A New Chapter

So last week was a lost and confusing week because my daughter was home sick for much of it. This week is shaping up to be a lost week because I am sick!

Yes, my generous daughter shared her cold with me. I am not as sick as she was, but still not up to par. A bit fuzzy-headed, and just tired. Drained.

I’ve been sleeping a lot, trying to knock this cold out quicker. Of all the medicines I have tried in my life, nothing works as well for me as simply sleeping. So I’ve been catching naps while my daughter is at school.

A major reason I want to get over this cold quickly is because I have a weekend long training for my Board of Education position starting on Friday. Not only do I want to be alert for the very intense schedule, but I don’t want to be that annoying person hacking their way through the workshops. My plan is to sit near a door and bring a pocket full of cough drops.

I look forward to this new chapter continuing to unfold. Even if this bit of it smells like menthol.

Sick Days February 2020

It’s funny how much we rely on routines to define time. Here it is Wednesday, and I feel like it’s the weekend. Why? Because my daughter is home sick from school for the third day in a row. She’s home, so my brain tells me it is still the weekend.

It’s hard to get work done when she’s home. Not so much because I am nursing her a lot—she’s old enough that she can take pretty good care of herself. But she needs little things, like water and food and sometimes just a cuddle because she feels awful. Things that individually do not take a long time, but add up. And the constant interruptions splinter the work flow and make it harder to complete a task efficiently.

I did still get some things done this week. This blog post, for one. And the weekly one I do over on The Author Chronicles. I also finished my last go-through of my YA sci-fi manuscript Veritas and sent it over to my editor. I went to a cyber-bullying presentation one evening at the school. I went food shopping. And I somehow managed to clean out the hall closet.

Still, it was hard with my daughter laying on the couch—especially when she was napping. I don’t know what it is, but when someone else is sleeping, I want to conk out. Maybe it’s a throwback to the old advice, “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” She’s not a baby anymore, but she still exhausts me.

Of course, I am tired, too. She had rough nights the past two nights, which means so did I. Helping her get changed 3 times in one night because she fever was breaking and she would wake up drenched in sweat. Cuddling with her at 4:30 in the morning because she was too congested to sleep. She is sleeping as I write this, and I hope she sleeps all night.

I hope I do, too—so I am heading up to try.

How about you? Do you get completely lost when your routines are messed up?

Sick Days: A Removal from Reality

When I was a kid, one of the things I liked about snow days was how they felt removed from everyday life. As an adult, they do not have quite the same appeal, LOL. However, sick days with my child have that same time-stopping, reality-removing quality.

My daughter stayed home from school Monday and Tuesday, recovering from strep throat, which flared up on Sunday. Needless to say, I completely lost track of what day of the week it was. When you are caring for a sick child, it really doesn’t matter what day of the week it is—you measure your time in her improvement or lack thereof. The onset of illness is nightfall, and the return to health is the dawn. Night can last hours or days.

Sunday night was rough—she woke me up at 3:30 AM and we were up ever since. So Monday morning slipped in slowly, and I totally forgot to call her out of school until almost 9:30 AM.

We whiled away the sick days completely detached from the clock. We ate when hungry, we played some games, I read her some books, and she got more TV and video time than normal. The days had the same cocooned feeling of a snow day, with the outside world held at bay.

When your child is sick, the minutes seem to elongate into hours in the dark as you hold your child. She whimpers, cries. Whispers, “Help me.” But you can’t because have given her all the medicines there are and now it’s up to her body. Even though she is infecting you with her illness you cuddle her close, because she just wants her mommy.

You want desperately to douse the heat radiating from her body, suction the strangling mucus from her nose and throat, and ice the pain stabbing her throat. But all you can do is hug her and wait for the dawn.

The dawn comes slowly, over the course of several days where you get no work done, even when you work from home. Days spent in comforting, cuddling, and caring for your slowly reviving child. The energy, the motion, and the smile—that brilliant sunshine smile—return little by little, signaling her return to health.

And even though time and work have vanished—forever irretrievable—into those sick days, you don’t care. Because you know people whose children didn’t get well, whose smile never returned. And gratitude that your child is again noisy and messy negates anything lost in the cocoon of those sick days.


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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