We are not in San Francisco this weekend, despite having planned the trip with my mom since Thanksgiving 2011. While at work yesterday, I started getting horrible chills and aches and eventually took my temperature with the handy ear thermometer we have on hand for the kids: 101*. I left work early, called my mom crying to cancel our trip, barely made it home, threw up a bunch, swaddled myself giant robes and four blankets and slept for the last 18 hours. 18. Hours. I’m feeling much better today, because the fever broke late last night and my insides are no longer boiling, which only makes me feel even worse about not driving up to meet my parents in San Francisco last night. I probably could have done all my sleeping in the car and been human enough today (with the help of tons of medicine) to go to the Dickens Christmas Fair with my mom. (As a child, I went to Baha’i feasts and temples, Native American pow wows, six months of Hebrew school, Civil War reenactments and Renaissance fairs. My family never saw a cultural/historical/religious experience it didn’t love.) As it is, though, I’m spending today eating dry wheat toast and drinking tea, watching my husband be productive as I lay on the couch.
I got this bug from the kids in my class. In fact, I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to come down with it, as it’s been cycling through all the people at school for about six weeks now. I am a miserable sick person and a notorious complainer, but yesterday, as I knelt over the toilet, crying over how horrible I felt, I was proud to do the type of job that requires so much playing and hugging and adoring of children that I regularly contract all their illnesses. Nothing I have done so far gives me as much joy and fulfillment as working with kids does. They are all bright and witty and hysterical and curious and they feel naturally all of the things adults can only hope to capture in small moments through the eyes of the children in their lives. They are fabulous, every single one of them. And today, as I am finally reading the details about what happened at Sandy Hook, I am, as we all are, horrified and in tears. I am also in awe of the bravery of the teachers and staff who gave their lives to protect the children they loved. No one should ever have to die shielding first grade children from gunfire in their classroom. However, the fact that someone would use their own body as a shield is a testament to the spirit of a teacher who has dedicated her life to the children in her class.