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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Merritt Matters

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. We are in Colorado for the festivities, although it has felt festive only at times. We had planned this trip for some time, and we spent Thursday and Friday packing. However, the packing was an extra nightmare because Merritt had been ill since Wednesday. He had a bit of a rough night, and then we discovered he was feverish around 5 that morning. With our trip in mind, we took him to the doctor that day, but she did not think much of his symptoms and felt that it was probably too early to tell. We brought him home, and kept an eye on him while he stayed ill and lost his appetite. After another difficult night, we found that Hakan was feverish in the night, so we took them both in to the doctor on Friday. The doctor ran a test on him and found the flu, so started him on some medicine that supposedly shortens the duration and severity. We put Hakan on it, too, figuring that he was just a day behind Merritt.

Then, we were simultaneously dealing with several issues. We were concerned about traveling with the sick kids, but we had already done most of the packing, paid for a hotel, and gotten our hopes up nice and high that we would be leaving Friday. On top of that, we had many family members with some stake in our presence given our various viral ailments. Some of said family members have compromised immune systems, and so were hesitant to share close personal space with us. We were stuck deciding between bagging the whole trip and trying to adjust arrangements enough to make it work. We finally got it settled and got in the car as scheduled.

We made it to our hotel later than expected because of some issues related to the illnesses, but Hakan was doing much better than earlier, seeming almost himself. The night was alright, but we simply did not get enough sleep.

We tried breakfast in the morning, but Merritt’s and Hakan’s appetites have been meager at best since their sicknesses. The meal was a struggle, so we got back on the road tired and behind schedule.

We made good time, but Kira had awakened with more severe symptoms of the flu. She was smart to get right on medicine the night before, when she first felt them, but the stress of traveling and sleep trouble took a toll. I was tired, but had my flu shot, which may have spared me the symptoms.

To make a long story shorter, we finally made it, and are so glad we did. The older kids are having a lot of fun with their aunt and uncles for an audience, and the new stomping grounds are fun to explore.

The enormous exception to our joy is the little gentleman we call “Merritt.” Perhaps it is a combination of the illness and a separation anxiety that accompanies his age, but he will not leave me alone. He refuses to be held by anyone else, and screams and cries if I set him down for even a second. I wonder if he worries that we are going to leave him in Colorado. It may have been endearing for a few minutes, but after 2 days, it has been just nightmarish. He won’t let me eat, change clothes, etc., unless he’s in my arms. The one way around it that I’ve figured out is that he can be distracted with videos of himself or music videos he has come to enjoy. At least his appetite is improving, otherwise I would consider just taking off for home by myself.

We are excited for Christmas morning tomorrow, and looking forward to a fun day for the kids (with a chance of naps for the adults). Wish us luck with the drive home.


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