Her face is white as a sheet, her brown eyes big and round with fear. "Am I going to be okay, Momma?"
Greta is sick, her fever spiked scary-high, and she just threw up. Her body feels like it is on fire.
I brush her hair back from her face and give her a peaceful smile. "Yes, honey, you're going to be fine. Try to get some sleep."
Inside I'm boiling over with anxiety, and I try not to let her see. I'm fairly sure it's a flu virus - it feels a lot like the swine flu we had back in the fall. I almost wish it had some media-hyped name to it, so at least I'd know what I'm dealing with.
I tiptoe out of her room and quietly shut the door. I can't call the doctor's office yet, they don't open for another hour.
It's so strong, mother-love. Each and every time my children are sick, I want to beg the heavens to make them better, give it to me if it has to go somewhere, just please spare them.
I find a quiet room and I get down on my knees. I don't beg the heavens for anything except the strength to carry on minute-by-minute. I don't ask for a miracle, because that doesn't seem fair. I pray that I can keep my head in the game, stay calm in front of her, ease her anxiety. I think of the parents out there with chronically sick children, who live in this fear each and every day. I send prayers their way, too.
It calms me, for a moment. I sneak a glance into Greta's room; she is sound asleep, her breathing raspy and her lips are bright red. I put my hand on her back and hum a song to her. The world suddenly feels big and scary to me, like we're floating madly adrift on the vast ocean with only a tiny raft between us and disaster. I push the fear down, and tuck the blanket around Greta.
Twenty more minutes until I can call the doctor. I'll just take it as it comes, like I always do, because I don't have another option even though I like to think I do. When things are sailing along uneventfully the illusion of control is easier to maintain. When tough times come, like a sick kid, I'm reminded that I'm on that tiny life raft all the time, I just don't notice until I feel fear.
For some reason this thought comforts me.
It's a day like any other, and events will unfold the way they are meant to unfold.
I'll try to do the next right thing, take it one minute at a time, and we will be okay, because we'll be where we are supposed to be.