Viruses, prayers and road trips

Is it possible that the same virus Katie had back in February and Pete got about a week later is the same virus that had Jenny throwing up in my car more than a month later? And whether yes or no, is what Jenny had two weeks ago the same virus that had Billy throwing up in my car yesterday? I can’t believe that a virus could move so slowly, but have an equally hard time thinking that we’ve had three separate stomach viruses that have affected four different family members.

We had been on our way to get Bill from work yesterday to have a picnic dinner under the fully blooming cherry trees around the Tidal Basin in DC. This is a sight to behold and would have been our third year doing it. I can not think of a prettier thing that DC has to offer, and I love that the blooming times nicely with my birthday.

But Billy, who had a fever and didn’t want to go (I promised him a ride in the stroller and a low-key event, gave him two Advil and hoped the fever would break long enough for him to not be miserable – and for me to not be miserable…selfish, selfish, selfish), threw up just as we got to Bill’s office. End of adventure.

On the way home, I was following Bill who was following a poking driver with no taillights. He was being extra cautious, but even then was able to test his ABS when the person skittishly decided not to merge into traffic. I didn’t know the person didn’t have taillights. As we came around this looping road that merges into another, a view across the Potomac River of the DC skyline, the Jefferson Memorial, and some of the cherry trees was displayed before me. I was momentarily distracted by the loveliness and when I turned back, I was careening towards the rear of Bill’s car. My ABS employed, I pulled to the left, and I narrowly missed creating (another) rush-hour nightmare. It was several minutes before I stopped hyperventilating.

Years ago, I was involved in a rosary group that met every Thursday. This was back when Thursdays were Joyful Mysteries. We always began by stating our intentions. Nevertheless, there were several women who would remember other special intentions during the rosary and who would interject suddenly with, “Let us offer the next decade for this intention I forgot to mention at the beginning of the rosary,” or “Let us offer this next Hail Mary for this person who really needs our prayers.” I’m sure some people would find this practice to be really annoying. Admittedly, it was a bit jarring to be meditating and to have your thoughts interrupted by these requests, but these quirks only endeared these women to me the more.

Last night and the night before, in the middle of bedtime prayers, Fritz has suddenly interrupted with a special prayer request. “Mom, we need to pray for a safe trip to Florida.” “Mom, we need to thank God for keeping us from hitting Dad’s car.” I happily recognize this advance in his spiritual life from simply saying rote prayers at meals and bedtime as instructed, to an automated and learned response to certain situations (someone is sick – let us pray), and now to prayer requests separated in time from the situation warranting them. And I am amused beyond description at his interjections in the middle of bedtime prayers as I fondly think of good friends who did the same thing many years ago.

In less than 48 hours, we hit the road for Florida. My dad is joining the Church at the Easter Vigil, and my sister is being confirmed at her church’s Easter Vigil in Alabama. I’ll be with my sister in spirit only, but I’ll be there the following weekend when her daughter makes her First Holy Communion. What a trip. But I pray that Billy’s virus is the same one that my three other kids have gotten, and I pray that Fritz, Bill and I avoid it. The car has seen enough vomit.

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