I have a confession, and it isn't a nice one. I admit that I found a bit of peace when my twins were in the depths of strep. Let me also say that it was hard to watch as they whimpered or smoldered from fever. The coughs, particularly in the middle of the night, I suspect hurt me emotionally almost as much as them physically. It's the kind of cough that hurts the throat, but also seems to try to pull the lungs our through it. And the occasional vomiting isn't easy either. Sometimes the twins simply laid on the couch or floor, dozing in and out, only wanting to be snuggled or left alone. And those are the moments in which I found peace.
I hope I don't burn in hell for it, but despite my strong empathic response to their pain -- an empathy that never wains -- I enjoyed the peace of sitting on the couch between the twins and they snuggled under blankets, their eyes opening and closing like they were Disney animatronics. I would read them books or keep them company. It was quiet.
If you've been in a house with rambunctious young boys, you know quiet is unheard of (Sorry, I couldn't resist). Sometimes ours are even loud in their sleep, banging on walls or snoring or talking almost as incessantly as they do when awake. Sometimes they even talk to each other in their sleep. And so not since they were little babies really had I spent this much quiet time with them while they were conscious. It was nice stroking their hair off of their sweaty foreheads and tucking them in or getting them ice water. There was no screaming or competition. It was quiet.
Yes, I do feel guilty for finding this silver lining to their being very ill, but I won't lie and say I didn't enjoy it. Now, they're recovering and asleep as I type this. The quiet of illness is being replaced by the quiet of healthy sleep. There are no chest-tearing coughs or raspy breathing. And I'm thankful for that. But in a few days, when they are fully recovered and running through the house screaming about Igloo superheroes or who isn't playing what game right, a tiny part of me might long for those tender moments of quiet on the couch.