug this spring because we’d made it through both February and March which are the months we usually get nailed. But, out of the blue at 3am last Monday morning our youngest started and once it hit her she was down and out for four days.
It was pretty awful for her, with the first day being the most awful one of all.
And yet, it’s not the awfulness of the bugs or the awfulness of having sick people for half a week that I’ll remember when I look back on it. (Don’t get me wrong, though, it was awful.)
What I’ll remember instead, is this: On Monday afternoon, a friend brought one of my other daughters home for me. About a half hour after she left, there was a knock at our front door and my daughter came running down the hall, saying that the mom who’d dropped her off was back.
And she was. I opened the front door makeup-less and in my sweats, and there she stood, holding two bags filled with Gatorade and jello for my daughter and wine and chocolates for me. I was amazed. I hadn’t asked, but yet she’d taken the time to do that for us, for my daughter, for me. She even brought extra Gatorade in case the bug hit more than one of us during the week. (Knock on wood…so far so good.)
Her gesture totally and completely made my day. I smiled afterwards for at least an hour as I went through the rest of my afternoon and evening, and later on when she checked in by text, I smiled again.
Earlier that day, I’d gotten a message from a co-worker at the paper. If there was anything I needed covered that day, she’d get it done. Another co-worker emailed me as well. If I needed any supplies, she’d drop them off on my front steps, a safe distance away from catching anything!! Our neighbor offered out her help if there was anything she could do. Family and friends from far away sent me messages of support. Just reading them made me feel good,and I wasn’t even the one who was feeling sick!
That’s the thing about hard times: it brings out the best in people. No matter what tough time I look back on, it’s countered by the goodness of those around us. When my husband ruptured his achilles tendon a few years back, and began to prep for surgery and a long recovery, we were inundated with offers of help. People brought meals, helped out with yard work, one friend even delivered a chair from their house to ours so that he could sleep in a recliner right after the surgery when he couldn’t lay in bed.
When I was going to miss out on St. Joseph’s Day in 2013, a friend from school went out in the rain and got me the zeppole I’d been waiting 12 months for, delivering it to my doorstep. The zeppole was delicious, but the thoughtfulness and kindness behind it is what I’ll never forget.
Even a few weeks back, when my same daughter was out with a different virus, I had offers of help and so many well-wishes right from the get-go when I put up a status update on social media about having a sick kid at home. If there was anything I needed, people were right there for me, even people I don’t know as well or see as often. The offers for help were abundant.
So I know the famous saying is actually, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” but I’d like to change that around. For each and every “worst” time, I have some of the “best” memories of wonderful things that people have said and done to go along with it.
And so….It was the worst of times, but it was also the best of times.