April 18, 2003

The Worst Day Of My Life

- My daughter told my wife this morning "This is the worst day of my life."

I got a call at work yesterday.

"Mr. Burke? Katherine is in the nurse's office. She had complained about her throat earlier and we gave her some water and sent her back to class. Now she's got a headache. We can't contact your wife."

"Does she need to come home?"

"She is saying she wants to go home."

"Ok." I said. "I'll be right over."

Before I got too far down the street, Margaret called me on my wireless phone and told me she would take care of Kit.

When I got home she was all limp. I wasn't home long before she threw up the contents of her basically empty stomach.

She fell asleep on the couch, and so we sent Mattie to bed and I slept on the floor in front of the couch to monitor her. Her legs fell off the couch once with a thud. I came alert and repositioned her.

This morning she looked hardly any better. Maggie had suggested some videos that she likes to watch when she's feeling sick... "The Brave Little Toaster" has long been her favorite. So I asked her what she wanted to watch.

She requested old home videos from around the time Mattie was born and before. Pictures of herself stumbling around... haltingly using her first words... fascinated by the camera...

One of the videos shows her and me sitting on the rug of our old parlor watching TV. She is lying on my legs and I am brushing the hair out of her face. Katherine immediately arranged herself on top of my legs, as in the video and we watched some more of the footage together this way.

Some time later, she continued being sick and told Maggie "This is the worst day of my life."

Things are simple when you're a child. She doesn't realize that she will be better in a couple of days and we'll go to get the season's first ice cream at the local hand-made ice cream parlor. She's not thinking that next week is vacation for her, and she'll be well in time to take advantage of all sorts of free time.

Life is a series of moments, and none of them last very long. I guess that gives us an opportunity to pick and choose the ones we want to attach special meaning to, and the ones we just observe and let pass away.

Posted by James at April 18, 2003 1:27 PM
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