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Choosing Joy

It started last Monday with our daughter. The one who couldn’t get warm. The one who then got too warm bundled in bed and who screamed with fever such that I covered twenty feet in a single step when I flung myself to her bedside.

“It was okay,” I told her. “Mommy was here.”

Still she sizzled and shrieked and fled from her covers, and I pulled myself together for the long haul on what felt like concrete with a pillow under each hip.

We danced like that for three nights. At which time I hovered in the same red sweatshirt and black pants–the same ones I’m wearing now–and stared through warped frames that kept sliding down my nose.

By Friday afternoon, the lids of our son’s eyes had lost all their pep. Could someone just please put him to bed? he asked.

And we did. At which time the same scream, second kid started Saturday morning.

It was me again, saying the words I’d been uttering all week. “It’s okay, sweet one. Mommy is here.”

For hours I cooled my son’s skin with a wet pillowcase. I leaned in with water glasses and straws. I laid near him when he panicked I’d gone, near enough to kiss the cowlick on the back of his neck, near enough to whisper like a broken record, “I love you. I love you. I love you.”

 

Last night, before I re-curled like a cat beside my son, we stepped outside. All of us.

It wasn’t much. Three boxes of lights. Hung by my husband around our garage doors. Hung on December 22nd.

Hung when I’d offered that he needn’t bother.

But he had. Bothered.

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And so there we stood, where our driveway meets the street, watching our little lights shine. In the darkness.

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Our little lights that meant, if nothing more, that we could be joyful…we could choose joy…this day…right now…

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In sickness and in health.

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