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Family Ties: Unraveled

On December 21, I headed for my hometown for ten days of family and friend filled festivities. The flight was on time, and my babe slept for about half of the trip. The next 48 hours we cruised. Presents were wrapped, parties were attended, and the weather was outstanding.

Two days later, we were sharing laughs and eating appetizers when my mother–in–law turned to me and said, "I have to excuse myself. I'm going to be sick." She had the stomach flu. My husband, baby and I had all endured this illness a week earlier. As soon as she said that, I knew she was in for it, too. To see more about my disastrous holiday,


Following her stomach bug, my sister, mother, both nieces, step–father, uncles, aunts, cousins, dad and friends all came down with it, too. Though it is short lived, it takes a couple of days to really bounce back. Selfishly, I felt relieved that I had already been sick and was probably not going to get it again.

The joke was on me because I forgot to mention that the few family members who dodged the tummy bug were not able to steer clear of the miserable cold from you know where. (No cursing! Remember new year's resolution number one!) My father–in–law got a runny nose on Christmas Day, which he dismissed as a case of the sniffles. Only it quickly turned into a three day fever with a bronchial infection to boot. After two days, my husband and I also fell ill.

After trekking 1,600 miles across the country to spend the holidays in merriment, we were laid up in bed shivering and coughing until our eyes bled tears on the pillows. Finally starting to feel some relief from my fever, I woke up to my baby girl wailing.

The morning of December 31 was spent in an emergency care room where I waited behind five people for my daughter to see a doctor who gave her a prescription. My babe was sad, miserable and we were scheduled to fly home the next day.

I took her home to rest and went to see my grandmother down the street. As I stood in her front yard, a fire truck and ambulance came rolling down the street with sirens blaring and red lights flashing headed straight to her house. I ran like lightening through her door and found her sitting with my mom and aunt. My grandma managed a meager "Hello." She had fallen and gashed a large cut in the back of her head. As the paramedics lifted her into the ambulance on the stretcher, I told her that I hadn't wanted to wish her a farewell from an ambulance. She just asked if the house was locked and gave me a kiss.

All at once, the pent up emotions came flooding down through my eyes. I walked past the concerned neighbors and inside the house where I cried like a homesick camper. My holiday had been a joke. One sick person right after another. And to top it all off, I had to watch my last living grandparent, the one who has always meant the most to me, ride away on a stretcher. My family ties were unraveling.

But that night, as I packed our bags and stuffed toys into pockets I didn't even know existed, I began to talk some sense into myself. Yes, I had been sick for much of the holiday. No, I hadn't seen much of my own family but, I did get to spend time with my in–laws, who I love. And, while it seemed like the majority of my family members were sick, all of them would be better in days. We were lucky to have spent any time with our loved ones and blessed to have our health (though it might have been failing momentarily). So I shook it off and kept my chin up in an effort to welcome 2008 with a smile and grace.

And so far, so good. My grandmother is back at home recovering and my mother is here watching after my babe while I sit at work. But for every up there is a down. My mother–in–law called. She, too is getting the double whammy — she's got the sniffles. She must have waited to get sick again after she played nurse to all of us.

Join The Conversation
Mel475 Mel475 9 years
So sorry to hear about this! Not the best way to spend your holiday but at least everyone is recovering. My sister-in-law got married in Vegas and almost everyone who went to the wedding got sick the night after it - we're not sure if it was a virus or what but my then 1 year old son and myself were throwing up and sick enough that we had to delay our flight home an extra day. My brother had to go to the ER and my husband's aunt had to be taken off her airplane when it touched down by paramedics. My husband was one of the lucky few who didn't get it. It was definitely a wedding to remember!
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
Oh wow that sucks! So sorry you had to go through that.
sfbutterfly24 sfbutterfly24 9 years
So Sorry for you. I had that stomach flu whatever you want to call it thing from the depth of hockey sticks and it was the most HORRIBLE thing EVER. Again so sorry that had to happen to you and your family. Just think you will NEVER forget this chritmas with your family.
wonderwoman80 wonderwoman80 9 years
I hear you on the terrible holiday. My husband, 6 month old and I all had the norovirus, along with about 15 of our family members throughout the holiday week. Glad everyone is on the mend.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Glad to hear your granma is ok. But, chancleta is right - horrible experiences like this don't unravel your family, they bring you all closer together! As much as they suck while they're happening... My in-laws all STILL laugh and reminisce every time they get together about the time my husband's Aunt and Uncle made spaghetti and meatballs for the whole family and all 15 or 20 people there puked their guts out for the next 24 hours. That was more than 15 years ago!!
chancleta chancleta 9 years
oh dear it's alll so awful and i'm so glad to hear your grandmother is doing better i know this may sound trite but try to remember that years from now you'll all laugh about that awful christmas =)
kia kia 9 years
Wow, I wish you could get a vacation from that vacation. It sounds miserable. I am glad folks are on the mend, or will be. And big time YAY that your grandmother is recovering back at home.
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