Last month, a nurse visited our office to administer flu shots. I don’t know what she had in those needles, but it wasn’t influenza. This virus had been sending threatening letters to me for the past month, and finally decided to pay a visit while I was on my way home from the chiropractor, in rush-hour traffic.
I managed to get home in time, threw my bag into the living room, and ran to assume the position in our downstairs bathroom. While I was waiting for the inevitable, I heard Ian calling from the den. ‘Daddy? Daddy?’ Kelly replied, ‘Honey, Daddy’s sick right now. Leave him alone, okay?’
Because Ian is two, he no longer does what we say, so he called again, ‘Daddy?’ I heard his voice getting louder and closer, until he was standing at the bathroom door. ‘Daddy?’ He came over and put his hand on my back. ‘Hi, Daddy!’ I managed to mumble, ‘Hey, kiddo.’
He started talking to me in his wonderful stream-of-conciousness style, jumping from thought to thought faster than Frogger. My brain couldn’t keep up, so I inturrupted and asked, ‘Hey, Ian. May Daddy have a hug?’ Prostrate as I was, the logicistics of a proper hug were simply impossible, but Ian squeezed himself between me and the wall, laid his arms across my back, and rested his head on my shoulder. ‘I love you, Daddy!’
This moment lay buried for the next eight hours, beneath my roiling digestive system and fever dreams. At 2AM, after my body had finally managed to liquidate its assets and had thrown one last ‘Hurrah!’, that hug came to me in perfect detail, and did more for me than any bowl of soup or gel-cap ever has.