I don’t know what’s worse. Using my legs and arms to pin Owen against myself, a nebulizer mask over his mouth and nose while he thrashes and screams, feeling him soften every few moments only to say, muffled and between sobs, “all done, Mommy, all done.”

Or looking at the look James gives me at the doctor’s office while I’m doing this to Owen—watching James cry and scream from across the room, not understanding that what I’m doing to Owen doesn’t hurt and is, in the long run, going to make him feel much, much better.

Our entire family got hit with a cold this past weekend. Colds always land in James’s chest and he had already done the doctor’s visit with the nebulizer treatment and the every-four-hours at-home albuterol treatment. He’s on day three of steroids. This has become the norm for James. He’s calm with masks over his face now. He inhales the medicine, knowing it’s helping him breathe, feel better.

But Owen. This is all new to Owen. Andy and I averaged about two hours of sleep each last night, staying up with him, watching the retraction in his chest, listening to the wheezing, calling the doctor on call, sharing James’s albuterol with him, debating the ER.

So tired. Everyone is so tired.

Owen had to have two 10-minute nebulizer treatments at the pediatrician’s office today. Ten minutes is a long time when you’re pinning a 2-year-old down and when the 2-year-old’s brother, full of steroids and lacking sleep, is beside himself with worry for his twin brother.

When it was all over, I asked James if he wanted to hug Owen. James said, between tears, “yes.”

Oh my heart.

Of course Owen, furious at the world, refused to accept James’s hug and pushed him away.


Even on the bad days, the really bad days, there are moments—these small and beautiful moments.

Slow inhale.

Slow exhale.


We’re all breathing.

“There’s no other love like the love for a brother. There’s no other love like the love from a brother.” —Terri Guillemets