"Mommy, I want to go sledging," Madelaine says.
I study her carefully. She's still in her pajamas, bangs pasted to her forehead, but her eyes have lost their feverish glaze. I kiss the top of her head. It's cool. "Alright," I say, "Let's go."
An hour later we are a short drive outside of St. Cergues. We've ridden our red saucer five times down a snowy knoll when that sickly look in her eye returns.
"Mommy, I'm cold."
We head back to the van.
"I want Pink Bear," she says, laying back in her seat. Pink Bear is back in Geneva.
I pull out the travel-size Doodle we keep in the car and draw a picture of her precious toy. Tears spill on to her cheeks as her finger traces it's back. Her favourite thumb finds its way to her mouth.
I erase the bear then draw a dog, a Christmas tree, a snowman, and a chalet, each in rapid succession. Finally, I draw a cat. (I'm a dog person, so this last one takes a while.) I look up. She's asleep. We've been in the mountains all of twenty minutes.
A half hour later her sister, daddy, and dog reemerge from the woods, flushed from the cold and exertion. As they tumble back into the van, Madelaine's eyes flutter open.
"Mommy, I'm so glad we went sledging," she says.
"Me, too, Sweetie."