There are only so many words a man can peck out on a keyboard before he begins to sound trite, even to himself. There are only so many similes and metaphors and rondos that one can twist ink or graphite to; the numbers are finite, and singular, and…and…
I’ve had a cold for the last few days–nothing serious–just “that thing” that’s been going around. My littlest one had it for a week or so, and being the one that spends the most time with him, it seemed that I’d be the most likely candidate to catch it next; the cold obliged.
I spent most of today curled up on the couch, my son cuddled to me like the breathing ball of love that he is; YouTube videos for toddlers shining through the TV. I spent most of the previous day curled up on my mom’s couch; my son bouncing around her house, playing with Gramma, giggling, shouting, singing, laughing at the cloud-covered Sun.
I spent the whole of last week feeling inadequate, wanting only to make my child feel better, make my wife less stressed, my eldest son feel joy–make me feel better.
My son feels better.
I wrote a letter last week, mailed it. Wrote another one this week, and due to illness, it’s sitting waiting for the post. There were stories read, thoughts had, hugs given, noses wiped, games played, sleep had, albeit, restless.
I’ve easily had a couple of gallons of coffee over the last few weeks, a liter of whiskey, and at least a foot of water in my (rented) garage. I worked a couple of weeks, listened to a few days worth of audio books, captured about sixty-four Pokemon. I’ve watched a few weeks worth of TV, put out about a dozen tweets, and visited with friends maybe three or four times.
I’ve put together a bunch of Ikea shelves, cleaned up some of the house, put together one bunk bed, and have washed dishes until I just can’t look at the sink anymore. I can change a child’s bed without fully waking up to do it.
I want to feel better.
I knew I was coming down with the cold when I started feeling sleepy at 9 p.m. I’m never sleepy at 9 p.m. Then the vivid, stress driven anxiety dreams, and talking in my sleep. Waking up with that annoying tickle in the back of my throat. The headache. The fatigue. Looking into the mirror and seeing a wreck. My wife asking, “are you OK?” My mom saying “I can hear it in your voice.” My oldest son suddenly being all cuddly–which might also mean he just want something, but I’m counting this towards me being sick–this time.
I haven’t written anything in a while. Nothing complete, or worth sharing. I’ve started three or four different essays, but they’ve all stalled. I got so far down the path of writing, and then stalled–my thoughts, my writing seemed tired. The thoughts were coming too quick, the words not quick enough, and I couldn’t…couldn’t
I wanted to be better.
I’d started writing one thing about feeling inadequate about helping other people–how I honestly couldn’t do the things I wanted to towards helping those that needed help–even if that help was giving hope–just simple hope. I started writing another thing about failing with words and failing with actions. I started writing about the dogs that I’ve kept as pets over the years, and how they live to love, but never grow out of it–eternal loving toddlers–with fangs and claws, and the ability to wake themselves to battle with their own farts.
I wanted to be better.
I lay on the couch, feeling winded, lethargic; my head throbbing, and my joints feeling thick and stiff. The little one crawled on stomach, and laid his head on my chest and, taking my hands in his little ones, wrapped my arms around him as he did the same to me.
“I’m sorry Daddy doesn’t feel good, baby.” I said.
“I hug you to make you better, Dad.” He said.
And for a moment, I did.