The dreaded stomach bug has ripped through the Huang household over the past week, claiming four out of the five of us victim at some point as well as our nanny. (Our intrepid Jada has managed to outsmart the virus.) This seems to be an annual occurrence for many families but is a first for us. I don't wish a repeat experience, but I can at least take away a few lessons:
1. I definitely don't do well blurring home and office. In barely a week, illness took from me two full days in the office and almost a third. One day I had to work from home because our nanny got hit on a day that Amy couldn't take off, one day I had to work from home because the day Amy got hit our nanny couldn't do emergency coverage, and one day I almost had to take Aaron to the hospital until thankfully his fever calmed down to safer levels. I didn't do well doing work not in the office, both in terms of productivity and comfort. Obviously it is tiring to try to entertain an infant while running phone meetings, checking emails, and banging out report content. But even when Asher slept, I never felt quite right doing work from my home office. Truly I am not one of those work warriors who can seamlessly hit peak productivity in a multiplicity of locations.
2. I'm either on my game and happy, or off my game and unhappy. My bout with the bug was mercifully short in terms of symptoms, but the experience left me nauseous and achy for days. It was more than enough to just not feel physically right and to have to take a break from my usual morning workout routine. Most people are more resilient than this, either out of necessity (because they have some chronic ailment) or by learning to cope. This test proves I am still far from that. This doesn't bode well for adjusting to getting old, when some things are going to feel kind of bad all the time and other things are going to feel really bad some of the time. It may seem obvious or trivial, but this is a bright light warning for me, that I need to learn to find a place of peace and purpose even when I'm not 100 percent or else I'm going to be a miserable old man that needs things his way and is crabby when they're not so.
3. The opportunity is there to leave a lasting impression. Thankfully, I was not this kind of sick that often growing up, easily less than a handful of times. But I can remember every single episode, and it was both because of how awful I felt but also because of how deep was the care my mom offered me in those moments of awfulness. Not that I wished for those times of being sick, but they did leave a lasting memory of my mom being there for me when I needed it the most, and so they are actually turned into fond memories of special moments. So is there the opportunity to care for our children in such a way that they will remember and be the richer for it. So, amidst the sleepless nights and the cleaning up barf and the howling, I'm trying to take a deep breath and give a real hug. I haven't done nearly as good as my mom did for me, but maybe they'll still remember that hug in the midst of their misery, and the little sliver of love that was conveyed to them in that moment will carry through to their adulthood.