Do you remember when your mom used to bring you gingerale and crackers when you had an upset stomache? Or when she used to appear at your door, magically, with cough syrup in hand in the middle of your 2am coughing fit? Or when she’d get you cozy on the couch with a box of Kleenex, cherry Halls, a warm blanket and the remote? My mom was good at pampering me when I was sick. I NEVER had to fend for myself. Thanks Mum.
But what about now? With two rambunctious germ-spreaders in the house and my husband and I taking shifts at being sick, who is supposed to take care of who? Usually I get sick first, and try my best to care for our preschooler in between dozing on the couch, reading Thomas the Tank Engine books, coughing fits, watching Elijah’s favourite video, and finding the Advil. Then just as I’m feeling better, my husband takes his turn at being sick, stays in bed most of the day, has long, hot showers and tries not to ask for much. Yes, there’s a little double-standard there – I’m still “working” when I’m sick, and my husband isn’t – but some days I get to take a nap at “work” or go out for ice cream just because, and he doesn’t – it all balances out in the end.
So my most recent bout of sickness came the past couple of days, and I noticed a real difference this time… I DIDN’T try to keep up with our social schedule and just chilled by myself at home instead. I DIDN’T try to keep up with our household schedule and just tidied what was driving me nuts instead. And I DIDN’T make excuses or promises to my sons today as I cared for them both and my husband went off to work. I simply told them “Mommy is NOT feeling well, so please try your best to get along today.” And that was that. They let me go back to bed for an hour while they watched Treehouse. They didn’t complain about what I made for lunch. They had a bath, got dressed and brushed their teeth and hair when I asked them to. They did a great job of not fighting. They snuggled in bed with me and read I Spy books… it was just about as close as we can get to perfect. Thank You God.
Maybe part of it was their dad pulling them aside to ask them not to fight before he left this morning. Maybe part of it is that they’re getting older and things might just be easier for a bit before adolescence strikes. Maybe part of it is that God heard the prayers they offered on my account this morning. Maybe part of it is that for the first time I refused to feel guilty about being sick, and just relaxed and tried to get better. Maybe it’s all those things.
On the sick days I still miss my mum, but my guys are doing a pretty good job at caring for me. I’m also getting better at “sucking it up”. And I wouldn’t trade anything for being the one who cares for my husband and boys when they are sick. Now I get to be the mommy. That’s worth a few “working sick days”, isn’t it?