Pretty much since I set foot outside my parents’ door at the age of 18 to attend college, I have called home like a little baby every time I have been sick. Doesn’t matter if it is the flu, a fever, or just a head cold. I have to talk to my parents. And it never fails that at some point in the conversation, I ask in a very lovely and adult whine, “Can you come take care of me???? Pleeeeasssseeee?” Did I mention that I turn 30 tomorrow? Yep. And I still act like this.
My dad was a pro at taking care of me when I was a sick kid staying home from school. He would set up a nest of pillows and blankets on the couch and bring me water or a bowl of cereal or Mac’N’Cheese – whatever I needed to feel better. He would take me to the doctor if need be and helped me haul in the stack of books after we would collect the assignments I had missed from that day (or days) at school. It wasn’t like I was an uber ill kind of kid, but it does seem like I had more than my fair share of bouts with pneumonia, bronchitis, and strep throat, not to mention the typical rounds of colds each year.
I guess I got most of that out of my system when I was little because thankfully I haven’t had any of those things (except for the awful colds, of course) in many years. And yet, I still make that phone call to check in, say I’m sick, and see if maybe, just maybe, someone can come take care of me when I don’t feel good. I especially long for my dad’s Mac’N’Cheese and my mom’s company – someone to put a hand on my forehead and say, “Oh, Sweetie. It will be OK.”
I’m writing about this because a yuck has settled in our house this week. It started with Harrison and then moved on to Ben and Raegan. For the last day or two I’ve been showing signs of it, too. Originally I didn’t think it was much more than a nasty spring cold, probably caused by the crazy warmer/cooler/warmer/rainy/warmer weather we’ve been having. HD and Ben are on the tail end of it all and seem to be getting out the last of their congestion and coughs. I’m doing OK – just sniffles, some aches, and a scratchy throat so far; unlike the others, though, I can’t take a darn thing because of nursing. I am used to this though after being pregnant/nursing for much of the last three and a half years; you just have to let it run its course.
That’s what we were doing with Raegan, too – just letting her system work it out. But today I couldn’t take it any longer. She’s been running a fever off and on since Thursday night and starting late Friday she got really congested and began coughing, too. I’ve never been to Convenient Care here in Hastings before, but when she was feverish again this morning, I decided I didn’t want to wait until tomorrow to see our regular doctor and took her in. What an experience! First of all, they are BUSY, but they are also willing to take your information, let you go home and call you back in when they are ready to see you. Seeing as I don’t feel so great myself and my daughter is clearly miserable, I appreciated not having to sit in their waiting room for over an hour. Especially because once we did go back in, we were there for an hour and half anyway!
Why so long? Well, as you can imagine, that’s an indication that it wasn’t an “Oh, it’s nothing” visit. My poor baby has RSV! I’m trying to be thankful that she does not also have the flu or strep, which they also tested her for, but I feel so, so badly that she has what she does. Of course I have no idea where she got it and I am flabbergasted by the fact that this already her fourth or fifth round with illness. This is the worst one, though, by far and resulted in us purchasing a nebulizer and even getting antibiotics to keep her from getting anything else. *Sigh* Poor girl. Apparently she not only looks like me, she also has my immune system! Harrison, by some freak of nature or just extreme homebodiness when he was itty bitty, never had these issues as a baby. We are very new at knowing how to deal with all of this.
So now I am hopeful that we are on the road to recovery, but looking back at the last few days, I have realized a few things about what it means to be a parent. It means that I am willing to sit in a rocking chair until my bum goes numb (and then for another hour beyond that), just to hold my child because she finally fell asleep and finally seems peaceful. Look at this face – how could you not sit there every night and just hold her? It means that I will take her upstairs to the guest room where she I can sleep and nurse away from the main floor and the boys so that she can have all of my attention all night if she needs it. It means I will postpone my (30th!) birthday party because she’s (we’re all) too sick to have people over to the house. It means I will do whatever it takes to make her feel better in any way I can because that is what a parent does. You put your own needs behind those of your children.
I’ve been doing this parenting thing for two and a half years now, so it’s not like I didn’t already know this, but the whole thing has shown me just why it is that I long for my own parents when I feel like crap. Because they have always done everything they can to make me feel better, no matter the situation, no matter the ailment. It is because of their love, care, and support that I know I can give my all to my children in the here and now and that in 30 years or so, it is possible that they will still want to turn to me for comfort when things get achy. I will be here, just like they are there for me. Arms and Mac’N’Cheese ready.