Our vacation had finally arrived, a road trip to my uncle and aunt’s home in Washington. We planned the route. We planned the day trips. We did not plan to be nursed back to health by my aunt once we arrived.
Yes, you read correctly. We drove all the way from San Diego to Washington, only to catch the flu somewhere on the drive. It felt like we had gone to the Grand Canyon only to find it had been filled in.
And this flu seemed to be unnaturally attached to me. Oh lucky me! The children were almost all passed over. Only a few complained of headaches or stomach cramps. And if there were any more complaints, I COULDN’T TELL YOU ABOUT THEM! I was in the guest bedroom, attempting to sleep it off. Or in one of two bathrooms, throwing up all my aunt’s hospitality.
There are few things more humbling than vomiting in someone else’s house, and knowing full well that my uncle, aunt, and cousins can surely hear my retching.
All through my misery, my aunt, uncle, and cousins made Wife and the children comfortable. It was like some weird dream, where I could see everyone having fun, while I was locked away.
For the next two days, I would wander out to the front room when I felt just a little better. I really should have just stayed in bed, but I wanted to join in the fun too. I felt like a child that kept getting out of bed when the adults were up late.
Spare mattresses carpeted the floor for our children and my cousins’ children. A sleep-over of massive proportion. The combinations of children from our three families seemed to flit around like a flock of birds. At times splitting apart into pairs and singles, and at others coming together into a mass of giggling chaos. When the sun came out, the children would rush in and out of both the front door and the backdoor, so that I do not think either ever closed.
All the while, my aunt simply reveled amid the swarm of family. She bustled around her house, making sure we were comfortable, and well fed. When she was not cooking or pampering the children, she always seemed to have in her arms our baby, or my cousin’s baby. And despite the flu that laid me up for two days, and sent Wife to bed for another, she made our time there as pleasant a visit as it ever could have been.
When it was time to leave, we wished we had more time. Even with the flu in the house, who was always bad company, we enjoyed ourselves. Our time was well spent, like a long walk down a quiet trail. I still would have rather not been sick, but if I was going to catch the flu at someone’s house, I could not have picked a better one.
So, I guess I am grateful for small miracles. But next time, I hope to sneak away before the flu knows we are gone.