Monday, June 9, 2008

The Good, The Bad and the Germy

You've gotta love sick kids. Not because they wake you up in the middle of a summer night hot and feverish, wanting to sleep in your bed. Not because they are whiny and clingy all day long. Not because they vomit only during the hours of 2 and 5am and create more laundry by morning that you can create in a week on your own. While all these things are true, they are hardly lovable. They are also why you don't see classified ads posted by women wanting to fill the job of "mom" on bulletin boards at the supermarket or in the newspapers.

No, the thing about sick kids is that they require you to drop everything. I used to believe that was awful when I had deadlines, errands and a seemingly insurmountable to-do list, and I needed every available second to complete them while the children were in school. I used to get upset, frustrated and thrown when one of my kids woke up sick in the morning. I'd let it ruin my whole day. But something's changed.

Maybe it's me who's changed. Maybe it's because my schedule (other than caring for the kids) is no longer as pressing. Maybe it's having the same kid get sick three times in six weeks. Maybe it's hearing Ben, the kid who'll try any and every kind of food and is always ready to eat, tell me he's not hungry. Maybe it's watching him lay flushed and listless on the couch, no energy or interest in anything, and not hearing him say, "Mom, I have a question..." every 90 seconds. Or maybe it's some combination of those things that made me go "whoa. Time to slow down."

Whatever caused it, here I am, the stink of my screeching tires making me heady and filling me with worrisome thoughts about why Ben has been sick so often. The boy has a stronger constitution than his brother and me put together. Before this spring, I could count on one hand the number of times he'd been sick in his life. So what's going on?

I am a worrier by nature, a true "what if?" kind of person, but I'm doing my best to believe this is not something bigger than what it appears to be. Maybe it's because I'm spending so much time with him, in the moment and by his side, that I'm comforted in that idea. Or maybe I'm in denial and know I'll function better dealing with the here and now instead of the possible-down-the-road. Whatever it is, I've pushed negative thoughts to the background, at least for today.

What I *do* know is that building racetracks, playing cards, eating soup and watching cartoons with Ben while he's home sick is the most fun I've had in a while. His fever takes his 'edge' off, and rather than bouncing off the furniture, he's curled by my side. Having him slow down has helped me to do the same, and enjoy every breath with him. What's not to love about that?

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