Death Cheerios: getting the flu and being family

Thursday morning I woke up before the sun fairly certain I was dying.  Okay, not really. I had the stomach flu, but I tend to get a little dramatic when I’m sick.

Friday morning I got a text from the BFF that she and her hubby were suffering as well.  After a couple more messages back and forth, we concluded that the Great Infector was their one year old.  They live with him, so of course they caught it.  And earlier in the week I had sat in their kitchen with Noah while Jesse made dinner, and with her permission, eating Cheerios from the floor that had (probably purposefully) been dumped from his snack cup.

'Eli and Cheerios..' photo (c) 2008, Gramody - license:

Yes, I am that person who eats Cheerios from the floor.  But, when Noah’s chubby little fingers come at my face while his face is thrown back in laughter, I can’t say no.  It’s was after all just a couple of Cheerios, right?

Wrong! They were Cheerios of Death.  (And by “death,” I mean the stomach flu that passed in 24 hours.)

My parents and I were supposed to be in Ohio this weekend, visiting family whom we haven’t seen since my grandfather’s passing last month.  My parents left Thursday morning and I stayed home, fairly certain they would return from their weekend to find me writhing and dying in the same spot they left me.

By Friday morning, I was of course feeling much better and was happy to humor texts from my dad about how I was doing and offering full reports on who was being taken down by Noah and his Death Cheerios — his parents, his aunt and uncle, his Mimi, his Aunt Beth.

To which my dad, a man a few words, replied back, “That kid’s got talent.”


My dad made another crack about the whole family being taken out by the “noahvirus,” and I laughed. My dad’s a funny guy, but he’s not that funny.  I laughed because good ol’ Noah took down his Aunt Amber because she was dumb enough to eat Floor Cheerios, and I laughed because it still makes me happy, after so many years, to be counted as family to these people.

Because this messy, flu-ridden, on-the-floor life is what family is all about.

It’s about people who show up for you with Gatorade and saltine crackers, who clean your house when you can’t pull yourself out of bed, who send text messages to make you laugh and prayers to aid your healing.  It’s about the people who hug you when you lose a loved one, and who cry with you as you process the loss. It’s about the people who’ll get on the floor and play with your kids, putting their life on the line for a couple of Death Cheerios.  (Alright, I may be a bit biased with that last one.)

And these people, Noah and the ones he took down with his noahvirus, and the people I couldn’t be with in Ohio because I had the flu – they’re my people.  They’re my family.

All of them.

So, what about you? Who are your people?  And in what on-the-floor ways are they showing up for you?

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