Can chicken pox lead to a happier life?

Categories Curiously Serious

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We are home with chicken pox, again. Little Isaiah has a nasty case of chicken pox that is keeping him (and me) up all night. His small, chunky body is covered in red spots, inflamed spots, blistered spots, and scratch marks where he has itched them. While Dave slept on the guest bed last night (I encouraged him to so at least one of us could sleep), Isaiah and I spent the whole night awake for 20 minutes, asleep for 10, awake for 20, asleep for 10. And at 3:30am, when I couldn’t settle him any longer, we turned on the projector in the basement and watched Tumble Leaf. I had coffee, peanut butter, porridge, cereal, and toast…. at 4am. Guessing tonight will be a repeat.

As a side note, I have become an expert in treating chickenpox due to the extensive amount of research I have done in the middle of the night. And if you care to know what has worked for us – Antihistamines, Oatmeal and Tea Tree Oil in the Bath, Aloe Vera on the spots, baking soda on the spots, Paracetamol, and a good lathering of Melaluca Lotion that mom gave me (which has tea tree oil in it).

So back to our question – Can chicken pox lead to a happier life? If you read the above bit about the sleep and the treatment of these disgusting sores, you would wholeheartedly say “no”.

But chicken pox has made my life happier for the weeks we have battled it. Not because my kids are itching and uncomfortable and tired. But because life’s pace has slowed yet again.

Two years ago, I would have hated the thought of a slow life. The diary was filled to the brim with activities each day and each night. I would have feared the diary clearing. And then it emptied. For one reason or another, life slowed down.

But my mind didn’t slow. I felt the need to be busy even though I wasn’t actually busy. So in reality, I wasn’t happy because I resented the fact that I didn’t have back to back “playdates” in the day, church events in the nights, and dinner guests all the time. The mind of an extrovert forced into the mold of an introvert! The solution to this problem in my mind – plan more things to do and stay as busy as you possibly can. Go, go, go all the time. So recently, we had found lots of people to see and things to do! I was rushing the boys from this place or person to another. No time to linger. No room for last minute plans.

Then came chicken pox to help remind me that busyness is a cultural construct that has become the norm. In our culture, we prize a busy schedule. We honour those that live non-stop lives. We envy people that seem to not need a rest. And I had conformed to that thinking. Until the last two weeks, when I have tasted the sweetness of slowness.

There is sweetness in slow. Sweetness in not having a plan for every hour of every day. Stewing in each moment, instead of rushing to the next. Asking time to slow down, instead of begging for it to pass. Sweetness in a relaxed heart rate. In walks that go nowhere. In watching birds till they fly away.

And chicken pox slowed me down. Reminded me that as the sweetness of honey drips slowly, life’s sweetness is tasted when it is lived at a snail’s pace . Because the more rushed I am, the more I will miss. I will Hudson offering to sing Isaiah a lullaby. I will miss smelling my coffee as it’s sipped. Miss the sunrise. Miss a goodbye kiss for Dave. Miss a Skype call to my family. Miss my friend that needed me to be free to chat. Miss a good plot in a novel.

And if it weren’t for Isaiah having chicken pox, I would have missed a million cuddles.

Yes chicken pox can make life a little bit happier. I will be happy to sleep again, but I will carry the lesson of stripping back the schedule to the minimal in order to be fully engaged in each moment.

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