The Alpine Lake Infirmary

Do you have kids? If so, you’re well aware that they’re walking petri dishes of infectious illness. If there’s a strain of something particularly disgusting going around, you can bet my kids will be bringing it home to share with one another and often times, Arthur and me as well.

This week has been no different. After an absolutely AMAZING weekend full of sunshine and fun, I noticed on Sunday evening that Atticus’ left eye, which had been a tad gooey earlier in the day, was becoming puffy and pink. The dreaded scourge of pink-eye was preparing to storm our proverbial gates. I went to bed with plans of taking him to the doctor for a diagnosis and medication the following day. But Monday had far more sinister plans. Our oldest woke in the middle of the night to inform us that he was vomiting. We spent the night calming Atticus’ cries over his sore eye, Alastair’s frequent trips to the bathroom, and trying get a little sleep while both kids set up camp in our bed.

At one time, having sick children home from school was my worst nightmare. You see, when my children are ill, they normally aren’t content to lounge on the sofa and watch cartoons. They got that honest. Alastair and Atticus have as much energy as usual; They’re just carrying a communicable illness so they can’t go out in public and play with other kids. Keeping them home and entertained is a nightmare, or rather, was a nightmare. It wasn’t long after buying our vacation home at Alpine Lake that I realized how invaluable an “infirmary” can be for sick children.

On Monday, after returning from the doctor, we built play forts in the woods behind our home and hiked Castle Rock Trail. A “bear hunt” ensued, though we only found a deer in the mouth of a cave. After lunch, I put them both in the stroller and walked for nearly two hours on the tree-covered, shaded streets of the east side of the lake while they napped. Once rested, these boys were ready to rock again so we got out their bikes and I had a blast keeping up with them while they honed their skills.

Despite being sick, they had a fantastic day and plenty of play. The carnage of stomach-related illness inside the house was mitigated, and I really enjoyed my day off with them in ways that just wouldn’t have been possible in Morgantown while they begged for play dates with friends and trips to Target. At Alpine, we can get outside and avoid people simultaneously. RSV, Pneumonia, Flu, Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, Pink-eye, and all the rest of it just don’t scare me the way they once did. As my friend Alex said today, “By next Monday they will have switched and Atticus will be vomiting while Alastair has pink-eye,” and I have to tell you, another Monday in the woods with these two Wild Things doesn’t sound half-bad.

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