Yesterday on the way to lacrosse practice my 13yo son G- ran out of steam. We were driving towards the practice field and I could just see him collapse, and when he tilted the car seat back and put his arm across his eyes and complained about fuzzy vision, I called it and turned around. Heading home, I texted my older girl (16) that we’d changed plans and were en route back, to which she responded “uh oh, I’m feeling mediocre and K- is looking pretty pale too.”
Arriving home I didn’t find either girl in a particularly bad state but my boy? It was like he’d hit a brick wall without an airbag. He was completely wiped out and promptly went upstairs and collapsed in a dark room, only to resurface for about 30min the entire night. This morning, after 12hrs of him sleeping almost the entire time, he’s still looking pretty wan, though at least he’s moving around and not crying about his stomach and headache.
To add to the fun, however, A-, my 16yo, has gotten the same bug and is also home from school this morning — and just a few days left before summer break! — complaining about her stomach and general lethargy. Fortunately, the little one woke up peppy and ready for school, and she, at least, is enjoying one of her very last days of third grade. Yup, they’re all poised to bump up a level in school, and this autumn I’ll have an 11th grader, an 8th grader and a 4th grader. Yegads.
It’s crazy hard to have sick children when they’re too young to manage their own ailment and I have vivid memories of caring for babies and toddlers with various ailments, memories strong enough to make me exhausted just thinking about them. But we’re parents, we persevere and hope that tomorrow will be easier and more restful than today, right?
At these ages, however, the good news is that they can manage the yechy stuff and it’s been a really long time since I’ve had to deal with any gross cleanups that parents don’t tell other adults about lest the human race come to an abrupt, screeching halt. Indeed, we have a secret phrase now “can someone get the bowl for me, please?”
Yeah, that’s how parenting works. ‘nuf said on that topic.
What’s really changed is that as they’ve gotten older, the experience of nursing them has changed from a sort of high-intensity energy black hole to something far more manageable. As a 2yo, I’d have had to hold and cuddle them non-stop. No break, not even when they were dozing. Now, however, they’re more self-contained, more able to come up with things to break the boredom. Much nicer. Now it’s “here’s a new book and some soup, sorry you’re feeling poorly.”
Every time any of my children are sick I am also reminded how blessed we are with generally good health and I am grateful that 90% of the time — or more — the worst we deal with is an evening that’s a bit short on sleep or someone who forgot to eat lunch and is a bit grumpy.
Now if they can all just get better, we’ve got a big weekend planned…
When my wife is sick these days, not garden variety sick but really feeling lousy, she pines for her Mom to take care of her. As awful as it is to care for sick kids of any age, parents are making indelible, positive memories along the way.