I should have known I was coming down with something, but my involvement in a Young Authors Conference in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, masked the obvious signals. As always after a full day of presentations, I felt tired by day’s end, and when my van died on I-29 on the way home, I figured my wearing reserves were caused by the stress of having to call 9-1-1 and worry over how I would get home and back to the child who had fallen ill during my absence.
Thankfully, my van came back to life and I was able to drive the final 45 miles problem-free, but when I walked in the door I headed not for the kitchen but for the bedroom, much to hubby’s dismay. I was wiped out beyond the usual. A few hours later the source of my poor state of being presented itself in the form of sore throat, pounding headache and a general feeling of weakness. “I’m sick.” But wait a minute: a mother can’t get sick, especially when her own child is dealing with illness. Yesterday the two of us sprawled out in different parts of the house with water and Tylenol and Kleenex nearby, hoping to fend off the invasive bugs. Since oldest son was on day two of his illness, he did more to tend to me than I did him, but neither of us was able to adequately deal with the two little ones, who had the run of the house. By evening, the toll was counted: dishes piled up sky high, clothes and toys everywhere, and most disheartening, a diaper plugging the upstairs toilet.
I can think of few less pleasurable moments in my life as a mother as when I have been ill, unable to deal with the life that continues in full motion around me despite my own temporary halt. The only thing a mother can do at such a time is rest up as much as possible and know that “this too shall pass.”
And, thank God for plumbers.