One Freezing Friday Morning...

March 31, 2008
By Marissa Spencer, Sandia Park, NM

One freezing Friday morning in late February, I woke up startled. What was it? What had awakened me? I could faintly hear my mom’s frightened voice and little Ryan’s rasping cough downstairs. I, Heather Moore, the third oldest, happened to be a heavy sleeper and therefore Ryan must be coughing pretty loudly to have awakened me. Cautiously slipping out of bed and into my pink fuzzy house shoes, I quickly looked around my room.

As I headed for the door I glanced at my sisters that shared my room, and I mentally thought about each one, each had their own personality. Annie, a happy 14 year old who loved the great outdoors, all types of animals, and a very social life brought joy to every one in the family. She and I were three years apart and got along beautifully. Elizabeth the next in line tended to be a little quieter than talkative Annie. In her own way Lizzy brought laughter to the household even without a word from the ten-year-old lips. Little Katelynn, the second youngest of the whole family was just like Annie and me but different in ways of her own, Katie’s four years had graced her with the talent of caring about every one. Her tender, compassionate heart was not hard to win and to the little girl a stranger was just a friend she had not yet met.

My mind jumping back to the present moment I quietly dashed down the stairs and my parent’s voices became clearer.

“We will have to take him to the hospital but what about the other kids?” cried mom.

Dad speedily gave mom a reply. “I’ll go wake up Justin, Micah, and Heather to let them know what is going on. They will be able to watch the younger 5, get their breakfast and start on school. They’ll be fine.”

Passing my older brothers room I could hear a rustling and figured that Justin and Micah had been wakened as well. The two 18 year-old twins were just that, twins. Almost every thought, look, action, and comment sounded just like the other boy. Although Justin had a bigger sense of humor than Micah but they were both the comedians of the family. Most people had an extremely hard time telling the two apart. Their eighteen years were little separated from my 17 and being the closest in age we were very closely bonded and got along tremendously well.

Coming up the stairs dad found me, and skidding up behind were my two handsome, mischievous, older brothers.

“Ah, just who I want to see. Your mother and I have to take Ryan to the hospital. He seems to have really bad croup again like he did in December, but worse. I need you three to help your siblings get their breakfast, do the chores, and start school. We will be back as soon as possible. But it will be a long time. We also have some shopping to do while we are in town. You can go back to bed and get up at your normal time. I will have my cell with me if you need to get a hold of us. We will call to check in on you all around lunch. Bye guys. I love you all.”

“Okay, by dad” we echoed in unison as we each gave him a quick hug.

“I hope Ryan is going to be alright.” Micah thought out loud.

“He is such a strong little boy that I know he can pull through it.” I commented.

“He sure is the toughest little fellow I ever saw. Now it is only 3:45 so we have another several hours to sleep. So lets get to it,” said Justin in a half whisper and at that we all darted off to bed.

Lying in bed I thought over the Moore families worst Christmas present when croup had grasped our little two-year-olds body and squeezed the poor little life within him. We had always been very close to each other and were always sad and concerned when some one became sick or hurt.

Waking up once again, this time to an alarm clock, I rubbed my eyes and looked to see Annie watching me and the other two still sleeping.

“Hey Heather, why did you get up in the middle of the night?” she asked in her sweet and inquisitive voice.

“ We will tell everyone at breakfast.” I replied.

I got out of bed and walked over to Lizzy and Katie’s bunk beds and gently shook them awake. Then grabbing my clothes I dashed to the bathroom, it was always a race to see which of the three older kids would get there first. But alas I was the rotten egg. Micah and Justin had both made it there in front of me. Justin and I chatted about what the day had in store for us while we waited for Micah. When the room was vacant I took the opportunity to use it and changed into my favorite jeans and lime and pink striped sweater. Skipping downstairs I practically ran into the three dismal faces of four-year-old Katelynn and 6 year olds Jason and Joe.

“Good gracious, what is wrong?” I questioned.

“Where are mom and dad?” piped up Joe in a scared tone.

“Yeah” said his twin Jason. “We can’t find ‘em any where.”

Well so much for telling every one at one time. Their faces looked so forlorn that I could not help answering at once.

“They had to take Ryan to the hospital. He has croup again. But they will be back later this after noon. Once they are done at the hospital they had some shopping to do too.”

I went on to make every one a breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon, and a class of OJ. As we sat down at the long rectangular table, with Justin at the head and Micah at the foot, we asked a blessing on the food as well as for mom, dad, and especially for little Ryan.

As we got Lizzy, Jason, Joe, and Katie going on their chores inside, the oldest twins, Annie and I went out side. Us girls scampered to feed the horses, dogs, and chickens, and then help the boys with milking the cows. Returning inside to the sound of glass breaking, a little gasp, and then to find Joe holding a cut thumb standing by a broken cup on the floor and his face turning pale doubled my anxiety.

Oh no, was the cut deep? Would he need stitches? I quickly thought.

“Please don’t be mad Heather. I did not mean to drop the glass, it just slipped out of my hand.”

“I’m not mad at all Joe. Accidents happen, even to the best of us.” I answered as comfortingly as possible.

Now joined by the rest of the kids I looked at his finger and noticed a small cut. I was thankful it was not bleeding profusely. Being the boy that he was he did not allow me to put a band-aide on the wound. So I washed of the little blood that was there and let it go, helping him finish unloading the dishwasher.

Getting on to school I found that it is a lot harder to get all your work done when your mother is not there to oversee every thing and answer all the constant questions.

“All the questions were not distracting Justin and Micah, Why did I have to deal with it all in addition to all my own work? Could not my brothers help with the problems? The kids never have so many questions when mom is here.” Signing I looked at my attitude and I found myself complaining. “I have to do it cheerfully. It is my job.” I glanced up in time to see Micah answering a math question for Joe and Justin helping Elizabeth with a science experiment. The boys really are helping more than I had realized. At lunch Katelynn and Lizzy were there to help prepare the meal, for which I was extremely glad. As we made grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, as we conversed they said they had finished school and wanted to go ride the horses and play with the puppies after lunch. Agreeing we sat down to eat in the same manner as breakfast. Taking a pole I concluded that every one but Annie and I had their work done. Justin, seeing me overwhelmed volunteered to take the other kids out to the barn and entertain them while Annie and I finished our school.

Everyone jumped at the sound of the phone ringing and Justin walked over toward receptor on the counter. Noticing it was dad he picked it up and welcomed dad with a comical,
“¿Hola, Cómo estás señor?” he laughed when dad replied “oh sorry I think I have the wrong number bye.” he did not really hang up and then Justin followed up by the English version and then the conversation “hey dad how are you?...... Oh really?....... We are doing fine. We did the chores, ate, and are now doing school. What about you all?..... Ok have fun and be safe........Love you too. Bye.”

He turned to us and gave us a summary “ dad and mom are getting ready to go shopping now and they have several stops to make and then are going back to the hospital. They will be home in about four hours. Ok lets clean up the kitchen and get out side.”

We had both discharged our work roughly at the same time, and dashed for the barn making a pack of 9 excited kids. Finding everyone getting ready to commence playing with my siblings, one of my favorite things, we enthusiastically joined in as though we had been there from the start. Every minute rolled by and we soon found our selves enrolled in tag, hide and seek, capture the flag, cards, and other recreations of the sort, till we grew tired and headed toward the horse’s padlocks. Justin, Micah, and Annie, each taking a saddle, slapped it on the gelding and mares just as dad had showed us so many years ago, while I got the bridles. Laughter and excitement filled the air while we cooled off the horses and returned them to their stalls when we heard the sound of the Jetta come driving up. We all eagerly rushed to see mom, dad and Ryan. We gave hugs all around and then caring Katie piped up.

“But where is Rye Rye?”

“Well, he had to stay with the doctors and nurses because it turns out that he has RSV which is Respiratory Syncytial Virus instead of croup. It is very contagious and we can’t let any of you get it. He should be over it in a few days though.” replied dad.

Looking into RSV I found that it is passed though the breathing in and touching germs after some one has coughed or sneezed. Wondering how he could have gotten his I traced back every thing I can remember him doing. I instantly remembered on Tuesday when we had gone ice-skating with my friend Taylor and her family. Her little sister Sarah had been coughing a lot and Ryan had been playing with her because they were too young to skate. I then related my finds to my mother.

“Ah, good job. I think your right about Taylor’s sister. Maybe I should call Mrs. Clark and see if Sarah has come down with any thing.”

Dialing the Clark’s number mom had a bright idea, which she kept to herself.

“Hi, Taylor this is Mrs. Moore. Is your mother available? Thank you.”

“Hi Christine, Ryan came down with RSV last night and we figured that he may have gotten it from being around Sarah last she ok or did she get sick too?......... Oh really? That’s not good.......... So is Ryan.............Do you think that your (she was just getting to a good part when she walked out of the room).............Yes we are going to the hospital to see him......... that would be great. Ok, thank you bye.”

“Alright everyone, sit down and I’ll tell you.” mom said in reply to the ten inquisitive onlookers. “Mrs. Clark said that Sarah does have RSV as well and is in the respiratory care center. Scott, Taylor, Kelsey Zach, Courtney, Daniela, and Brandon are going to come over to spend the day with you all at about 10:30am so you all have to have the house cleaned by then. Do you think you can do that?” mom questioned.

“Yeah, sure we can mom. That will be so much fun. Thank you!” chimed in several voices.

“Alright I had better get going on some pizza. Girls do you want to help?” she asked in a rhetorical question.

After filling up on pizza we all wrapped up and went our to do the evening chores as quickly as possible and then dashed inside to sit by the blazing fire and play games together. When 7:30 rolled around I took Katelynn and the younger twins to bed as I always do. After getting their pjs on and brushing their teeth I tucked them in bed and prayed with them. Dancing downstairs I rejoined my family for a single round of Yahtzee, Apples to Apples, Monopoly and, a game of Master Mind with Justin.

“Alrighty what do ya’ll think of heading to bed since you guys have company tomorrow?” inquired dad around 11:15.

We all agreed and promptly headed off to catch some restful sleep.

Waking up to the smell of coffee and bacon I leapt out of bed, changed and dashed to the kitchen just in time to finish mom with the last minute preparations for a delicious breakfast. As the rest of the family cam streaming down the steps one after another I busily set the table. We sat down, prayed, and took the time to enjoy the food as well as one another.

“Well, we will be heading off to town this afternoon and then we will have lunch with the Clarks. We should be home around four and the Clarks are coming over for dinner as well.” dad concluded. There was rapturous cry from the crowd.

Dad and the twins set about the chores out side as the girls washed the dishes and cleaned the kitchen.

Mom and dad eager to see Ryan and the Clarks, left shortly after breakfast. In a humorous and excited mood we started the chores with a pillow fight and then got down to real business. Justin vacuumed the first floor, Micah took the second, I dusted the first floor and Annie the second. The younger took to making their beds and picking up stray things around the house.

Whipping up all the cleaning that needed to be done we finished around 9:30 and having an hour left we went about our own tasks. Some read, some played with LEGOS, others chopped wood, and all the girls but Katelynn went to sew. Stopping when the doorbell rang everyone rushed to the door to greet our best friends.

“Hey guys, good to see you all again. We have not seen you in a while!” Justin commented as the troop stepped into the house.

“Hey Brandon, come over here and see what Jason and I built.” Joe whispered to their friend. Brandon eagerly went to see the latest ship they had made with LEGOS.

Lizzy and Katie piped up next.

“Courtney, Daniela we want to show you our new dolls we got for Christmas.”

As the four girls trotted of up stairs my big brothers, along with Scott, and Zach headed out to the barn and talk about and look at the animals. The four boys loved the horses and dogs better than any one. Once they got started they could talk for hours.

I could tell that Scott was in his element to be around two boys his age. I knew that he loved all his siblings but to be with Justin and Micah was to Scott the best. The 13-year-old Zach immensely enjoyed being around good influence, which could readily be found in my two brothers.

Seeing everyone else happily situated, the two Clark twins Taylor and Kelsey, and I went off to the living room to play Uno and other games while we talked. Our conversation consisted of a wide variety. First we talked about school.

“So how are your potters school classes going Heather?” asked Kelsey in an inquiring tone.

“Oh, they are great I am really enjoying them. My favorite one is English class with Mrs. Ives. It is the best class. She is such a great teacher. Spanish is going well but it is also kinda hard to learn all the grammar and sentence structure. How are ya’lls classes going are you liking them?”

“Yes, we love them they are so much fun I am taking science with Mr. Rosenoff. He is a great teacher too and can be really funny at times too.” replied Taylor.

Then we moved on to conversation about sewing and our little brother and their sister, summer, the up coming mission trip to Honduras with Potters School, the books we are reading,

“Have either of you read The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas?” I asked of my two friends.

“No, what is it about?” they both replied.

“It is set in Rome and has disgraced him self in front of a Rome centurion and is sent away to an island where there is just about not order and he has to command the fort there. Later he and 99 other men have to go to Jerusalem for the Passover. They are supposed to help keep order there. He ends up at the cross when Jesus is crucified. Well when the lots are cast this guy ends up getting Christ’s robe and the rest of the story, which I have not finished is about the effect the robe has on his life.”

“How do you know how the rest of the story goes it you have not read it?” asked Taylor commented laughing.

“Because I read it a long time ago and I remember the gist of it but not all of it so I am reading it again.”

and what we should have for lunch.

“I’m getting hungry what shall we fix?” asked Kelsey changing the subject.

“We have stuff to make tacos if that sounds good or we have.......

But the tree little boys that came prancing in at that moment did not let me finish.

“Yeah, tacos that sound so good Heather.” they all shouted at once.

“That sounds good to me too.” announced Justin.

“Well then sound like tacos it is.”

Around noon we headed toward the kitchen and prepared the tacos for the crew. The three girls each went to find a different group of siblings and call them in for lunch. Together we all sat down and this time Scott prayed over the meal. We got another phone call over lunch today and picking it up I talked to dad and then relayed the message to every one.

“Dad said that they were at Joe’s pizzeria for lunch. They are then going back to the hospital to pick up the little ones and then will come here for the rest of the day. So just a few more hours.” I said relating every thing dad had said.

“Great I can’t wait to see Ryan and Sarah again” cried Katelynn.

The rest of the meal was eaten in little silence as every one chattered to their neighbor in excited tones of glee. Clearing the table and putting up the left over food we all went out to the barn as my family had done the day before. But none of us were in the least reluctant to do it over again. We started to play games and then really ended up talking instead while the younger kids rode the horses. We were just heading in side when Mr. and Mrs. Clark drove up and we rushed over to greet them.

“Hi kids, how’s it going?” asked Mr. Clark

“Great” we all chimed in exactly in unison, which sent everyone laughing.

Our parents arrived a little while later and everyone embraced them and then poured over the two little invalids that had just come home. While the parents chatted Justin, Micah, Scott, Taylor, Kelsey, and I all entertained the other children.

Later we all enjoyed steak, potatoes, and salad. As our parents talked again after dinner we popped some popcorn and had a tremendous time throwing it in the air and trying to catch the kernels in our mouths. As the evening came to a close we said our good-byes and then headed off to our own beds so as to be ready for church the next morning. As I watched Ryan drifting off to sleep I thought over the past two days and all that the little boy had had to go through and I was glad it was over at last.

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