Madison caught whatever it was I had last week. She missed a bunch of school last week and unless something spectacular (from her point of view) has happened this morning, today is her first day back.
It was strange. Mad had a little cough and a slightly runny nose, but a massive fever that made her warm, yetdid not seem to affect her in any other significant way. She was a subdued version of herself and does it make me a horrible person to say out loud that I preferred the peaceful, tamped-down version of my daughter that existed in the space of her illness? It probably does, but I still miss listen-to-whatever-daddy-says Madison a little more every day.
Above all else, Mad maintained her commitment to her brother and sister throughout her illness. She caught sick as I was still coming out of mine, and for a couple of days she was the one helping Lynnette with the feedings and entertainment of the twins. “Let me know if you need help with the 9 0’clock feeding!” she would shout with glee when sent to bed at 8. Obviously, this is a trade she would make 100 times out of 100. But I don’t want to undermine her contributions. I was quarantined from the twins for the better part of a week and it was Madison who stepped up into my spot.
I think the picture above perfectly captures Madison’s willingness to help out in the names of Cole and Avery. Lynnette and I try out best to time our excursions to the 3-hour windows of the twins’ feeding times. Sometimes, they get hungry before their scheduled feeding and they let us know this by screaming at the top of their lungs in the tiny space of our car. It is at this point that the non-driving adult mixes the two bottles of formula and passes them to Madison. Madison saves her Pokemon game and shuts the DS down. Big Sister of the Year then uses both arms to feed her little brother and little sister. The crying stops. Sanity returns.
It’s kind of embarrassing to remember the cynicism with which I viewed Madison’s initial statements that she would be a very helpful big sister. After all, she knew not of what she spoke. Yet here we are, almost half a year into the lives of the twins and she’s been even better anything Lynnette or I could have imagined. As you know, I don’t believe in destiny. I don’t believe in fate. In the most extreme logical sense, it means what I’m doing is meaningless. But when I look at Madison with the twins, it does appear that she was always meant to be a big sister, that title and the responsibilities that come with it were things that she always knew she wanted and could handle, even when I was doubtful. I know that Lynnette and I could not do this whole deal so well without Madison. The former Goobi is uniquely qualified to be a big sister. I can’t explain why, really. It’s just what she is.