In Sickness & In Health

sketch by maria
Sketch of Pettigrew by  Maria.

Are you an indoor or an outdoor person?

When I was a toddler, my parents enrolled me in Outdoor Nursery School. I don’t know if this is what sparked my love for the outdoors or if they chose the school because they knew I wanted to be outside. As I’ve gotten older, nothing’s changed.

My first job post-college was with an environmental consulting firm. Our offices had been carved from the underground garage. Battleship gray cinder block walls. No windows. The perfume of exhaust seeped through the thin barrier every day at 5pm as the garage emptied. My walks at lunch were the only way I made it through that year.

Brilliantly, when I got married, one of my good friends organized my bridal shower–a hike. She knew me well.

Less than 24 hours after giving birth to our first son, I frightened the nurse on duty by appearing outside my room with my coat on, our infant in my arms, ready for a stroll. My doctor husband used his considerable persuasion skills to convince the nurses to let me go.

But the past two weeks have been a test. Flattened by the flu. No energy. Achy. Sneezing and coughing, going outside was not high on my list. However, Pettigrew saw no need to change our routine.

We went slowly. We took breaks. He’d rest on his haunches as I sat on the curb scratching his back and marshaling my energy.

But under the bright sun and with a cold breeze nipping my nose I felt better. I was less a germ bomb and became human again. I saw people besides my family. My sniffles didn’t seem so threatening or contagious. No one had to touch anything I touched.

Pettigrew’s insistence that we walk brought me fresh air, socialization, and probably preserved my sanity too.

4 thoughts on “In Sickness & In Health

  1. He really does take incredibly good care of you! But I’m sorry you have been so sick! Good question about how you ended up at Outdoor Nursery School, especially since i didn’t go there. And it really doesn’t seem like something Mom and Dad would have been particularly passionate about.


      1. Thanks so much for sharing that you enjoyed it! Feeling better, but not 100% yet. I look forward to having my energy back again. Pettigrew really did know what I needed. Hope you have all escaped this flu!


  2. I know, it’s not like we were an especially outdoorsy family…except for those walks in thunderstorms that you took me on. So maybe we were more outdoorsy than I remember?!


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