This morning, when I woke up, and you weren’t beside me, I went looking for you. I found you in the living room. I knew right away that you were sick. I had felt the heat of the fever before you left our bed. I didn’t wake you as you slept in the chair, at least not right away. Eventually, I needed to know that you were all right. Breakfast for me was an english muffin with homemade jam and a cup of coffee. As I checked email, you came to see me. You were sick. My plans for the day changed, which I knew in the night, when you were burning with fever.
I set out for the football game, over an hour’s drive from our house. Kids come first. Our first rule, but not always the easiest. This time, I’ve chosen to take care of my daughter at college while my love lies sick and sleeping. I watch the game with feigned interest. I take notice of my daughter as she performs her duties at the game. She is an amazing child to have reached this position of leadership in the band. I wasn’t fully invested in this day with my child, because you, my love, were sick.
I texted you. No response. I texted you again. Finally the answer came that you did not feel well at all. Your words were “I feel like shit.” I did my best from where I was to take care of you. I suggested that you go to the emergency room. Your response led me to believe you just might do that when I got home. So I fulfilled my obligation to my daughter, and explained that I needed to get back to you.
You could barely talk. Breathing was difficult. You had chills, a fever, and sweats. You refused to go to the emergency room and I fought for you. I gathered your clothes. I put them on you while you protested. I walked out of the room to fight back my tears. Then I returned to fight again. I feared this wasn’t a common infection. I knew it would take more than a day or two of rest to rid you of the symptoms.
I dragged you to the emergency room and I spoke the first words to the triage nurse, as though I were the father worried about my child. I sat with you while you were examined, medicated, and questioned about every symptom and your medical history. My cell phone was my entertainment while you went for a chest x-ray. When the family in the bed next to us discovered the gay couple and paced past our cubicle repeatedly, I closed the curtain. I worked hard for you today.
You needed nourishment, so I bought chicken soup and fed you. I put you to bed. We went to sleep, and I could still feel the heat of the fever, but I was happy knowing that I fought hard to keep you with me today. Were you in serious danger? I think. At least, danger was a few steps away; bronchitis now, pneumonia later? I could not let it take that next step.
We were awakened by the phone call. The police asked you to come pick up your son. My heart sank again. I feel once more that I must fight for you. Kids come first. Will this one take you from me for good? Within minutes you returned, kid with you. The fight erupted only moments later and I feared for your safety. I had my cell phone in my hand, ready to dial the number. No physical violence happened. I put down my phone.
We both know what is going through my mind. There’s no need to say it again, not at this moment. I’ve fought for you all day. Will this one child be the contender? Will he be the one to drive us apart? Not today. I will fight for you again. Those who think they can divide us, to you I say, bring your best game. I’ve been fighting a long time.