November 16, 2009

Fire, chocolate cake, and swine flu

With my husband out of town and my college sons at an Ultimate tournament, the house felt quiet this weekend – and uncharacteristically clean. Beautiful Smart Wonderful Daughter was home, so we had many cups of hot tea, along with vegan chocolate cake. Film Guy came to hang out, of course. With-a-Why and Philosophical Boy sat on the floor to play Scrabble and chess: they both have the quiet, intense personalities that lead to long, serious games. My daughter didn’t have much to say about grad school. “All I do is work,” she said. “I'm so busy that when I get to Friday, I think, oh, wow, I've got some free time, maybe I'll take a shower."

Saturday afternoon, I got a text message from Blue-eyed Ultimate Player. “Want to meet my mother?” His mother was in town, and he brought her over to the house for a visit. We sat by the fire and talked: she was just as warm and friendly as her son. He goes to school at Snowstorm University, of course, but their home is hours away, in a town called Sandwich, which is such a cool name that I haven’t even bothered to make up a pseudonym.

The little neighbor kids tested positive for the H1N1 flu this week, but that has not stopped them from coming over. “I’m not contagious any more,” Little Biker Boy will say optimistically as he coughs on me and rubs his fevered head against me to give me a hug. I tend to be resigned about sickness: if it’s going through the community, I’m going to get it. But With-a-Why keeps getting up and disinfecting surfaces in the house every time the kids leave. And he keeps putting up facebook status messages to alert the rest of the family. “Swine Flu kids are grabbing and touching everything in the house.”

Of course, Red-haired Sister should be coming down with the flu any day now. Last week, when she was in town, she took the little neighbor kids out shopping. I think their mother, Woman with Many Tattoos, thought my sister was taking them to the dollar store. Instead, my sister bought them clothes, toys, hats, mittens, winter boots, sneakers, bicycle helmets – pretty much everything they need for the winter months.

“It’s like having a fairy godmother,” Woman with Many Tattoos said to me later. “I wish there were more people in the world like your sister.”

Red-haired Sister is one of the most generous people I know. (And her husband, Tie-dye Brother-in-law, is the same.) If only she could wave her fairy godmother wand and keep those kids safe: I’m sure that’s what she really wishes she could do. But during her visit, she did what was within her powers to do: she’s outfitted them with warm clothes so that they can play safely outdoors during the long winter months ahead.


BrightenedBoy said...

Well, then, it looks like the generosity isn't confined to just you. How are the kids doing in general? Has anyone spoken with their mother about maintaining a safe and healthy environment?

Songbird said...

We've had two cases of H1N1 in the family, just not under my roof. I hope you won't have it. Poor little neighbor kids.

liz said...

Sending hugs, hankies, and hand-sanitizer.

jo(e) said...

Brightened Boy: Yes, social workers from the Child Protective agency have been working with this family -- and counselors from the school district as well. I just wish they could do more. The kids have been taken and put into foster care before -- and then returned to their mother. There's a very long history -- and a cycle that just keeps repeating itself. It's frustrating.

jodi said...

Your family is very sweet. I understand your youngest completely:-).

Lilian said...

Awww, your sister is awesome, like you and your family. How nice of With-a-Why to try to protect you and the rest of the family from the flu.

My son most probably had H1N1 (he was bed-ridden for three whole days) and I probably did have it too, but it mostly involved INSANE sneezing and post-nasal drop for three days, followed by an awful cough that kept me awake for 5 nights in a row (cough suppressant would make it worse). I didn't have a high fever, though.

So, hopefully you can have a milder case, if you do -- at least I hope so.

And those kids... I guess we all worry about them now. If only there was something that we could do, right? But it's that woman's decision to have a safe environment for her children. :-(

Vivian said...

With-a-Why is so cute! I would be sanitizing and cleaning the house too :-)

Mieke said...

H1N1 - had it. Done. Fairly painless. Three days of big fevers, quiet tired boys, then tired mommy too. All done.

Michelle Shopped said...

one of my favorite towns on the cape is called sandwich --