Lucky Guy with a Head Cold . . .
I had a moment on December 23rd - deep in the throws of a (not yet diagnosed) double sinus and ear infection, with a kid who was profoundly bored to be with a sick daddy and my first non-celebrating Christmas looming.
For context - I was on my 2nd bottle of Walgreen's brand liquid hallucinogenic and my 3rd box of Puffs with Lotion (when you absolutely have to kill every last germ in your snot and don't want to chafe your face with each of 1,000 sneezes, sniffles, and drips - accept no substitutes) in 72 hours. I was sucking wind (literally and figuratively) and I knew it was going to be another 26 hours until Ava would go be with her mother and I could really, truly sleep.
Then. It happened. A text message from Joy (who knew I was sick). Simple and beautiful: "Could I take Ava for a few hours this evening to see some lights, do some shopping, and have some dinner."
My heart sang. Not just for me but for the kid (she was so bored but had been such a sport about it). In my head my response was "The love we have shared has been rekindled in this instance and I've never found you more wonderful, beautiful, supportive, or present. I think we should give this another try - or at least have sex a few more times - based on this proof of life." But the text read "Sure. Ava will love it and I'd appreciate the chance to rest."
I don't remember the five hours in between Joy picking Ava up and dropping her back off. I know that I didn't leave the bed and I know I was not conscious for a even one full minute of it. But that is not what matters. What matters most is what happened next . . . I was awakened by a very, very sweet little girl who - bathed and in pajamas - kissed my forehead, cupped my chin in her hands, whispered "Daddy, wake up" and presented me with some soup, a fresh cough drop, and her Kindle Fire with Netflix cued up.
Joy was in the door way to my bedroom. She asked if she could help any more and wished me well. She kissed Ava goodbye and the kid crawled in bed next to me, snuggled in for some dreadful, horrid, animated kid's movie and, within five minutes, she was snoring and I was back out for another 11 hours. We went directly to the Take Care Clinic (where I actually had a great experience) the next morning.
It has been nearly two weeks since those moments of kindness. The infection is gone. The antibiotics taken. The ability to breathe restored. Etc. I think I'm just now really appreciating the moments for what they were.
I was reminded that no matter what is going on and how frustrated or grumpy or whatever I feel with life, I have two women in my life - one who has shown me great kindness in love for nearly a decade and who very well might (in smaller doses and different contexts) for decades to come and one that has a lifetime of love to give and receive and who deserves the best version of a father/man/role model/prototype I can be/offer.
And the minute those infections were under control, that is what she got and continues to get.