"How are you?" I asked Saturday afternoon, walking into the house with Popsicles and child's Motrin.
"I'm good, but Dad says I'm sick," said the one curled over herself on the couch, hanging tight to a temperature of 103.3.
As a family, we too, have been a good, yet feverish child: taking on the simplified routine of one who needs a gradual reintroduction to his or her normal pace. Our week was one of simple pleasures, surrendering to convenience (spaghetti dinners and cookies with store-bought icing, anyone?), and small, invaluable blessings tucked into every cranny. The children immediately returned to their normal sleeping schedules following vacation, which caused Mama to breathe more than one sigh of relief as Jason boarded an early plane Monday for a four-day meeting in Dallas. New technologies allowed them to speak to their Dad "live" every night and for me to send a video of Nate crawling for the first time in an attempt to grab my glasses Wednesday afternoon. (He performs a military crawl - unorthodox, but very effective and surprisingly fast). Whether calling during a mid-day break or texting a copy of the vows he still carries in his wallet (the guy knows how to make a girl tear up), Jason did his best to show that while he might be a plane ride away, his heart was planted firmly at home.
The children were sweet and helpful, constant reminders of the simple and good and playful, and that the only things that remain constant are the fast pace in which we move (no matter how much we hope to slow them down) and that they are continually changing (and changing the roles of those around them). Our moments from the week past:
Monday began with a bit of an incident. I was walking down the stairs (carrying Nate) in front of Audrey. I turned the corner. I heard a thud, followed by crying. When I asked what happened, Audrey explained that she had tried to "swing" down the stairs (while yelling ah-aaaahhh-ah) and had hit her head on the banister. She calmed down and asked me for a "wonderful band aid," which I granted her. Later that afternoon, the lady working the front desk of the gym asked if Audrey had a mosquito bite on her forehead. "No," I said, just as Audrey piped up, " I tried to Tarzan down the stairs."
"Do you know what my name is?" the lady asked.
"No," said Audrey.
"Jane," she answered.
Tuesday morning, I began making breakfast. "I think I'm going to make a piece of toast," I said.
"Why do you need a piece of toast?" she laughed. "You, silly!"
A little later she said, "You silly goose! You're not a silly goose. What are you?"
"I don't know. What am I?" I asked, not always sure what my role is in her play.
"A crepe! You need to know who you are!"
On Monday, I skinned my knuckle attempting to shove the stroller in the back of the car. By Tuesday, it had scabbed over. Audrey noticed it. "Look at your boo-boo. You're falling apart, little stinker." (I'm still not sure why on Tuesday my name changed from Mama to silly, silly goose, and little stinker).
Wednesday, while playing with Nate, Audrey said, "He loves me. I'm his best person."
Later, I overheard her singing to herself, "I would know how you were made if I was God. I would make all the people if I was God."
Last week, Audrey was consumed with tearing out the sheets of coloring books, decorating them with crayons and stickers, connecting them with pieces of tape, and attempting to stand them up and create houses out of them. She often recruited me to help her fold the paper to make it stand better or cut holes for the windows and doors, which she would then push small stuff animals through. Thursday, I encouraged Audrey to try to build the house on her own while I cleaned. I was sweeping the floors when I heard her yell, "God! Don't try to make it worse for me, God!"
Friday, I asked Audrey to find the basket that her toys get stored in so she could pick them up for the day. She looked briefly before telling me it had "mapeered (disappeared) up to heaven."
Saturday, I had just finished reading the page where the mother bird goes to find something for her baby bird to eat in, Are You My Mother?, when Audrey said, "Hey! I bet that worm didn't want to be eaten!"
Tonight, the fevers are gone. The children are tucked in tight. Jason is home, safe and sound. All is well as we prepare for the week ahead - thankful for the simple pleasures and common joys that even when we're sick, or tired, or a long way from home allow us to say, "we're good."