A couple of months or so ago I was feeling sick. Very sick. I was taking care of three-year-old Matthew and was trying to keep up with him despite the fact that I felt drained. At one point it all became too much. I was chasing him through the bathroom when my foot caught in a towel on the floor and I fell flat on my face. I was uninjured, but stunned, tired, and sick. I did not feel able to get up.
I lay there for a couple of minutes before Matthew came back to find out why I wasn’t following him any more. “What doing, Daddy?” he asked my exhausted, prone self.
“Oh, Matthew, Daddy is just sick, very tired, and he doesn’t want to get up right now.” I tried to sound as calm as possible; I was afraid of frightening him. He has been somewhat obsessed with illness and death lately and, though I honestly felt like I might never be able to stand again, I knew that the odds were in favor of me being up and chasing him around the house in a few minutes. At that particular moment, though, I simply did not have it in me to stand.
Matthew scampered away like a boy on a mission. I continued searching within myself for the fortitude to get to my feet, afraid that I might have scared Matthew or made him feel insecure. Such is the weakness in my character, though, that I was unable to stand. It occurred to me that he is probably smart enough to dial 9-1-1, which would be plenty embarrassing in its own right, but I assured myself that neither Kim nor I had taught him to make emergency calls.
“This will make you feel better,” he said when he returned. He proceeded to set up his little plastic tea set a few inches from my nose. He then brewed, poured, and served me that delicious imaginary tea that only preschoolers can make. It was the perfect elixir, and I was up and running with him through the house in no time at all.
— Ron – 15 Sep 2005