April Jeppson: Deep thoughts during an unpleasant time

Published 9:00 pm Thursday, February 21, 2019

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

April Jeppson


A few weeks ago I mentioned how my children are never sick at the same time and thus prolonging our household illness to about three weeks. I take it back. I take it all back. It’s 3:12 and I’m currently snuggled in between my 10- and 5-year-olds and their puke buckets.

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My oldest has learned the fine art of throwing up. He can sense it’s impending doom and for the most part gives himself enough time to run to the bathroom when necessary. My 5-year-old, on the other hand, is another story.

My husband and I were in the middle of switching shifts when my youngest wanders into the bathroom covered in last night’s dinner. She apparently was sleeping in her sister’s bed, threw up and then without telling anyone crawled back into her own bed and went to sleep. She slept for who knows how long and then threw up in her own bed just moments before stumbling into the bathroom.

So there we were, running a bath for one kid, rubbing the back of another and trying to find that other container of Lysol wipes that I knew was around here somewhere. At this point, every light is on and we’ve completely given up on whispering. As I’m wiping down one bed while my husband cleans out the other, I realize that we do in fact have a third kid, who is sitting upright staring at me with the foggy eyes of a child who is between dream and sleep.

I went to bed, hopeful. I was younger then, foolish, naïve. I thought, hey, maybe this is the night I will get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. But alas, here I am, parenting.

My youngest has a very peaches and cream complexion. She is the same fleshy color from her head to her chubby toes. Her sickness had moved its way down her tummy and she was sitting on the toilet naked with her little bucket in her lap. As I sat on the edge of the tub rubbing her back, I saw her in a different light. She was so little, her toes just dangling, not long enough to touch the floor — her little chubby hands.

My youngest has been testing my patience lately. She’s funny, smart and very loving —  but she’s also bossy, ornery and kind of a sour puss. When I’m surrounded by my children all day, I tend to forget that they are just kids. I forget that their underdeveloped cortex makes it impossible for them to respond and react the way I think they should.

Flash forward. It’s 4:26 a.m. I’m still snuggled between two half naked children and their puke buckets. The night has quieted, the only sounds are the bathroom fan and a soft snore coming from the partially open mouth of my son. Five minutes ago my littlest was whimpering about how she didn’t want to be sick anymore — she’s now out cold.

Life is crazy one moment and then calm the next. During the insane moments, it feels endless. I’m sure my husband didn’t think we’d ever get the girls’ room vomit-free. However, even during the crazy, I can still catch a glimpse of my daughter’s sweet little body and instantly be reminded just how young and innocent she is. They all are, but even this won’t last much longer.

I don’t have to wait for everything to settle down to appreciate how good I have it. I can enjoy my life even while holding my daughter’s hair back. Perhaps it’s the severe lack of sleep, but at this moment, I’ve got it pretty good.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.