03/19/2014 05:46 pm ET Updated May 19, 2014

When Caring for a Sick Child Is a Privilege

Sarah Sweatt Orsborn

It's the second time she's woken up in the night. Just 30 minutes ago, I was dosing her with ibuprofen and brushing her sweaty hair from her fevered brow, praying she'd go back soundly to sleep and wake up feeling better. But she's up again, shivering and sweating, sobbing and shaking, and I scoop her up and bring her into my bed, nestling this hot little human against my chest, holding her tight as she sighs deeply, kissing the top of her sweet little head. These nights are long, but oh, what a privilege. Oh, what an honor to be what she needs and wants when she's feeling so awful. What a blessing to be the arms that hold her and the heart that loves her and the lips that kiss her and whisper, "It's OK. Mama's here."

Later, it will be her daddy's turn. He'll hold her and rock her and bounce her as I get some sleep. He will be the arms that encircle her and the chest that she rests upon. He will be the voice singing softly. He'll be the hand brushing her hair from her cheek. Oh, what a blessing. Oh, what a privilege.

Our sweet Etta is on day three of a feverish illness, and she just wants to be held close until she wants to sleep again, and then she wants to be held, and then she wants to sleep. Last night, she told us "night night" all through dinner and was in bed by 6 p.m.. I added some extra curtains to their room to help her sleep through the bright Daylight Savings sunset in her West-facing window (thanks Pinterest, for teaching me how to do that using bungee cords). It's been a sleepy, sweaty cuddle fest around here. I mind that she's sick, but I don't mind the snuggles a bit. I will always count it my privilege to be needed.

This post first appeared on The Adventures of Ernie Bufflo.