Article by Wendy McCance
Everyone around me seems to be getting sick recently. I know, it’s that time of year and it’s really no surprise. This last week my poor husband was the sickest I have seen him in a long time. Now the illness seems to be spreading to other family members.
Today my youngest daughter got up for school and came downstairs looking like she had been run over by a train. Her long hair was wildly sticking up all over here head. Her eyes looked so sleepy it seemed almost painful. You could hear the stuffy, scratchiness she was dealing with each time she spoke. I made her some tea while she had a bagel. Poor thing, she could barely eat breakfast and I sent her back to bed.
I started thinking about how I react whenever someone in the house feels under the weather. My youngest daughter says I am like a storybook character when she is sick. I have to admit, I do get particularly nurturing. There is just something about whenever anyone in the family feels ill I jump into super mommy mode.
For my daughter this morning, it meant that I walked her back up to her bedroom and tucked her back into bed. I made sure she was comfortable and had enough blankets. later when she wakes up, there will be tea, soup and crackers. A trip to the store will be needed to get some orange juice, gingerale, tissues, activity book and some menthol patches to help her breathe more comfortably.
My daughter will have movies she can watch and books she can read. Literally her bedroom will turn into a palace for a princess who will have all the comforts she could possibly wish for. She will probably look at it more like the princess who is trapped in the tower and she will feel frustration over her dilemma of being ill.
The kids are comforted by the extra attention and feel loved by my efforts to keep them comfortable. Even so, the kids dread getting sick. It gets in the way of their life. My daughter loves school and hates to feel like she is getting behind in her subjects. Today she had plans to study at the local library after school with two friends. When she wakes up, she will surely be disappointed that her plans will be cancelled.
The reaction my kids have towards staying home and being pampered are so different than what I felt growing up. I could be sick as a dog, and my mom would make me go to school. My fever had to be fairly significant to be allowed to stay home. Throwing up, a bad sore throat or being stuck in the bathroom weren’t good enough reasons to stay home. I remember getting the threat of going to the doctor if I didn’t go to school. Honestly, I could have cared less. By that point, I would feel so awful that a doctor’s visit was welcomed news.
My mom was in no way nurturing. I got my own food or drinks, took my own temperature and wasn’t allowed to read a book in bed (if I was home, I should be sleeping). Keeping my background in mind, no wonder I am such a storybook character (as my daughter puts it). I want the kids to feel loved and cared for. When they feel awful, I want to make their discomfort as minimal as possible.
Lat week my husband texted me while I was at work. He had gotten ill and wanted me to know he was on his way home. The next text was a question about what soup we had in the house. I nurture my husband just like the kids when he is sick. The text was that wink, wink when would I be home? He was sick and wanted to be taken care of. I went home shortly after his last text and went into full caregiver mode. I made sure my husband was tucked into bed comfortably. The television was on a channel he wanted to watch and he had a fan on. I made sure there was tea, soup, crackers and some medicine and quietly left the room so my husband could rest up.
What can I say? When a family member is sick, my nurturing side kicks into full gear. It is one of the parts of my personality that I’m really proud of. I enjoy taking care of the family. I feel a sense of contentment when I have made a family member a bit more comfortable when they feel so bad.
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