Twenty minutes ago I reached for the white flag.

I am too tired to cry.

Too tired to be angry.

Too tired to do anything but stare out the window until the next plea for help.

My hands are raw, cracked and bleeding from the incessant hand washing. I am, probably hopelessly, trying to prevent the spread of the bug that has battered Briar to but a wisp of her self. I’ve laundered everything, scrubbed, and then scrubbed again, every surface. Neither my cleaning nor my attempts to soothe are making a bit of difference for Briar. Her underwear balloon around her shrunken pelvis, her lips are split and scabbed and her body is so weak she literally cannot brush the hair from her own eyes. The ER visit and subsequent IV gave me hope that she would rally.

As I sit here about 36 hours later, she is still dry heaving off and on, what little she is able to ingest is expelled involuntarily into her pants which bruises the wee spirit beneath her tiny form.

Finley is sick again. The same blasted head and chest thing that she has had 3 times this winter. Her eyes are rummy, her nose is runny and her skin is blotchy. She cannot sleep as the coughing fits threaten to gag her. She clings to me, railing against any comfort other than my arms and my attention.

Avery is forlorn, desperate for attention, unsure how to get it and grimly worried that her sisters are going to die.

I am questioning my fitness as a parent, reflecting on this stretch from September to April in which we have had a mighty sickness of one sort or another throttling our family.

They’re watching a movie now, yet I find myself tensing, exhausting every part of me in anticipation of what will come next. I realize that in the grand scheme of things we are very blessed, but as I get clumsier from exhaustion and the edges start to fray more on our little family, I just wish we could be healthy again.

I am weary, so very, very weary. I am mired in the desperate need for help and the sense that I have to do it all myself. I know rationally that I need to care for myself, but when the night is pierced by Briar’s screams for help, when Fin’s hacking morphs into a garbled gag, I cannot be still. I have to be the one holding Briar and stroking her brow, my arms must be the ones to prop Fin up as she hacks, I scoop Avery up and cuddle her. I know that I am wearing myself out, but I cannot stop. But I need to.