My drive home from Blissdom was difficult.
On Sunday morning I started feeling sick. I had a little cough and was feeling a bit achy. But I took some Tylenol and it held it back. Late that night, after church and meeting with friends and driving for hours I knew I was getting sicker. The chills, the aches and cough were worse.
By Monday morning I was full out sick with a capital ICK. The original plan was to drive 8 hours to my parent’s house, spend the night and then Tuesday finish the last four and a half hours home. By Monday at noon I knew I was not going to be able to drive on Tuesday. I was really sick and I just wanted to go home to my husband, my babies and my bed.
I changed the destination in the GPS, adding several hours to my drive and headed for home. I called James and asked him to tell the kids I’d be home around 8:30, but that I was sick and wouldn’t be very chatty. With each hour I was getting sicker and sicker. I was miserable with chills and fever that the Tylenol wasn’t helping. All I wanted was to make it home and crawl into my own bed.
As I pulled up to my house, I could see the kids watching for me out the living room window. James came running out of his office first and gave me a big hug (no kisses, he didn’t want to get sick). The kids came dashing out the front door calling, “Mommy, Mommy, we’re so glad you’re home!” Then Levi saw me. I wish I had a video, but the image is forever burned into my memory.
He got a look on his face of pure joy, he spread his arms wide and took off running toward me as fast as his three year old legs would carry him. I called out, “Levi!” as he threw himself into my arms. I scooped him up and he gripped my neck as tight as he could. James backed away and the other 8 kids waited a few feet away. They all knew that this was Levi’s moment. After a minute or two (time stood still to me) he looked at me and said, “Mommy, you were gone,” and then he started to cry. He buried his little head into me and hugged me some more.
I whispered to him, “I’m sorry Buddy. I’m back now and I won’t be gone any more.” He mumbled back, “OK,” forgiving me.
I wanted to hold him forever, but my sickness came flooding over me and I couldn’t stand there holding his 35 pounds any longer. I felt like I would faint so I turned to James who helped me set Levi down. He still clung to my hand as I hugged the rest of the kids.
I fell right into bed as my wonderful children unloaded my things from the van. Levi climbed up next to me and snuggled up close, chattering all about the fun he had while I was gone, showing me all of the artwork he made. The rest of the kids hung around in my bedroom chatting for half an hour until I painfully said, “Guys, I really need to sleep. Can we talk more tomorrow?”
They all drifted away, but Levi started to cry again so I told him he could stay a little while longer. I flipped on the TV and we laid on the bed together, watching American Idol and enjoying just being together. He’d tell me what he thought of each audition. “She sings bad, Mommy,” or, “He did a good job.”
My cough kept me from talking, so I’d smile and stroke his little back, soaking him in.
I’m so glad to be home to my little family. I’m trying, between coughing fits, to spend time with each of the kids today.
Blissdom was good, but this is the real bliss.