Sick Days

If you are self-employed and/or a stay-at-home parent, you know that sick days are a myth. First as a video editor and then as a writer, I have worked through fever, colds, and stomach bugs. After all, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. It’s that simple.

Any stay-at-home parent knows that you don’t get the day off unless you are at death’s door. Your kid needs what she needs when she needs it. I know I am always reluctant to ask my spouse to take off from work when I’m sick. After all, the parent job is much more important than the writing, and I do that even when sick. Besides, he has his job and I have mine, so I soldier on whenever possible. I even avoid taking my temperature when I think I have a fever, because I subscribe to the Schrödinger’s cat theory of illness: If I don’t measure the fever, I don’t really have one.

But it’s all different when it’s your kid that’s sick.

I can’t tell my 3-year-old to soldier on when she’s getting sick at 5 AM. I can’t tell her Mommy’s busy when all my feverish girl wants is to be held. A normally productive day grinds to a halt when she falls asleep in my arms for hours, or when her fever is so high she cries while I hug her and we wait for the medication to work. My daughter needs me, and the rest of the world—including this blog—has to wait.

And that is how it should be.

Cuddling my little girl, feeling her radiating heat, reminds me what’s really important in life. Comforting my sobbing child is a calling more urgent by far than any blog post or writing assignment. I know that it will not be long before a simple hug won’t stop her pain, and there will come a time when I will not be there to hug her. So I cherish these moments when I have this magic power to protect her, to make her feel better, to heal her with nothing more than a hug, a kiss, and my love. Because that time passes far too soon.

So that is why I have no urbanely witty and deeply philosophical writing-related blog post today. And I’m sure it won’t be the last time life gets in the way of a post. But without life, we wouldn’t have anything to write about, so it’s all good.

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