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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sick and Tired? Or Tired and Sick?

How do #sick kids cope with mothers?

The flu and cold season has spread through the region/nation, leaving behind tragedies, stress, and exhaustion. Illness, the topic, does tend to consume–especially in a world which does not have time for it. Preventative measures dominates office chatter. Home remedies. Dropping hydrogen peroxide in the ears, apparently where most germs infiltrate. Setting a sliced onion on your counter top to soak up the germs that permeate your house, if you can tolerate the odor.

My daughter was sick this weekend. And once again, the fabric of my maternal-being was tested. Methinks I teeter on failing in this aspect of momhood. Rather than fall into the role of compassionate nurturer, I feel myself become...what's the word? Impatient. Let me back up a few years to give you a hint of my predisposition toward this issue of sick kids.

Shortly after Alex had started the third grade, she began to complain of a stomach ache. She acted kind of whiny, tired–like she didn't want to go to school. I kept asking her what was bothering her. Was somebody being mean? No. Did she like her teacher? Yes! Was a subject too hard? No. Well, then she needed to tough it out. After several complaints, I finally threatened her. "Ok. I'm taking you to the doctor." She was horrified. She asked the question I knew she would. "Will I have to get a shot?" I responded in my none-too-comforting tone, "Maybe." I distinctly remember being just a bit irritated by the whole ordeal. Until...

The test results came back. Strep and mono. Yes, my daughter was sick. Really sick. And I had just brushed her aside for three weeks, telling her to toughen up. Needless to say, I was quite disgusted with myself. And you'da thought I would've learned my lesson.

When my 17-year old woke up Sunday morning, not feeling well and not wanting to attend church, I just didn't buy it. I told her to get ready.

Then I listened to her cough all day. And complain about her chest pain. Then prove her fever with a thermometer reading.

Poor kid. The thing is, Alex isn't one to fake it. She'll push herself when she shouldn't. So, why do I continue to be the horrible parent, almost refusing to believe she's sick?

I DON'T KNOW. Maybe I'm not willing to accept the facts when one of my kids comes down with something. Perhaps because I should've done something to prevent it. Yes, ridiculous. But much about motherhood is ridiculous. Like how hard it is. And hard it is to know what to do at times.

Last night she asked me if she should go to the doctor because she's still coughing. I immediately said I didn't think so. Then I stopped myself! What was I saying? So, I asked her if  she was running a temperature. She said no, but the cough was persisting. I said she's probably fine. 

Probably! Probably?

When I heard her hacking away after we had gone to bed, I was overcome with worry and guilt. I went downstairs with a glass of water and cough medicine. She seemed a bit surprised by the gesture, but appreciative. And I felt like I was finally taking care of her, just the way a mother should when their kids are under the weather.

She feels better today.

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