Back in my corporate days, I used to get paid to be sick. That is, if I went to work, I got paid. But if I got sick and stayed home in bed, I still got paid. Talk about a sweet deal.
Fast forward 10 years. Mom wakes up, feels great, goes to 'work' taking care of everyone. Doesn't get paid. Next day, Mom wakes up, feels like crap. Dad gets the kids up, dressed and fed. Mom still makes lunches and snacks, figures out dinner and walks the dog after Dad goes to work and the kids go to school. Still doesn't get paid. I'm not complaining. I'm just saying.
The irony of the situation is that we all want to be indispensable in our jobs. There's a special feeling that comes with knowing no one can your job better than you can. But of course, when you're sick, you just want Mom to take care of you like she did when you were little.
This may be why my kids don't seem to understand that Mom can actually get sick. How can she? She's Mom--she can't be sick and take care of herself at the same time. One of my favorite Ben-isms was one I overheard one evening. I had served the kids dinner, and went to lie down with a headache and an upset stomach. My husband came home and asked where I was.
"Mom's lying down."
"Oh. Is she sick?"
"No, she's not sick. She just doesn't feel well."
So there you have it. There is a line, somewhere between 'not feeling well' and 'sick' that Moms just don't cross. Or perhaps the perception is that, no matter how lousy Mom feels, she just keeps on keepin' on. Things get done, people get fed, dogs get walked and stories get read. And when everything is taken care of, Mom will go take a nap, or pick up her medicine or visit the doctor, as long as she knows no one will need her in the meantime.
But I think the truth of it lies deep down inside each mother: we don't want to miss a thing. We know all too well that the years are flying, and our kids need us. So we're not going to let a couple of wimpy germs keep us from any of it. Hey, I was able to function for close to a year on almost no sleep after my youngest was born. What's a bit of congestion?
Pass the tissues and break out the homework!
Photo by ladyhawk365: http://www.flickr.com/photos/13772049@N05/