Banana bread just came out of the oven. The morning news on the television is my background noise. Jack is playing in his room, coming into the kitchen every few minutes to see what I'm up to. This reminds me so much of those years spent in RSV isolation.
Jack woke up in the middle of the night on Friday not feeling well. We got some Tylenol and Zofran (the med combo from God, I kid you not) on board and the boy back to sleep, hoping it wasn't a migraine. He woke up with the same fever Saturday morning and was sniffling and coughing. No migraine, but a virus of some sort. We called off our plans to meet friends at the downtown trick or treating event and the lunch we'd been invited to afterwards. We have been at home since. No costume on Saturday. No school today because Jack needs to be 100% over whatever this is before we send him back. And especially, better by his surgery date.
We are home and it is quiet. So much about this morning reminds me of the days where it was just Jack and I in the quiet rhythms of RSV isolation. I did a lot of baking, reading, and watching TV during that time. But I also spent a lot of time dreaming. Dreaming about the future and breaking free of the confines of these four walls.
In the throws of my PhD program, I've often looked with rose-colored glasses back on those days. Every preemie parent that just read that sentence probably thought "Oh no you didn't!" And I know. Cold and flu season was always incredibly lonely and isolating. It was hard seeing others seemingly living their lives, while we were stuck in the preemie trenches.
I am one of those grass is always greener types. I always dream about what is next, about what could be better out there. But being a prisoner in my own home helped me realize some things. There is a certain peace that only comes in the slow pace for me. Much of my best parenting moments and memories happened during that time. I grew stronger after the devastation of the NICU experience. I healed. And I came to know some of my greatest support during that time. Writing here and the other preemie parents I met because of it - that all happened during isolation.
I am reading a book called Simply Tuesday. It was a birthday present from a wise friend. It's about small-moment living. I know that sounds totally buzz-wordy and a bit self-helpy, but it's the concept that real life happens in the small moments we find on our most ordinary days. The book is a giant invitation to slow down. This is kind of the exact opposite of how I view my own life, or at least, the success of my own life. I am a go-getter. I want to change the world. This desire has been around since I was young, so I've been working on it for awhile you could say. I just never quite understood how I could really "change the world", though. So in the meantime, I have spent a lot of time dreaming, planning and checking off goals. I want to learn everything, not just sound bites, but the inner-workings or things you have to wrestle through. I also want the best for Jack - not only for his health and wellbeing, but also for his overall life. I want him to be happy. So I spend a lot of time thinking and doing. It's not a bad thing, in and of itself.
But it's good for me to slow down, too. To cherish the pace of a Monday at home. I get frazzled with too much extroversion. I get frazzled when I'm tired. So yeah, maybe it is rose-colored glasses speaking here, but reading this book is showing me how RSV isolation taught me a few really important things. Maybe the Mondays baking banana bread and staying home are pretty special. Maybe even significant.