Dear Sick Owen (Day 1),
You are the sweetest. I know, as a parent, I should never wish that my child felt sick. But last week, wrapped up in my quilt laying on the couch, you were the quietest, most polite, most gentle little version of yourself that I have ever seen. You felt vulnerable and breakable and sad. You held my hand and said “please” and “thank you” and “excuse me” so softly and preciously I thought my heart might burst. You let me pat your hair and look into your sick, watery eyes.
It was one of those days when I realize that underneath the crazy drama of being three years old, you are truly a sweet, kind, gentle soul. A caring, empathetic, emotional little boy. A little dear.
You asked “Please Mommy, can I have some more water? Thank you” and said, “No thank you, Mommy” when I asked if you were ready to eat anything yet. You were quiet. And still. Quite unlike the you we see every other day.
I don’t know if it was all just an elaborate, sneaky plan to make me give you unlimited tv time and popsicles, but for the first time in your life, that’s what you got. I secretly loved waiting on you and clicking away on my laptop while you rested your feet in my lap and watched “Frozen” (your 2nd movie ever). I could have done without the puking, but, you know, we’ll forgive that little episode (that I had to clean up, single-handedly, with a pack of frozen baby wipes, minutes before our doctor’s appointment).
Although of course I am glad you are feeling better now, I kind of loved the way you needed me so much. I’m so glad I have the flexibility to be by your side on days like today.
Your Forever Nurse
Dear Sick Owen (Day 2),
You are feeling so much better today. Your energy is back along with your appetite, but you still can’t go to school thanks to a contagious rash. While yesterday you laid quiet and still on the couch while I worked, today you are impatient. Whiny. Angry that I can’t drop everything (ahem, my work) to be your playmate all day.
“Who can play with me?” you whine incessantly, while I try to explain that as much as I love you, I have other things to do (ahem, like work) and you will need to practice playing by yourself for a while. I regret not calling around frantically for a babysitter for you yesterday when I realized you would also be out of school today, assuming that you would be as easy and complacent as you were yesterday.
You cannot understand why I don’t want you to watch tv all day today, like you did yesterday. You refuse to eat anything and demand only popsicles, like you had yesterday. You whine that your tummy hurts, your head hurts, your hip hurts (?). When you said it yesterday it was received with empathetic nodding and gentle hugs. Today I know it is not the case, and I am irritated and tell you that you shouldn’t lie about those things to get what you want.
I get that it’s confusing. Because yesterday we shared a lot of sweet moments and you’re probably unsure of why things are different today. But they are. You’re not sick. And your whining about all of the “rules” I broke yesterday is making me never want to break them again. Why can’t you just be happy with the exceptions and enjoy them, rather than ruining them by expecting them to be the new routine? Exceptions are just that. Exceptions.
Now it is finally evening. After spending the day watching tv and playing quiet games so that I could get some work done, and amped up on a popsicle that I gave in and gave you (because it’s probably true that your throat still hurts a little), you are wild. WILD. Out of control. Bouncing off the walls. Now I remember why I always always always try to get you outside at least once a day to burn off some energy. You are running around the kitchen like a hurricane. I’m going to lose my mind.
The sweetness of yesterday’s real sick day has been almost completely overshadowed by today’s not-really-real sick day.
Thank goodness you can go to school tomorrow. I know I’m not supposed to feel that way, but sometimes, it’s true.
Your Tired Mama Who Has Spent Almost Her Entire Work Week Being a Nurse (And Still Has Work To Do)