It’s not often you get a break when you’re a parent. The past four nights I’ve had roughly four hours of sleep each night due to a variety of circumstances.

Sunday, at about 2:30 AM, I hear Liam and Duncan talking. Why are they talking at this hour? No idea. I go in to their room, and I find that Liam is in Duncan’s bunk. I tell them to be quiet, and I leave. Of course that doesn’t happen. They are quiet for about five minutes, and then they are talking again. They are excited about something. I go back in there and implore them to be quiet, but also not wanting to split them up because they want to be together. Again, they are quiet for a little while, but then they are conversing loudly. At this point, Jana is up with me and we are having Liam go back to his bunk. Both boys try and go back to sleep. And I am wide awake. I don’t go back to sleep. I’m not liking this since the Online Campus will be testing the live stream that Sunday morning. And, I’ll be giving announcements in both Access services. Everything goes well Sunday morning, thankfully.

Sunday night, around 10:00 PM, Jana and I are in bed and we hear Duncan coughing. It sounds a bit like a fake cough he does. Still, before we go to bed, Jana goes in to check on him. He has thrown up on his bed. I get him in the shower, and Jana starts cleaning up his bed. About thirty minutes later we think we are in the clear. I’m out in the kitchen holding him, and he throws up again all over the floor. Back to the shower. I keep him in there for awhile, just in case he happens to throw up again. He’s in there for at least twenty minutes. Nothing. So, I get him out and wrap him in his towel. He throws up in his towel. Clean him up, and take him back out to the kitchen. He is moving slowly, but we think the worst is over. We get new sheets on his bed, and have a bucket nearby for him. As I’m getting ready to leave his room, he throws up again. Repeatedly. He is crying and scared. Liam is sleeping through it all. We get him back out to the kitchen and set up a bed out there. Jana is going to stay with him. Everything is set up, and he throws up again. This happens roughly every thirty minutes until 3:00 AM. At 3 AM, he throws up, and tells Jana he is thirsty. He has a drink, and then says he is sleepy. He goes to bed and sleeps till the morning. Jana and I? Not much sleep.

Tuesday morning, around 3 AM, Liam is coughing and comes into our bedroom. He wakes Jana and I up, and we care for him. He goes back to bed, Jana goes back to bed, and I stay awake. I lay there trying to sleep, but it’s no good. I read news and do some social media on my iPhone. Finally, I get up and do some reading and praying. The house is quiet. Liam comes out around 7 AM and does his morning routine of playing with Lego.

I’m coming home from work, Tuesday night, and Jana calls me to say that Liam has thrown up. I need to go to Hy-Vee to pick up 7-Up, bread and some other items. I come home and you’d never guess Liam was sick. Me? I’m petrified. There are very few things I hate more than throwing up. I once went over 14 years without throwing up, until that fateful day in January 2009. Horrible feeling, and I’m worried that I might get sick with whatever the boys had.

This morning, I had a dream that I was throwing up. I woke up nauseous. A wonderful feeling to have at that time. I head to the bathroom and am sick. Not throwing up, but…you get the idea. I experience three rounds of this. When I try to lay down I get more nauseous. So, for most of three hours I am standing or pacing in the bathroom. I have an extended time of prayer, I’m watching YouTube clips on the iPad, I’m reading news, and I’m hoping and praying that the nausea goes away.

I’ve woken Jana up, and she heads down to the living room to sleep. However, she then starts feeling nauseous and is sick. We both feel horrible, but we also know the reality of the day. We need to parent our three boys that day, despite being sick with the flu.

The day is a grind, but the boys are patient with us. Thankfully, they entertain themselves in the morning and don’t ask for breakfast right away. While Gideon has his morning nap, I play Cars for the boys to watch. Jana and I crash in bed for almost two hours. What am I wearing to bed? Layers, as well as a scarf and my knit Harry Potter Gryffindor cap. As the movie nears its end, my mom and a friend of Jana’s, Margie, bring us some soup and Gatorade.

Throughout the morning, Jana and I both notice that we have waves of nausea. I’ll have moments where the pain isn’t as intense, and I’m on Facebook or Twitter talking to friends. We get lunch ready for them, and all of a sudden I am in pain. Any time I move I get a searing headache. I go back to bed, wanting to be still and hide from noise.

I think I get an hours sleep, but I still feel bad when I wake up. The boys are playing quietly in the living room. Jana still isn’t feeling well, but she’s a trooper and is hanging with them. She doesn’t have the boys nap so they will go to bed early tonight.

I try and rest throughout the afternoon, hoping the pain goes away. I watch Once In A Lifetime on Netflix. I take some Tylenol, and a little bit later the headache goes away.

I am able to help with dinner, thankfully. The boys pray for us on their own accord. Jana has a chance to rest near the end of dinner. The boys continue to be great, and they are off playing around the house once they finish. Jana and I rest in the living room, and Gideon is there as well.

Around 7 PM we begin to put the boys down. I read them some Dr. Seuss stories, help get them ready for bed, pray with them, and then lights out. They go down without a sound. Wonderful. Jana and I needed that on a night we are sick.

Whether or not they realize it, I’m grateful for the boys grace and patience throughout the day. It’s nice to experience after the recent sleepless nights we’ve had in being parents.

I’m also reminded there are parents who deal with more difficult situations, on a daily basis, than Jana and I have these past few days. I think of single parents and parents of kids with disabilities. Seeing those parents approach parenting with joy is inspiring.

And now? Time for bed. Hopefully it’s a long slumber.

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