As I laid in bed last night, my head on the pillow and my body curled on it's side, I couldn't stop coughing. All I wanted was to sleep and allow the rest to heal my throat but the sinus drainage just would not ease up.
As I laid there, I tried to figure out a way to get the coughing to stop so that I could fall asleep. And as I laid there thinking, my mind was transported to many years ago.
In my mind's eye, I saw a nine-year-old strawberry blond girl, lying on her Ikea bunk-bed with the built-in desk underneath. I saw a six-year-old girl surrounded by stuffed animals and clasping a floppy golden dog and a stiff blue bear and lying on an identical Ikea desk/bunk bed. The whole top perimeter of the room was bordered with kitty ballerinas in shades of pink and grey. The room was lit up by the glow of a fishtank and the only sound to be heard was the rhythmic breathing of the six-year-old and the incessant coughing of the nine-year-old: me.
I'm sure there were many nights growing up when I couldn't stop coughing. But I specifically remember this one. I remember my dad coming in (he always took the late night shifts when we needed something as kids) and propping me up with a bunch of pillows. He said that I would sleep better propped up because it would help my sinuses drain and help me not to cough.
Then he gave me Saltine crackers. I don't remember the exact wording of the reason he gave as to why Saltines work but I remember it being something like, "the crackers soak up the phlegm." He stayed with me while I ate a few and the coughing subsided. After I was settled, he left me with a half-full bag of saltines, "in case you start coughing in the middle of the night."
Then he left me with another goodnight prayer and kiss on top of my head.
So last night, after remembing that night from many years ago, I rolled out of bed. I went to my kitchen and grabbed the box of whole wheat crackers - the closest thing I had that resembled Saltines. Then I grabbed a cushion off the back of my couch and headed back to bed. I propped myself up the way my dad did and I munched a few of the crackers to stop the coughing - and then I munched a couple more because they tasted good.
Within five minutes, I was asleep.
I want to say thank you.
Thank you, Dad.
Thank you, Dad, for being such a loving, hands-on dad. Thank you for your gentle touch with all your daughters and for being so understanding when we were sick. Thank you for still being that way now. Thank you for your example; it has taught me a lot - especially when it comes to falling asleep with a sinus cough! ;-) Plus so much more.
I love you.